OHV safety for the summer season, ‘nobody is invincible’

ST. GEORGE – With the arrival of warm weather, many Utahns are headed outdoors with their off-highway vehicles and officials are warning that no one is immune from the risk of injury.

In this file photo, an off-highway vehicle navigates a trail in the Sand Mountain OHV area, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 19, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Daniel Britton Photography via Desert Roads and Trails Society, St. George News

Utah Division of Parks and Recreation officials are reminding the public of the importance of wearing a helmet while using off-highway vehicles.

It is also illegal for children under 8 years old to operate an off-highway vehicle or snowmobile while on public lands.

For youth ages 8 to 15, the Southwest Utah Public Health Department is offering an all-terrain vehicle safety class in Panguitch at a significantly reduced fee.

See below for details on how to have your child attend this training and save $20.

With over 80,000 miles of all-terrain vehicle trails available in Utah, it’s important to ride safely, according to information from the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation.

Safety is a primary concern of the state park off-highway vehicle program. In Utah, riders ages 8-15 are required to pass an off-highway vehicle safety education course before they are allowed to operate on public land.

In this file photo, Hurricane Police officers Adams and Gubler inspect an OHV that crashed at Sand Hollow State Park, injuring two people, Hurricane, Utah, Dec. 30, 2015 | Photo by Ric Wayman, St. George News

State park officials recommend off-highway vehicle users wear a helmet and other safety gear, encourage youth to take the online education course, never drink and ride, and remember ‘Nobody is Invincible.’

More adults than children are injured in off-highway vehicle-related accidents, officials said.

In Utah, only 58 percent of off-highway vehicle riders report they frequently wear helmets.

 This raises concerns regarding future generations of off-highway vehicle riders who look to these adults to lead by example, state park officials said.

Off-road license required for youths

Utah law requires youth ages 8 to 15 to complete a Utah Division of Parks and Recreation off-highway vehicle or snowmobile education course before operating on public lands, roads or trails.

In this file photo, an ATV rider who went off a 40-foot cliff in the North Fork area of Cedar Mountain is tended to by first responders and flown by medical helicopter to the hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery, Kane County, Utah, Sept. 17, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The online youth education course fee is $30 per student and must be passed only once.

The off-highway vehicle certification covers all-terrain vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, and side-by-sides vehicles including type II all-terrain vehicles and utility vehicles, or UTVs.

When the test has been passed, a temporary operator license permit can be printed out that will be valid immediately; the permanent operator license will be mailed.

Education classes teach safe riding, proper machine sizing, weight distribution, responsible and ethical riding, proper handling and shifting and riding within your ability

Panguitch youth class

There will be a reduced-rate ATV safety training class in Panguitch at the Garfield County Fairgrounds Tuesday, May 30. The class is sponsored by the Southwest Utah Public Health Department.

  • What: ATV training class for youths age 8-15.
  • When: 4-8 p.m. Tuesday May 30.
  • Where: Garfield County Fairgrounds, 750 North Main, Highway 89 in Panguitch.
  • Cost: $10; which is $20 less than taking the safety class online.

Attendees will receive a free dinner and helmet. Call Clint at 435-676-8800 to register.

OHV Injury Facts

  • As of May 17, 2017, Utah has experienced four off-highway vehicle fatalities this year. With OHV season just starting to ramp up, this is significant. On average, there are 14 fatalities each year in Utah.
  • The University of Utah Hospital reports the average age of those coming in with ATV-related injuries is 39-40 years old.
  • Between 2014-2016, the hospital saw a total of 166 ATV injuries, accounting for 3 percent of their total trauma-related injuries.
  • Approximately 13.25 percent of these incidents were alcohol-related. These injuries carry a 1.8 percent mortality rate.
  • In Utah, 58 percent of riders surveyed reported they frequently wear helmets when riding their OHV, according to information from Tread Lightly.
  • Only 38 percent of riders surveyed reported their children had completed the “Know Before You Go!” certification course, even though 88 percent reported they were aware of the law.
  • Only 24 percent of injured riders at the hospital were wearing protective devices.
  • ATV, motorcycle, and snowmobile safety courses can be accessed online here.

For more information about off-highway vehicle safety and to sign up for the online safety, see the State Parks off-highway vehicle web page.

Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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