Off Roading: Dirt Bike, ATV, Side by Side Rules and Safety

Going off road whether you're on an ATV, UTV, dual sport motorcycle, or dirt bike? Check out our safety tips before riding. Kids and adults should both wear the proper gear and understand how to operate their vehicles before embarking out on the trails.

Enduro riding

No matter the weather, staying covered with long pants and at minimum a long sleeved shirt should be worn to protect you or your young rider from abrasions. Going off road in the summer with long pants and sleeves doesn't have to be uncomfortable as many breathable jerseys and riding apparel options are available. Always wear close toed shoes. Boots would be ideal for most off road riding. Over-the-ankle boots will help protect against mud and debris from entering your shoes and making for an uncomfortable ride. Boots with knobby treads are a really good idea, especially in wet conditions - you never know what you'll ride through on those longer trail rides!

A well fitting Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant helmet can save your life

Always wear the proper head protection. Well fitting gloves can help offer more grip and save your hands from blistering on those longer rides.

Eye protection should go hand-in-hand with head protection. Wearing goggles designed for off road use will keep dust, dirt, branches and other debris out of your eyes and keep you seeing whats ahead. Off road goggles should be made of impact resistant materials, and some goggles can be worn over prescription glasses.

Some riders may choose to wear a kidney belt, or chest and back protection, such as a roost guard or chest protector. Padding up with this gear might be worthwhile if you or your little one rides on the aggressive side.

ATV trail riding

  • Always wear a DOT compliant helmet
  • Always supervise riders less than 16 years old
  • Never ride on paved roads, except when crossing where permitted by law
  • Never ride impaired

Many ATVs and dirt bikes are made for single riders. Carrying a passenger on a machine designed for one will greatly reduce control and should be avoided whenever possible. It should go without saying, but when driving ATVs with a passenger always be mindful of their safety as well as yours. Steep elevation changes or uneven rocky terrain might not be the best place to carry a passenger as balancing your machine can be significantly more difficult.

Always inspect.

Before heading out to ride, check your machine and get in the habit of maintaining your quad, motorcycle or dirt bike before and after each use. Riding off road can bring its own surprises whether it's sticks stuck in suspension, or damaged frames, leaking fluids and other mechanical issues.

Check your fluids (fuel, brake fluid, coolant) and make sure they are full. Give the handlebars and tires a good look-over and make adjustments as needed.