PHOENIX — As you’re gearing up to spend Labor Day weekend riding on forest roads and trails, we have one message for you: Head out, helmet on!
Helmets are required for all off-highway vehicle (OHV) operators and passengers who are under 18 — but they are strongly recommended for everyone. A U.S. Department of Transportation-rated helmet is the most important piece of equipment you can wear. Case in point: In the event of an accident, a helmet is your only protection against head injuries.
“Arizona is a great place for OHV recreation, and the state’s different regions allow people to go out riding year-round,” said Josh Hurst, OHV law enforcement coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “We want everyone to safely enjoy all that Arizona has to offer. As you’re preparing to head out, make sure to put on a helmet.”
Keep in mind that eye protection also is required. Motorcycle goggles or a full-face shield will help keep you protected against eye injuries from flying debris.
Additional protective gear that’s recommended for all OHV operators and passengers includes: a long-sleeved riding jersey, riding boots, elbow guards, gloves, riding pants, hip pads and knee pads. The more prepared you are for the ride, the safer and more enjoyable your trip will be.
And while you’re out exploring different roads and trails, remember that OHVs and alcohol don’t mix. Drugs and alcohol can impair a person’s skill and judgment, which are both essential when operating an OHV.
The same driving under the influence (DUI) laws that apply to operating automobiles apply to OHVs. You can be arrested if you’re driving under the influence even while on a backcountry trail, and the penalties are the same as an automobile DUI including jail time and the loss of a driver’s license.
“Join the thousands of responsible OHV enthusiasts in Arizona and stay sober when you’re out operating on roads and trails,” said Hurst. “It keeps you safe and sets a good example for the entire OHV community.”
For more information about OHV regulations or to find information about safety education courses visit www.azgfd.com/OHV/.