ST. GEORGE — The onset of spring leads people to the outdoors for a variety of recreational pursuits on public lands. Along with hunting, hiking, boating, camping, fishing, rock climbing, and myriad other recreational activities comes Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) season.
In order to help ensure a safe and enjoyable time for all riders and public lands users the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), and Arizona Game and Fish Law Enforcement Officers (LEO’s) will be working to educate, monitor and enforce safety rules and regulations throughout the season. The interagency LEO group will also be conducting special OHV patrols in various locations on public lands.
“Our goal is to better educate OHV users and to work cooperatively to ensure and promote safe and responsible OHV use of our public lands,” said BLM Arizona Strip District LEO John Sims.
Special patrol efforts help detect and deter violations, including off-road travel, wilderness incursions, ATV registration and safety equipment, vandalism, dumping, resource damage, archeological damage, and other issues that routinely occur.
Law enforcement officers most commonly see the following OHV violations which typically result in citations issued:
· No OHV decal or registration. In Arizona, a vehicle designed by the manufacturer primarily for travel over unimproved terrain and having an unladen weight of 1,800 pounds or less requires the annual purchase of an OHV decal to operate on public and state lands. Non-residents of Arizona may operate an OHV in the state without an AZ OHV Decal as long as their vehicle displays a current OHV decal or registration from the person’s home state of residency.
· Operating on county or paved roads without proper registration. OHV’s must be street legal to operate on county dirt roads, paved roads and within NPS administered lands. In Arizona, this requires a motorcycle plate for OHVs. Generally, other dirt roads only require an RV plate (title plate) with OHV decal affixed.
· Driving off-road/cross-country is prohibited. All riders must stay on designated roads at all times.
· Operating on closed roads, routes or areas is prohibited.
· Riding double is prohibited unless the vehicle was built for multiple passengers and is part of the manufacturer’s specifications. Adding an after-market seat to the back on an ATV is not legal.
· Lacking proper safety equipment. Riders under 18 years of age are required to wear a helmet and safety goggles. All riders must wear eye protection if the vehicle does not have a windshield.
· Driving while impaired is prohibited. DUI laws apply to OHV’s too, including open containers of alcohol.
For more information regarding Arizona OHV laws and info go to: http://www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/off_highway.shtml
For information regarding Utah OHV laws and info go to: http://stateparks.utah.gov/ohv