BLM highlights planning, safety for off-highway motor vehicles during OHV Safety Awareness Week


Bureau of Land Management

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Dirt bike in a pine forest.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – BLM California, in participation with California State Parks’ Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division and other partners, is emphasizing off-highway motor vehicle safety during OHV Safety Awareness Week, May 15-23. This year’s theme of “Know Before You Go” promotes simple actions such as learning the rules of riding, scouting routes, being prepared, filing a riding plan, using required equipment, never riding alone, treading lightly and knowing riding limits to reduce injuries, increase safety and help protect natural and cultural resources at California’s vehicular recreation sites.

“We want visitors to enjoy BLM-managed public lands in a safe manner,” said Danielle Chi, Deputy Director for Natural Resources at BLM California. “The ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign helps visitors headed out on an off-highway motor vehicle adventure to remember that planning and preparation are critical to recreating responsibly.”

Whether a new or experienced rider, below are some off-highway motor vehicle safety tips:

  • Learn the Rules of Riding: There are laws specific to operating off-highway vehicles on public lands. Learn about them by visiting the webpage of your outdoor destination prior to leaving home and take a training course.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Use Required Safety Equipment: Know which gear is required for your type of recreation to prevent injury. Always wear protective gear, including a safe, well-fitting helmet.
  • Never Go 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.
  • 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.
  • Know Your Limits: Know the rules, your skill level and how to maintain your vehicle. Only operate at speeds in which you can maintain control at all times. Do not ride faster than your talent and never operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Keep your speed under 15 mph when riding near campsites or groups of people. 

Visitors to BLM-managed off-highway vehicle lands can learn more about locations, regulations, fees, safety tips and planning, including a BLM motorized recreational opportunities interactive map, by visiting BLM’s off-highway vehicles on public lands webpage.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.