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Think Smart Before You Start: DNR Urges ATV And UTV Enthusiasts To Follow Safety Tips And Stay Off Undesignated Roads

May 11, 2021

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges operators of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and utility terrain vehicles (UTV) to stay safe and enjoy the ride by following safety best practices.

So far this year, there have been 12 fatal ATV and UTV accidents compared to 6 fatal accidents by May 7 in 2020. Many of the 2021 accidents involved operators using roads and highways. Few operators were safety certified and most were not wearing a helmet nor seatbelt.

When used safely, ATVs and UTVs provide fun, family recreation, and a valuable tool for working or exploring the outdoors. However, these vehicles are powerful and can be dangerous and even fatal. It is the responsibility of all ATV and UTV operators to make the sport a safe one.

"ATVs and UTVs are powerful and potentially dangerous vehicles," said DNR OHV Administrator Lt. Martin Stone. "Safety is part of the fun. Please ride responsibly."

Follow these tips for a safe ride:
  • Never consume alcohol or drugs before or during your ride.
  • Wear a seatbelt and Department of Transportation (DOT) - approved helmet.
  • In addition to a seat belt and helmet, wear protective clothing such as eye protection, gloves, long pants, and a long-sleeve shirt.
  • Keep your speed in check for the terrain, visibility conditions, and your experience.
  • Remember that some terrain in Wisconsin is too steep for ATV/UTVs. Please be careful while traversing hills.
  • Know before you go. Review all ATV/UTV laws here.
One of the best things ATV and UTV operators can do to operate safely is to take an online safety course. A list of approved safety education classes is available on the DNR Safety Education webpage.

ATV and UTV operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, who are at least 12 years old for an ATV (and at least 16 years old for UTV) must complete an ATV safety certification course to operate in Wisconsin (exception: on private property owned by operator's immediate family).

Wisconsin law requires every operator involved in a crash incident to report the incident without delay to law enforcement officials. In addition, within 10 days of the incident, the operator must submit a written report to the DNR.

For more information on ATV and UTV recreation in Wisconsin, visit the DNR's website.