June 29, 2023
Contact: Lt. Jacob Holsclaw, DNR Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator or 715-491-0283
ATV/UTV Riders: Ride Safe, Ride Sober
This Holiday Weekend
14 Fatalities Reported So Far In 2023
ATV/UTV trails and routes often see increased traffic on holiday weekends, so riders are encouraged to keep safety top of mind. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR
MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds operators of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) to think smart before they start by following safety best practices this holiday weekend.
Whether riding on a road route, public trail or private property, riders are encouraged to operate at a safe speed and within their abilities, ensure the operator and all passengers wear helmets and seatbelts and ride sober.
So far this year, 14 people have died in ATV/UTV crashes. Most of the individuals were not wearing seat belts or helmets. Several incidents also involved alcohol and speed as contributing factors. Choosing to wear the appropriate safety gear and operating responsibly greatly reduces the chance of a serious injury or fatal crash.
“Holiday weekends typically come with increased traffic on our trails and roads,” said Lt. Jacob Holsclaw, DNR Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator. “It is especially important for off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders to stay vigilant and make safety the number-one priority going into the busy weekend.”
Put Safety First
When used safely, ATVs and UTVs provide fun family recreation and are valuable tools for working or exploring the outdoors. However, these vehicles are powerful and can be dangerous and even fatal. It is the responsibility of all ATV and UTV operators to make the sport a safe one.
Follow these tips for a safe ride:
• Never consume alcohol or drugs before or during your ride.
• Wear a seat belt and a Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet.
• In addition to a seat belt and helmet, wear protective clothing such as eye protection, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
• Keep your speed in check for the terrain, visibility conditions and your experience.
• Remember that some terrain in Wisconsin is too steep for ATV/UTVs. Please be careful while traversing hills or uneven terrain.
• Review all ATV/UTV laws before you go.
One of the best things ATV and UTV operators can do to operate safely is to take an online safety course. A list of approved safety education classes is available on the DNR Safety Education webpage.
ATV and UTV operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, who are at least 12 years old for an ATV, and at least 16 years old for UTV, must complete an ATV safety certification course to operate in Wisconsin. The only exception is on private property owned by the operator’s immediate family.
Wisconsin law requires every operator involved in a crash incident to report the incident without delay to law enforcement officials. In addition, within 10 days of the incident, the operator must submit a written report to the DNR.
For more information on ATV and UTV recreation in Wisconsin, visit the DNR’s ATV/UTV riding in Wisconsin webpage.
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