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Wisconsin DNR Encourages ATV/UTV Users to Ride Responsibly


More people than ever are hitting the trails in the Northwoods.

There’s also more people who are new to activities like riding ATVs and UTVs out on the those trails.

Last year was the deadliest year for off highway vehicles in Wisconsin.

The DNR reported 38 deaths of people riding or driving ATVs or UTVs.

So far this year, 17 people have died. That’s seven more than the same time last year.

Justin Bender is one the DNR Recreation Wardens who patrols trails in the Northwoods.

“We do see some safety concerns, maybe some risks being taken.  Whether that’s maybe not wearing some of the equipment like if it’s seatbelts or helmets. Those are definitely some easy things that you can do, to put on that’s going to help protect you,” said Bender.

Helmets were not worn in 15 of the 17 ATV/UTV accidents that resulted in deaths this year.

Bender says he’s also seeing a lot of first-time users out on the trails.

“They’re pretty powerful machines as far the engine size. If you are a first-time user with some of these machines then absolutely getting comfortable with it first,” said Bender.

The DNR says you should never drink alcohol or take drugs before going riding, wear a seatbelt and DOT- approved helmet, and know the ATV/UTV laws before you go.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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