OHV areas include trails for motorcycle, quad, and four-wheel drive enthusiasts that range from easy to challenging.
OHV Safety Tips
- Learn the Rules of Riding: There are laws specific to operating off-highway vehicles on public lands. Learn about them by visiting the webpage of your outdoor destination prior to leaving home and take a training course.
- Scout Your Route: Each vehicular recreation area has a vast and diverse mixture of geology for riders exploring in their motorcycle, ATVs, dune buggies or 4x4s; learn about the various trail experience levels and terrain to avoid emergencies.
- Be Prepared: Know which supplies you need to have for a successful ride. Be prepared with a first aid kit, extra water and food, maps, a tool kit and extra fuel.
- File a Riding Plan: Cell connectivity in many public outdoor places is limited or non-existent. Tell a responsible person back at camp or at home where you are going and when you plan on returning. Ask that person to notify local law enforcement if you do not return on time.
- Use Required Safety Equipment: Know which gear is required for your type of recreation to prevent injury. Always wear protective gear, including a safe, well-fitting helmet.
- Never Go Alone: Always ride with at least one other person, but preferably in groups of three. If one rider is hurt, someone can stay with the rider while the other one gets help. Never move an injured rider.
- Tread Lightly: Know where to ride, and ride only on designated routes and trails. Be sure to check ahead for open trails. Remember, wildlife has the right-of-way.
- Know the rules, your skill level and how to maintain your vehicle. Only operate at speeds in which you can always maintain control. Do not ride faster than your talent and never operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Keep your speed under 15 mph when riding near campsites or groups of people.
- Recreating in Desert Areas: When in the desert, consider staying with your vehicle if it is disabled rather than setting off on your own for help. Tell a responsible person back at camp or at home where you are going and when you plan on returning. Ask that person to notify local law enforcement if you do not return on time.
- Fire Safety: Avoid driving or stopping in tall grass or brush or where natural fuels come in contact with hot vehicle parts. Stop only in cleared areas.
Rules of OHV safety
- Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
- Ride on the right.
- Wear goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, gloves and DOT-compliant helmets.
- Avoid riding on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law.
- Ride sober.
Backcountry Travel Tips
- Always tell a responsible person where you’re traveling and when you’ll return. Give them a specific map, if possible.
- Don’t go alone. Two heads are always better than one and so are two backs, if labor is required to free a stuck vehicle. A second person also can be a great help guiding a driver through tight spots. If the trip will be extremely difficult, try to take two vehicles. Two vehicles can help one another out of bad jams.
- Water, water, water. Take at least one gallon per day, per person, as well as five extra gallons. If all else fails, at least you can stay in good condition for several days with enough water.
- Someone must stay with the vehicle if it’s stuck. A vehicle is much easier to find than a person on foot. Walk out for help only if you know exactly where you are and how far it is to help.
- Know your vehicle. Try out your vehicle in easy places until you know it well. Take a four-wheeling class. Read the owner’s manual. Use common sense. If a road looks too tough for your skills, it probably is. If you get in a bind, don’t panic. Stop the vehicle, get out and explore a little. Your good sense often will tell you how to get out.