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ATV, OHV Riders Reminded About Safety Techniques


Arizona's mild start to the summer created perfect conditions for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts to head out and view some of the state's most picturesque locations. Although "mild" is now a thing of the past, the safety reminders for all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and OHV enthusiasts have no expiration date.

To ensure the outings remain safe and fun adventures, the Arizona Game and Fish Department encourages all riders to practice proper safety techniques before taking to their favorite trails. Riders are reminded of the following:

State law requires all riders under 18 years old, regardless of riding experience, to wear a Department of Transportation-approved helmet, including while on an ATV or in a side-by-side vehicle. Used properly, helmets provide the best protection against head injuries.

Eye protection, such as goggles or a helmet with a face shield, is required for OHV and ATV operators, under state law. While not required, eye protection is recommended while riding in a side-by-side vehicle equipped with a windshield.

Wear pants, a long-sleeve shirt, gloves and over-the-ankle boots while riding.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved spark arrestor should be installed on the vehicle to prevent wildfires from starting.

All OHVs and ATVs driving off paved roadways are required to have an OHV decal on their license plate.

Only ride on designated roads and trails.

In June, department law enforcement officers in the Pinetop area held the second of three helmet compliance checks. The compliance checks coincided with ATV Safety Week, which runs through mid-June, and aims to promote responsible, safe riding.

"ATV Safety Week [annually] provides the Department an exciting opportunity to make a positive impact on Arizona's off-highway vehicle community," said Matt Eberhart, AZGFD OHV Safety Education coordinator. "By providing a wide range of information promoting safe and ethical OHV use, we can help keep the sport alive and safe for future generations."

Citing a Consumer Product Safety Commission study, the ATV Safety Institute reports that 92 percent of all ATV-related fatalities were a result of operators driving a machine that isn't properly sized for them.

Emergency room data indicates that 43 percent of all OHV accidents involve children younger than 16 years old and 67 percent of all UTV/side-by-side accidents involve head injury.

It is important that all drivers learn how to properly operate their machine, including making sure it is an appropriate size in addition to wearing a helmet and other protective gear to dramatically reduce risk of harm for the driver and any bystanders.

To promote rider safety and helmet use, the department is also encouraging riders to shoot a photo of themselves with their helmet on and off and submit it to the "Show us your Helmet Hair" contest. By entering, contestants can win prizes from area businesses and OHV safety partners.

Recent prizes have included safety courses, riding gear and gift cards.

To enter the monthly contest, snap a photo of your best helmet hair and share it with Arizona Game and Fish Department's Instagram (, Facebook ( and/or Twitter (@azgfd) pages, using both hashtags of #AZHelmetHair and #AZGFDOHV).

For additional OHV safety information, visit


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