Contact(s): Gary Eddy, off-highway vehicle administrative warden, 608-219-2566
MADISON -- A crash involving a utility-terrain vehicle on August 4 in Oneida County resulted in the death of a person, bringing to 14 the total number of fatalities for all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles in Wisconsin this year and prompting wardens to remind all riders of safety steps.
Gary Eddy, the off-highway administrative warden for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, says wardens statewide are encouraging all operators and riders to "Wear it Wisconsin!"
"That means wearing helmets for ATVs and UTVs, and your seat belts on an UTV," Eddy said.
Anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet, and that helmet must meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards.
Eddy says in all 14 fatalities - seven on ATVS and seven on UTVs - no one was wearing a helmet and only one individual on a UTV was wearing a seatbelt.
Versatile vehicles best used with safety in mind
"These machines are popular for work and for play, and their use continues to grow in Wisconsin," Eddy said. "Since you can't predict when an incident will occur, it is best to protect yourself and your passengers for that possibility. Simply put on the helmet, fasten the safety straps and click the seatbelt."
Eddy says 13 of the 14 fatalities have happened either on public roads or on private property.
"It is always important to remember safety while operating these vehicles for work or recreational purposes," Eddy said. "These machines are often operated on paved surfaces and across rough terrain. These conditions bring their own set of hazards. That's why the use of safety equipment is so important. Many of these tragedies may have been prevented had seat belts and helmets been used."
Eddy urges all ATV and UTV owners to spread the "Wear it Wisconsin" message by setting a personal rule that helmets and seat belts are always used on their machines. Also, educate others you know on the importance of using helmets and seat belts. "A little positive peer pressure on your family and friends can help," Eddy said. "We want everyone to stay safe and have fun while using these versatile vehicles. Here are more of Warden Eddy's safety tips for all ATV-UTV riders:
For more information see the ATV/UTV Riding in Wisconsin page of the DNR website.