Photo credit: Suzuki
October 16, 2022 – The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division of California State Parks and its partners welcome the return of this year’s second OHV Safety Awareness Week, October 15-23, themed “Train for the Trail “. As part of Safety Awareness Week, the OHMVR Division and its partners are hosting several FREE safety training courses and events in California State Vehicular Recreation Areas (SVRAs). New and experienced off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreational enthusiasts can learn something new by taking classes while operating in all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), dirt bikes, and off-highway recreational vehicles or side-by-side vehicles (ROVs). drive.
Additionally, as part of the week-long celebrations, Prairie City SVRA will host a Visitor Appreciation and Safety Day this Saturday, October 15 beginning at 10:00 am. Visitors can spend the weekend – free of charge – camping in the main stage overnight and using areas during the day. Local OHV companies will be on hand to talk about customization, do-it-yourself solutions and safety tips. On Saturday, October 22nd, visitors can help keep Hollister Hills SVRA spotless with its annual Clean Wheeling garbage collection event. Starting at 8:00 a.m., this free, family-friendly 4WD event will take place at Upper Ranch and Hudner Ranch. Complimentary day pass and lunch provided by the Hollister Hills Off-Road Association. Participants are advised to bring gloves, water, sunscreen, and a hat.
“Visitor safety is the top priority for the business,” said OHMVR Assistant Director Sarah Miggins. “While enjoying the thousands of acres of beautiful trails, roads, dunes, and other permitted riding areas on ATVs, four-wheelers, dirt bikes, motorcycles, trail bikes, and snowmobiles, please note and follow our safety tips while having fun outdoors.”
Practicing responsible OHV recreational safety practices such as taking a safety course, learning the rules of driving, planning itineraries in advance, using the necessary equipment, and showing a light demeanor helps keep SVRAs safe and protects the natural resources that these public outdoor spaces serve make it so special.
Below are eight safety tips for new and experienced drivers:
- Take a safety course: Learn the basics of operating off-highway vehicles by taking a training course that can help you become a more experienced driver. Familiarize yourself with off-highway recreation laws on public lands and safety courses by visiting your outdoor destination’s website before you leave home.
- Fasten your seat belt: Know what equipment is required for your type of recreation to avoid injury. Secure all harnesses and safety gear. Helmets and restraints are most effective when the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. Make sure they are secure and buckled at all times. Always wear protective gear, including a safe, well-fitting helmet.
- Drive respectfully: The community is the foundation for sustaining off-highway recreation. Respecting natural resources, wildlife and other off-highway recreation areas and complying with off-highway regulations help preserve the natural landscapes for generations to come.
- Be prepared: Know what supplies you need for a successful ride. Prepare yourself with a first aid kit, extra water and food, maps, a tool kit, and extra fuel.
- Submit riding plan: Tell a responsible person at camp or at home where you plan to go and when you plan to return. Ask that person to notify local law enforcement if you do not return on time.
- Explore your route: Because each vehicular recreation area offers a large and diverse mix of geology for riders exploring on their motorcycle, ATV, dune buggy, or 4×4, learn about the different trail skill levels and terrain before your visit to avoid emergencies. Stay to the right and avoid oncoming vehicles.
- Never drive alone: Always ride with at least one other person, but preferably in groups of three. If a driver is injured, someone can stay with the driver while the other gets help. Never move an injured rider.
- Tread lightly: Find out where you need to ride and only ride on designated routes and trails. Be sure to check for open trails ahead of time. Remember that wild animals have the right of way.
In October 2020, the California OHMVR Commission passed a resolution dedicating the third weeks of May and October as OHV Safety Awareness Week to promote and focus on safe and responsible OHV practices.
In partnership with Tread Lightly!, the California Highway Patrol, the California Outdoor Recreation Foundation (CORF), the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, the ATV Safety Institute, the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association, and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, the OHMVR Division Provide safety education to the public during OHV Safety Awareness Week. Activity schedules and registration for the free training courses are available on the CORF website at OutdoorRecreationFoundation.org.
California’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program was created in 1971 out of a critical need to better meet the growing demand for off-highway recreation while promoting respect for private property rights and protecting the state’s natural and cultural resources . Since then, more than $770 million in grants administered by the OHMVR Division have been awarded to federal and local partners to support OHV recreation acquisition and development, resource conservation, safety and education, and law enforcement finance.
Today, there are nine state vehicle recreation areas in California: Carnegie, Clay Pit, Eastern Kern County Onyx Ranch, Heber Dunes, Hollister Hills, Hungry Valley, Oceano Dunes, Ocotillo Wells and Prairie City. These public lands provide recreational opportunities on approximately 145,000 acres of land with more than 600 miles of designated OHV trails and terrain. Some SVRAs also offer camping, swimming, and other recreational opportunities. A variety of wild animals, sensitive habitats, plants and animal species are at home here.
For more information about the OHMVR Division, including grant and volunteer opportunities, visit ohv.parks.ca.gov.
Source: CA. State Parks