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ATV safety ahead of Memorial Day weekend in El Paso


EL PASO, TX (KVIA) -- As we head into Memorial Day weekend, you may be getting ready to enjoy outdoor activities, including one of the most common ones in El Paso, ATV riding. However, with the increase in ATV use, there is growing concern for safety.

ATVs are powerful machines, and the risks associated with them rise as more people are expected to hit the trails at Red Sands this weekend. The community is urged to practice safe riding. 

Here are some safety rules set by the University Medical Center of El Paso:

  • Always wear the proper gear: a helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots, and gloves.
  • Never ride on paved roads as ATVs are designed to be operated off-highway.
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV designed for two people.
  • Ride an ATV that is right for your age.
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
  • Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.

Red Sands is not an off-road park or official off-highway recreational area. In fact, officials do not recommend you visit the area on your own.

If you are heading out this weekend, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office told ABC-7 it’s important for riders to be aware of their surroundings, “If you're aware of what's around you, who's around you, it just brings the safety levels to another level. You're able to be more cautious when driving. You can slow down, and you can accelerate when appropriate,” says Sergeant Eric Vela.

The Sheriff's Office also stresses the importance of acting quickly in an emergency, “If you can help out with that person that's injured, that's obviously going to help as law enforcement, EMT, and first responders arrive. You're going to want to contact 911 as quickly as possible. But to help with that trauma immediately, just stop the bleeding as best as you can and keep them as comfortable until we get there,” Vela said. 

The Sheriff's Office also says they often responds to ATV crashes involving driving while intoxicated. They remind everyone that alcohol-related crashes are 100% preventable if you make the right choice.

Riders are also advised to take a hands-on ATV riders course and the free online E-course for maximum safety before heading out.

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