Michigan ATV riding safety and education – Part 4

An overview of off-road vehicle (ORV) safety and responsibilities.

Off-road vehicles (ORVs) include any motor vehicle designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland or other natural terrain. ORVs include but are not limited to a multi-track or multi-wheel drive vehicles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorcycles or amphibious machines. This definition does not include registered snowmobiles. In previous articles, we explored ORVs overviews, licensing and regulations.

It is important to discuss the responsibilities that come with the ownership and operation of an ORV. It is the parent’s responsibilities to teach their children how to safely operate an ORV and make sure they have appropriate classes and licensing at the proper age. Adults must set a good example for the younger riders whom watch them and want to grow up to be just like them. Adults have to model safe riding and operation of ORVs so children grow up knowing the “right way” to do things.

It is also important to know we all have a responsibility for upholding the natural environment and all of its components when riding ORVs. It is the responsibility of all riders to leave nature, including paths and animals, the way they found them while operating ATVs or ORVs.

Conservation officers play an important role in policing riders to make sure they are responsible and ensuring ORV riders are safe. They accomplish this through aggressive enforcement and a continued willingness to respond to public concerns. Michigan State University Extension offers the following tips to assist riders in remaining responsible while enjoying ORVs:

  • Do not speed.
  • Do not consume alcohol.
  • No hunting while riding.
  • Don’t double up unless it is a vehicle made for two.
  • Stay in contact with your group or others.

Riding ORVs are a fun, family bonding activity as long as everyone remains responsible and safe. To read more about ORV policies or training, please visit the Michigan Department of Natural Resources ORV/ATV webpage.

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