For Immediate Release: 5/11/2022
Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division Celebrates Safety Awareness Week May 14-22
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California State Parks’ Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division and partners welcome the return of OHV Safety Awareness Week on May 14-22 with this year’s theme of “Train for the Trail.” Practicing essential techniques and simple safety measures such as taking a safety course, learning the rules of riding, planning travel routes in advance, using required equipment, and treading lightly help promote safety in the state’s vehicular recreation areas (SVRA’s) and protect the natural resources that make these public outdoor spaces special.
“Over the past two years, off-highway recreation popularity has skyrocketed with more and more people looking to get outside for the first time and do activities as a family,” said OHMVR Division Chief Callan McLaughlin. “With so many people recreating, it is important that users ‘train for the trail’ to ensure everyone’s safety and to protect the natural resources found in the state’s vehicular recreation areas.”
Below are eight safety tips for new and experienced riders:
- Take a Safety Course: Learn the fundamentals of operating off-highway vehicles by taking a course, which can help you become a more experienced rider. Become familiar with the laws governing off-highway recreation on public lands and safety courses by visiting the webpage of your outdoor destination prior to leaving home and take a training course.
- Be Prepared: Know which supplies you need to have for a successful ride. Be prepared with a first aid kit, extra water and food, maps, a tool kit and extra fuel.
- File a Riding Plan: Tell a responsible person back at camp or at home where you are going and when you plan on returning. Ask that person to notify local law enforcement if you do not return on time.
- Scout Your Route: Each vehicular recreation area has a vast and diverse mixture of geology for riders exploring in their motorcycle, ATVs, dune buggies or 4x4s; learn about the various trail experience levels and terrain to avoid emergencies.
- Never Ride Alone: Always ride with at least one other person, but preferably in groups of three. If one rider is hurt, someone can stay with the rider while the other one gets help. Never move an injured rider.
- Buckle It Up: Know which gear is required for your type of recreation to prevent injury. Secure all harnesses and safety equipment. Helmets and restraint devices are most effective when following the manufacturer’s instructions. Always wear protective gear, including a safe, well-fitting helmet.
- Ride Respectfully: Community is the foundation for maintaining off-highway recreation. Respecting natural resources and wildlife, other off-highway recreators and following off-highway regulations help preserve the natural landscapes for generations to come.
- Tread Lightly: Know where to ride, and ride only on designated routes and trails. Be sure to check ahead for open trails. Remember, wildlife has 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.
Working together with the Tread Lightly! Initiative, California Highway Patrol, California Outdoor Recreation Foundation (CORF), Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, ATV Safety Institute (ASI), Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA) and Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), the OHMVR Division will provide safety education for the public during OHV Safety Awareness Week. The department’s nine SVRAs will have a variety of events, interpretive programs, OHV safety courses, in-person events (as COVID-19 safety guidelines allow) and will share safety information and resources through its social media platforms. Additionally, ASI, ROHVA and MSF are teaming up with the OHMVR Division to provide free dirt bike, all-terrain vehicle and recreational OHV training. Activity schedules and sign-ups for the free trainings can found on the CORF website at OutdoorRecreationFoundation.org.
California’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Program was created in 1971 out of the critical need to better manage the growing demands for off-highway recreation, while fostering respect for private property rights and protecting the state’s natural and cultural resources. Since that time, more than $740 million in grants, managed by the OHMVR Division, have been awarded to federal and local partners, funding acquisition and development, resource protection, safety and education, and law enforcement for OHV recreation.
Today, there are nine state vehicular recreation areas across 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 lands with approximately 600+ miles of designated OHV trails and terrain. Some SVRAs also feature camping, swimming and other recreational opportunities. A variety of wildlife, sensitive habitats, plants and animal species call them home.
For more information about the OHMVR Division, including grant and volunteer opportunities, please visit ohv.parks.ca.gov.
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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.