Off-Road Safety Tips

Source: Calstar Air Medical Services

California’s central coast is truly one of the best places for off-road enthusiasts, especially quad, dirt bike and side-by-side riders. But before Santa Barbara County residents prepare for a day of riding, CALSTAR Air Medical Services (CALSTAR) has some recommended tips to help keep everyone safe.

“Off-road vehicles have grown in popularity over the past several years,” said Chris Aten, Program Director for CALSTAR. “With that increase in popularity comes a higher risk of accidents and injuries. We want to remind riders that safety needs to be their first and top priority out there.”

CALSTAR offers these tips to riders:

Wear safety gear. Properly fitting helmets and other protective equipment can often make the difference between minor and significant injuries.

Make sure your ride is equipped with a flag. Whip flags help increase your visibility to other riders. Many OHV areas require vehicles to be fitted with red or orange-colored flags. Check your local state park website for official requirements.

Don’t ride impaired. Never operate an OHV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Follow vehicle manufacturer recommendations. Make sure your OHV is appropriate for both your size and age and that you always follow the passenger recommendations set by the vehicle manufacturer.

Supervise young riders. Children and teens should always ride under the supervision of an adult.

Never ride alone or beyond your skill level. Riding in pairs or small groups ensures that if someone becomes injured, other riders can seek help. You also reduce your risk of injury when you know your limits and stay in areas that match your skills as a rider.

Watch your speed. Consider the terrain, visibility conditions, and your experience level as a rider and adjust your speed accordingly. Near campgrounds or large groups of people, follow posted speed limits.

Don’t cross directly over hills or ridges. When riding, always approach the crest of a hill or ridge at an angle; this ensures you have visibility to any hidden drop-offs or other riders on the opposite side.

CALSTAR is committed to the health and wellbeing in the communities it serves. Our caregivers promote safety and preparedness to save lives and prevent both injury and disability. For more information on OHV safety, visit


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