Sand Dune Safety
"It will never happen to me..."
Riding off-highway vehicles in the sand dunes has become very
popular over the last few decades. Unfortunately
along with the increased use,
reported cases of serious
injury have also increased.
With more injuries in the news, lawmakers feel the pressure to
do something to fix the problem. When enacting new laws, lawmakers need to
remember that you can't legislate wisdom. Some people refuse to use basic safety precautions when riding their
OHVs, so injuries and fatalities are bound to increase as more and more people buy
them. The only way to reach these people is through education and enforcement.
Most of the time this does not require any new laws.
With this increased popularity, and
closures of more and more land that was once open to OHV use, being safe in the
dunes is more important than ever. Laws and enforcement vary from state to
state, but please remember these tips before you ride.
Important Safety Reminders:
Always wear a helmet and other protective gear.
Always use a whip flag so that other riders can see you.
Never rider under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Ride an ATV that's right for your age and size.
Do not carry passengers on a vehicle not designed for it.
Supervise younger riders.
Do not ride beyond your ability level.
Do not ride alone.
Keep your speed in check. Choose a speed that is proper for the terrain, visibility,
operating conditions, equipment and your experience.
Always keep your speed at a level that will allow you to slow for unforeseen
drop-offs and witches eyes. Speed limit is 15mph within 50 feet of any
campground, campsite, or concentration of people or animals. Basic speed
laws also apply - it is illegal to operate an off-highway vehicle faster
than it is safe for conditions.
Familiarize yourself with the dunes
before riding hard. Never push the limits at a dune you are not familiar
with. First time at the dunes
should be following a rider that has been there before.
Do not cross straight over a ridge/razorback. Approach at an
angle so that you can check for other riders and drop-offs. Whenever
possible try to transition a ridge on the drivers side of the car. Your
vision over the top of the lip is much better on your side of the car. How
not to cross a razorback - video demonstration. Why it is important to
cross a ridge at an angle - Ridge
Crossing 101 video.
When approaching another rider head-on, remember to
"break right" to avoid a collision.
Always use a spotter when jumping. Spotters should always be
at the top of the hill. Look before you jump! Dune
bashing goes wrong in Qatar - Video.
Speed limit is 15 mph within 50 feet of camps, pedestrians or animals.
Don't operate an off-highway vehicle faster than it is safe
for conditions. (38305 C.V.C.)
Make sure you can be seen - it is always safer to ride on
top of a ridge than down at the bottom of a drop-off that someone may fly
Also make sure your whip flag is at least 8 ft. off the ground and
does not bend too much while riding. If you park in the dunes, make sure to
park one or more vehicles on a high spot.
The quad parked at the top of the ridge helps others know that you are
Make sure someone knows where you are going and when to
expect you back.
Always carry a cell phone.
A GPS will greatly increase the odds of help finding you.
Carry a tow strap.
Carry a first aid kit.
Carry extra water. Especially during warmer weather.
Respect the Land - Or Lose Your Access:
Ride only in areas designated for OHV use.
trail markers and closure signs.
the area cleaner than you found it.
ride over vegetation.
noise disturbs people, wildlife and is against the law in many sand dunes.
Make sure you know local sound requirements.
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