DNR reminds off-highway vehicle riders to prioritize their safety

August 30, 2021


OHV riders also need to take precautions to avoid inadvertently setting fires

As the busy fall season for riding off-highway vehicles (OHV) approaches, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds all riders to prioritize safety.

Like 2020, when the number of OHVs registered in Minnesota increased markedly, DNR conservation officers report this year has been an exceptionally busy one throughout the state. While there’s plenty of OHV activity year-round, there tends to be a September surge that lasts until the snow starts falling. And, unfortunately, people die every fall in OHV-related crashes.

“Our goal is that every rider return home safely at the end of every ride,” said Capt. Jon Paurus, safety training education manager for the DNR Enforcement Division. “Riding an OHV is a great way for people of all ages to experience Minnesota’s outdoors, but riders have to prioritize safety at all times during every ride.”

Twelve people had died in OHV-related crashes as of Aug. 19. The majority of those were on Class 1 all-terrain vehicles (ATV), but four were riding the larger Class II vehicles that are becoming increasingly popular. The number of fatalities is up from the 10-year average of about 11 at the same time of year.

Among the most common violations conservation officers have seen this year is youth riders not wearing helmets. All riders under the age of 18 must wear a DOT-approved helmet, and it’s recommended all riders wear one. Other ways riders can help ensure a safe ride include:

  • Ride only on designated trails. Stay to the right and travel at a safe speed.
  • Ride sober.
  • Wear protective gear including goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, gloves and a DOT-approved helmet.
  • If an OHV comes with factory installed seatbelts, wear them.
  • Avoid riding on paved roads except to cross. Do it safely and ensure it’s permitted by law.
  • Actively supervise young riders as OHVs aren’t toys.
  • Complete a safety education course.
  • Ride on trails and avoid parking over dry grass to reduce the risk of inadvertently starting a wildfire.

For more tips on safe riding, see mndnr.gov/ohv/atv-safety.html