Game and Fish urges riders to ride safely, responsibly

According to The Arizona Game and Fish Department, off-highway vehicle fatalities jumped from 8 in 2010 to 29 last year – serving as a stark reminder for OHV enthusiasts to exercise safe, responsible riding practices this busy Labor Day weekend.

According to statistics from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), there were also 409 non-fatal inpatient hospitalizations and 1,611 non-fatal emergency room visits due to OHV injuries in 2011.

“The increase in the number of fatalities and injuries is most likely related to the increase in inexperienced ridership and OHV activity,” stated Tomi St. Mars, chief of injury prevention with ADHS.

This increase coincides with the heightened number of registered OHVs during the same time period. In FY2010, there were 330,083 ATVs and other off-highway vehicles registered. In 2011 that number jumped to 339,244.

“What we tend to see in the emergency departments statewide are the inexperienced riders that put two people on single-seat ATVs and those who don’t use helmets,” said St. Mars.

Arizona Game and Fish officers will be out in full force this Labor Day weekend looking for unsafe and reckless OHV operators.

“There is no substitute for not riding safely and responsibly,” said Jimmy Simmons, OHV law enforcement program manager for Game and Fish. “The increase in injuries and deaths is primarily a result of improper equipment use or negligence by riders. We want people to enjoy their OHV experience, but we will be ticketing those who choose to operate unsafely this weekend.”

Simmons encouraged all OHV enthusiasts to “Ride safe, ride smart, ride responsibly, and always wear a helmet.”

Logo courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department

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