Wisconsin DNR Urges Safe ATV/UTV Use During July Fourth Holiday Weekend

(Dodge County) The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is reminding ATV/UTV riders to operate safely this Fourth of July holiday weekend. A lack of safety equipment is the leading cause of ATV/UTV incidents.

When enjoying off-road rides and adventures, wearing a helmet and seat belt, monitoring speed, and using caution on hills and uneven terrain could save your life. Make safety your top priority when enjoying Wisconsin’s many ATV/UTV riding opportunities. Always operate at a responsible speed and ensure you and your passengers wear helmets and seat belts.

So far this year, eight people have died in ATV/UTV crashes. Six of the eight fatal crash victims did not wear a helmet at the time of the crash. Additionally, two of the five fatal UTV crash victims were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash.

Safety tips DNR officials encourage include never consuming alcohol or drugs before or during your ride, always wear your seatbelt and protective gear such as a helmet and gloves, keep your distance, and check for speed while on uneven terrain.

DNR officials also encourage the public to keep fireworks out of state parks and forests. Arial and explosive pyrotechnics are prohibited on DNR-managed lands.

Most wildfires caused by fireworks occur during the weeks leading up to and after the Fourth of July holiday or under extended drought conditions. Wildfires can start anytime the ground is not completely snow-covered.

The DNR recommends being especially cautious with fireworks, and all fires, when the fire danger is elevated and fires spread quickly and burn more intensely, especially in the spring and during periods of summer drought. Exploding fireworks, such as firecrackers, m-70s, bottle rockets and roman candles, cause the most fireworks-related wildfires.

Although holiday favorites such as sparklers and fountains are not defined as fireworks per state law, the DNR says they do pose a significant fire threat, particularly near grassy areas in hot and dry weather.

A citation for illegal fireworks in a state park or forest can cost up to $200.50. Violators, or parents of violators, could be responsible for the total costs of extinguishing a fire and up to twice the cost of damages.