Tips & Safety

ATV & UTV Operation in Wisconsin
When used safely and wisely an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or utility-terrain vehicle (UTV) can provide a source of fun and family recreation. When used unwisely by an untrained, inexperienced operator, these vehicles can be dangerous.

With safety in mind, these vehicles can be a useful tool for work and a great means of exploring the outdoors. It is the responsibility of all operators to make the sport a safe one. Take a safety course!

Traveler Stewardship
Think of yourself as an ambassador for motorized trail riding. Your actions speak for all riders. Stay on the trail. Riding off the trail can destroy animal burrows and vegetation. Be a part of the solution. Offer to help protect and restore areas that have been damaged.

Report resource damage or trail hazards to the trail manager. If you can’t go around a wet area, go through it slowly and easily to decrease erosion. A quiet machine can seem noisy. It depends on how you ride it. Remember you share the trail with wildlife.

Tread Lightly
With the number of motorized vehicle riders increasing, the sport of ATV and UTV riding is grabbing attention as land managers try to balance its popularity with the nation’s natural resources. Riding can be a blast and it can also be damaging to public lands if not done responsibly. Land managers encourage people to help protect the great outdoors by riding responsibly and practicing outdoor ethics, like those created by Tread Lightly!

Tread Lightly!, a nonprofit organization that educates people to recreate responsibly, has issued some practical tips on minimizing environmental impact from ATVs and UTVs:
  • Stay only on roads, trails or other areas designated for use.
  • Try to stay in the middle of the trail to avoid widening it.
  • Cross streams only at designated fording points, where the trail crosses the stream. Approach the stream slowly, crossing at a 90-degree angle.
  • On switchbacks, avoid roosting around the apex of the turn when climbing or brake-sliding during descent, both of which gouge the trail.
  • On slick trails, moderate the throttle and use the clutch to gain maximum traction with minimum wheel-spin.
  • Try to avoid muddy trails, save them for future trips when they are dry.
  • Pack out what you pack in. Carry a trash bag on your vehicle and pick up litter left by others.
  • Following a ride, wash your vehicle and support vehicle to avoid spreading noxious weeds the next time you ride.
  • Observe proper human waste disposal. Bury your waste at least six inches deep and camouflage the hole or pack out your waste.
  • Take a training course to maximize safety. Always wear a helmet, eye protection and other safety gear.

  • Some ATVs are designed for one operator only. Never carry a passenger on these single person machines.
  • Protective clothing is a necessity. Always wear an approved helmet, eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants and a long sleeved shirt or jacket.
  • Never consume alcohol or drugs before or during operation.
  • Avoid excessive speeds. Travel at a speed appropriate for the terrain, visibility conditions, and your experience.
  • Do not attempt wheelies, jumps, or other stunts. These maneuvers can have very disastrous results.