ATV, Quad, Dirt Bike? Please Ride Right!

Riding off-road vehicles is great fun, but please ride right (so you can ride again).

posted on July 3, 2024
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Off-roading is one of summer's most exciting pastimes, but as America heads into a long holiday weekend, now's a great time to brush up on your off-road safety skills. If you’ll be on an ATV--be it quad or side-by-side--dirt bike or other type of off-road vehicle (ORV), the concept to remember is: Ride Right to Ride Again. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources provided today's ORV tips, but they apply anywhere in America. 

What do they mean by "ride right"? The obvious point is that you should use the right side of the trail, the same way you would use the right side of the road in a car. But there's much more to it than that; it's also about riding smart. According to Michigan's 2023 statewide ORV crash data, 93% of ORV fatalities could have been prevented. Chances are, that figure translates well to the rest of the country.

Preventable crashes were primarily due to excessive speed and a lack of helmet/seat belt use. Naturally, the presence of alcohol in a rider's bloodstream is a huge contributor as well. Always remember that even well-groomed trails with which you are familiar can present sudden road hazards! That's why the following points are critical:

  • Operate within the limits of your ORV and your own capabilities.
  • Ride at a safe speed.
  • Ride sober.
  • Ride on the right side of the trail.
  • Keep lights on when riding.
  • Always wear a helmet.

“Always ride within your and the machine's capabilities,” said Cpl. Mike Hearn, DNR law enforcement ORV and snowmobile specialist. “When operators ride too fast, they are more likely to lose control when they hit even the smallest bump, try to make turns or stop. Riding sober and at a safe speed are the best ways to stay safe.”Do your part to ensure everyone returns home safely; read more about ORV safety at


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