ATV Riding Safety

ATVArizona’s mild start to the summer has created perfect conditions for off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts to head out and view some of the state’s most picturesque locations.

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 of paved roadways are required to have an OHV decal on their license plate.
  • Only ride on designated roads and trails.

On June 6, department law enforcement officers in the Pinetop area held the second of three helmet compliance checks. The compliance checks coincide with ATV Safety Week, which ran from June 6 to 14 and aims to promote responsible, safe riding. The third compliance check is scheduled for June 13 in the Flagstaff area.

“ATV Safety Week provided 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

Did you know that the AZ State Parks has an OHV Ambassador Program?

OHV Ambassadors receive professional training and help promote positive off-highway vehicle operation ethics.

The Arizona OHV Ambassador program is a newly-developed volunteer program which provides a means for private citizens to work with a variety of federal, state, and local land managers and public safety officials in Arizona to promote responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation on public, state, and private lands. These volunteers contribute their time, experience, and local knowledge of OHV areas in Arizona by monitoring public lands on motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs or 4×4 vehicles. Through these monitoring efforts volunteers provide a positive image of their recreation activity, identify and record road, trail and other resource issues and educate OHV users on responsible OHV use. OHV Ambassadors also participate in special projects to enhance OHV areas in Arizona. OHV Ambassadors receive extensive training from professional training representatives and serve as a point of contact for other OHV users to obtain helpful and timely information about the trails they ride.

  • Do you like to ride Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) in Arizona?
  • Do you want to help promote a POSITIVE image of OHV recreation in Arizona and help protect the future of OHV recreation on public lands in Arizona?
  • Are you concerned with irresponsible use of OHV areas which give motorized recreation a bad name?
  • Do you want to get to know your land managers better and work with them to help conserve the future of your activity?
  • Do you want to receive FREE training in vehicle driving, communications, and first aid/CPR?

If so, APPLY NOW! OHV Ambassador Application

For additional information visit:

ATV Riding Safety

by Editor time to read: 4 min