Off-highway motor vehicles and all-terrain vehicles are booming. In 2020, during a pandemic spike, the industry sold a record 874,000 vehicles. Although that trend decreased slightly since then, there are a lot of new riders out there — particularly in Rio Rancho. Read on to learn about OHV safety in Rio Rancho.
OHV Riding in Rio Rancho
Riders zoom across the single-track and off-road-vehicle terrain here. North of Unser and Northern Boulevard a ramp down into the arroyo marks the way to a popular riding area. At the end of Southern Boulevard, the 12-mile Rio Puerco Trail leads into dirt roads, sandy arroyos, and rocky sections. A bit farther west, drivers can enjoy the BLM lands around Mt. Taylor and in the Zuni Mountains. In Albuquerque, the City of Albuquerque Open Space welcomes off-road driving at Montessa Park.
There are many areas that are off-limits, including the bosque and Corrales. New Mexico laws also forbid riding on private property. To discover more riding areas, connect with other enthusiasts on Facebook or consult the OHV land usage map for New Mexico.
Unfortunately, ATVing can also be dangerous. Bernalillo County Fire crews responded to at least one ATV rollover on the West Mesa in 2021. Nationally, 2,258 people died from off-highway vehicles from 2015 to 2017. During a five-year span, from 2015 to 2019, there were 524,600 injuries associated with these vehicles treated in emergency rooms in the U.S.
If you want to be safe on the trails, start by learning about New Mexico’s laws and rules for off-highway motor vehicles. A class is a must. Online classes are available, but the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish offers free, hands-on safety training classes to prepare you for your rides.
OHV Safety Tips
In New Mexico, Off-Highway Vehicles are defined as All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs, aka quads or four-wheelers), Off-Highway Motorcycles (OHM, aka dirt bikes), Recreational Off-Highway Vehicles (ROV, aka side-by-sides), and snowmobiles.
Most OHV deaths and injuries occur during the summer — a popular time for outdoor recreation and riding. With the summer season approaching, here are six tips for OHV safety in Rio Rancho:
1. Dress properly. You should protect your skin with long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves. Protect your eyes with goggles. Even when you’re contending with the New Mexico summer heat!
2. Wear a helmet. You should always wear a DOT-compliant helmet.
3. Ride only in off-road areas. Refrain from riding on paved roads with traditional vehicles. Only cross paved roads in designated areas and when it’s safe to proceed. This means you’ll need to drive your ATV to off-road areas in a larger truck or on a trailer.
4. Refrain from carrying passengers. If your ATV is equipped for a single rider, don’t invite a passenger along. Have an ATV built for two? That should be the max capacity for that vehicle.
5. Only ride in an ATV that’s right for your size and stature.
6. Buckle up. If your ATV is equipped with seatbelts, wear them.
OHV Safety Tips for Riding with Children in Rio Rancho
When you’re recreating with children, there are additional guidelines to keep in mind. Sixteen percent of the tracked ATV casualties have been children. Most of those deaths were children beneath the age of 12. If you’re riding with a young person, keep these tips in mind:
- Anyone under 18 must also pass an approved safety class and carry a certificate with them to ride in New Mexico. Adults must supervise children riders unless they’re older than 15 and have a valid driver’s license or are older than 13 and have a valid motorcycle license.
- In the Land of Enchantment, kids under 18 must wear a DOT-approved helmet, and goggles or safety glasses.
- Opt for age-appropriate models. Riders younger than 16 should have models with speed limiters. ATVs have recommended ages for each model. Follow those recommendations closely.
We hope these tips will help you ride OHVs safely in Rio Rancho.
How Sanchez and Piñon Can Help
If you’ve experienced an ATV accident, and you are seeking representation, contact Sanchez and Piñon, Rio Rancho’s auto accident and injury attorneys, for a free consultation. While other attorneys talk, we listen and provide a personal level of representation. We can discuss how to fight for the compensation you deserve.