Gator Sports Blog JulyBefore you off-road with your buddies, know the ins and outs of safe, considerate riding.

Come spell with us and discover how you can T.R.E.A.D. lightly and stay safe while you off-road.

T is for “Travel Responsibly”

It’s vital to your safety and the safety of those around you, that you travel on designated routes and in the appropriate areas. Before you ride, ensure which tracks or trails are designated to four-wheel vehicles. One wrong turn or move in an area that’s not designated for ATV’s can have devastating impacts.

Remember, there’s power in numbers! Grab a friend to go off-roading with. Not only will you be able to share the experience, but in the event of an emergency, it’s always a good idea to have someone that can help. Make sure to maintain a reasonable distance from the vehicle’s in front of you though to avoid any accidents.

Check out more Quick Tips from Tread Lightly!:

  • Travel straight up or down hills for safety purposes.
  • Stop frequently and scout ahead on foot to avoid any issues before they occur.
  • Know where the lowest point on your vehicle is to help negotiate terrain and prevent damage to your ATV.
  • Do not drink and drive.

R is for “Respect the Rights of Others”

R-E-S-P-E-C-T! We’ll show you what it means to us! Off-roading is an exhilarating experience but boundaries should still be maintained. Respect the road and those around you. Southwest Florida is a beautiful area and we’re not the only ones out enjoying it. Be considerate, be kind, and be helpful.

Avoid private property unless given permission. Yield the right away when traveling uphill, as well as when you encounter motorbikes, hikers, and horses.

Stay respectful with more tips and considerations:

  • Don’t spook the horses! When encountering horses on the trail, move to the side of the trail, stop, turn off your engine, remove your helmet and ask the rider the best way to proceed.
  • Do not idly ride around in camping, picnicking, trailhead or residential areas.
  • Keep speeds low around crowds and in camping areas.
  • Keep the noise and dust down when traveling in populated areas.

E is for “Educate Yourself”

Know where you’re going!

This may sound obvious but it is the most common mistake riders make. Don’t get lost in the wind at your back and sun on your face. It can be easy to over-shoot and ride too far. Plan your trip meticulously and plan accordingly. If you’re visiting a new track or trail, bring a map, mark your destination, and tell others your plan.

Don’t get caught in the rain. Southwest Florida summers are wet, humid things. Always ensure that the weather is nice before you travel.

Educate yourself with additional tips:

  • Contact the land manager for area restrictions, closures and permit requirements.
  • Buckle-up! Seat belts are mandatory. Know your limitations. Watch your time, your fuel and your energy.
  • Make sure your vehicle is mechanically up to task. Be prepared with tools, supplies, spares and a spill kit for trailside repairs.

A is for “Avoid Sensitive Areas”

Florida is a breeding ground for the beautiful, but also the endangered and occasionally dangerous. Avoid sensitive areas from an environmental and conservation stand point. Always stay on the designated route, particularly in areas that may merge into wetlands.

Stay conscientious of sensitive areas:

  • Other sensitive habitats to avoid including seasonal nesting or breeding areas.
  • Do not disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites.
  • Avoid livestock and wildlife, and keep your distance if you encounter any wildlife.
  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are not allowed in designated Wilderness Areas. Know where they are and avoid them.

D is for “Do Your Part”

Keep southwest Florida clean and green! Do your part while you’re out enjoying the environment by picking up and properly disposing waste, avoiding the use of fire, and being respectful of the fauna and foliage.

The future is our responsibility.

Off-Road Safety in SWFL

Gator Sports is dedicated to fun on and off the trail. That means we want you to say safe! We carry trusted Polaris vehicles that perform with your optimum safety in mind.

Visit the Gator Sports ATV showroom in Fort Myers where our experienced staff can answer all of your questions and get you outfitted in safe gear. Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you get into a vehicle so you can go off-road and explore the great outdoors.