A recent accident on a back road in Montezuma County serves as a reminder to drivers of off-highway vehicles to be extra careful, say officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The man operating the OHV was driving on a dirt road in the San Juan National Forest that is open to OHV travel. He drove into the oncoming lane at a blind curve and collided with a car. The man swerved to avoid a head-on collision, but was ejected from the OHV, hit the windshield of the car, and sustained two broken toes and plenty of serious scrapes and bruises. He was transported to a local hospital where he was treated. The man driving the OHV was ticketed and fined $75.
In Colorado, from 1982 through 2011, the Colorado State Patrol reports that 157 people were killed in OHV-related accidents–including 26 children under the age of 16. Nationally, from 1982 to 2010, 11,000 people died in OHV accidents, 25 percent of them under age 16.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joe Lewendowski says OHVs can carry a lot of speed, but they’re also light, narrow and have a short wheel base. So they are not as stable as regular vehicles on rough roads and trails where an operator might drive over boulders, rocks and tree roots. Even dirt roads in wash-board condition present hazards to OHV drivers.
Lewendowski adds that on trails, OHV drivers should be extra careful if they see horses approaching. Some horses spook easily if they see something they don’t recognize. He recommends that drivers pull off the trail, and then get off the vehicle to allow a horse to recognize a human form.