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By Joanne M. Haas/DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement
The Department of Natural Resources urges all All-Terrain and Utility-Terrain vehicle riders on public and private properties to remember this single important outdoor lesson: helmet your heads.
DNR Administrative Warden Gary Eddy says helmets are an easy way to help the ride stay fun and safe. “One of the most effective steps all ATV and UTV riders can do to make sure they are safe while having fun outdoors on these machines is to helmet your head,” Eddy said, adding the helmet should be approved by the Department of Transportation. “Each year, most of the state’s ATV and UTV fatalities were not wearing helmets.”
Warden Eddy says riders who want to try the stunts and driving techniques seen in ATV competitions on television and in person should note these competitors and experienced professional riders wear helmets and other safety gear.
“Sometimes, it is easy to forget about the safety equipment required on our public properties and trails when riding on private properties,” Eddy says. “The helmets are the way to go to protect yourself so you can come home and tell the great stories about the fun rides.”
Eddy urges young riders to always check in with their parents or an adult before their rides and have these adults check their helmets and approve their travel routes. “ATV-UTV riding in summer is a fantastic season for all ages to get outside and enjoy Wisconsin,” Eddy says. “The DNR wants all riders to be safe while enjoying the outdoors. Helmet your head to stay safe.”
Here are more of Warden Eddy’s safety tips for all ATV-UTV riders:
• Never drink and ride. ATV trails can be rough, rocky, and unpredictable; they require peak concentration and reflexes. Alcohol only increases the chances of a crash occurring. Practice “Zero Alcohol” and wait until you’re done riding and safely at your home or lodging before consuming alcohol.
• Complete an ATV safety course. All ATV riders at least age 12 (and UTV operators at least age 16) and born after January 1, 1988 must complete a course prior to operating an ATV or UTV. This course may be completed either in a classroom or over the internet. Visit the Wisconsin DNR website and search keyword “ATV Safety” to learn more.
• Limit your operation on roads. ATVs and UTVs are not designed for safe or stabile operation on paved surfaces.
• Slow down, be responsible and expect to meet other people on the trail.
• Stay on the right side of the trail. Bumps, puddles and rocks are part of the trail riding experience; don’t endanger others by riding on the wrong side of the trail. Slow your speed and safely ride over these areas.
• Keep headlights on at all times for increased visibility.
Visit this website to learn about ATV-UTV safety classes, laws and more: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/atv/