Program Overview:

Ride Smart – Get Involved – Tell Others

by Randy Harden, President of the NOHVIS Group, Inc.

NOHVIS consulting contract with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Questions and Answers about the Wisconsin Vehicle Safety Enhancement Grant (RIDE SMART - GET INVOLVED - TELL OTHERS)

What is "Ride Smart - Get Involved -Tell Others?"

The Ride Smart program is all about maintaining ATV riding opportunities in Wisconsin . It's essentially a program with defined goals. These goals are the work objectives for a nonprofit organization that reports its progress to the department on a monthly basis.

What are the specific goals of the grant?

On a statewide basis, the nonprofit organization is charged with:

  • Promoting the public operation of ATVs safely and responsibly and in a way that it does not harm the environment, conflict with laws, rules or department policies
  • Providing support to ATV clubs
  • Collecting ATV operation data related to trail use to help establish needs and priorities
  • Increasing current and future ATV operator participation
  • Informing communities about appropriate ATV uses and the economic benefits that may be gained by bringing ATV users to the area
  • Developing improving and maintaining relationships with the Department of Tourism, ATV dealers, manufacturers, snowmobile clubs, and other organizations that promote the recreational use of ATVs
  • Locating, recruiting and training additional safety instructors
  • Recruiting and training “Trail Ambassadors”
  • Promoting the ATV image in a positive light so the public can form opinions about ATV use based on ethical and responsible riders and not the improper actions of a few

If the department and the nonprofit organization work towards these goals, what will be accomplished?

We hope to do six main things;

  1. Reduce the number of ATV injury incidents and fatal crashes
  2. Reduce ATV violations & complaints from the public
  3. Ease the department workload related to recruiting instructors and duties associated with safety class presentations
  4. Sustain all-terrain vehicle and outdoor recreation opportunities
  5. Improve opportunities for increased ATV operation
  6. Improve the ATVer image

Why is the grant needed?

The grant is needed for two main reasons

1. We are in short supply of ATV safety instructors. The number of ATVs being used and the dramatic increase in its popularity has exceeded the department's ability to keep up with demands. In the past, volunteer ATV safety instructors were able to accommodate most of the requests for safety certifications, but recent growth has even taxed their capacity.

We also believe that a mandatory certification requirement is coming to the ATV program. This belief compelled the department to aggressively recruit ATV instructors. Awarding the grant to a nonprofit organization is part of that aggressive effort.

2. With growth and demand, there are additional problems. Although small by percentage, when you have more users, the recognition of problems becomes magnified. These problems are seen directly on the trail with congestion, irresponsible rider behavior, unethical riding, ATV accidents and increased numbers of fatal crashes. The goals of the grant are designed to help reduce these problems or at least hold them at present levels until other solutions can be developed

What is a "Trail Ambassador?"

A Trail Ambassador is a volunteer trail patroller. This person is trained by the nonprofit organization according to department standards to help ATVers while riding on the trail. Trail Ambassadors are trained to act as role model for other ATVers to follow, distribute regulations & information; assist stranded ATVers and report violations if problems cannot be addressed through on site education. The trail Ambassador is a police yourself tool that is widely used in other community projects. Two well-known examples of this type of volunteer effort are the Neighborhood Watch and Wisconsin 's Sturgeon Watch.

Are Trail Ambassadors law enforcement officers?

No. The volunteers have no law enforcement authority. Although Trail Ambassadors will wear identification that makes them highly visible, the identifying vests are used as a visible deterrence and for recognition only.

How can I become involved?

You can inquire about becoming a safety instructor and Trail Ambassador by visiting the nonprofit organization NOHVIS (National Off-Highway Insurance & Services Group Inc.) on the web, email or by contacting the department at 608-267-7455.

With department and NOHVIS training, entire clubs have had members become safety instructors & Trail Ambassadors and in turn, they have reaped the benefits of their efforts. In a short time period we can get you involved promoting safe ATV riding and in a manner that will help sustain and improve your sport…as the saying goes, "Ride Smart, Get Involved, Tell Others."

Regional Coordinators To Support Your Area

There are several allocated positions for the state of Wisconsin. These positions will be as paid “Independent Contractors” working in the 10-20 hours per week range, helping our state staff work within your districts. To help us select these important positions, we've assembled an “interview and review team”. These folks will help the NOHVIS Group put the best candidates for these area Regional Coordinator positions, out in the field. Our interview and review team is comprised of a broad cross section of folks, from the Wisconsin DNR, law enforcement, associated ATV / OHV business, and the trail community itself. Our aim is to involve key folks and positions on this team, that they can have meaningful contributions to its overall success and at the same time see the value this “important new tool” brings to the ATV / OHV world.

Our Regional Coordinator candidates must be qualified and capable, that we maintain the integrity of the new program and continue building our reputation as a solid and respected group of OHV recreationalists. Thus the “interview and review team” is of paramount importance in helping us with the selection process. The broader the spectrum of folks we can get to help us on the interview/review team, the more support and credibility the new program should earn.

We also have need of a separate review / interview team, set up within each of the regions for the applicants that apply for the volunteer positions of Wisconsin Trail Patrol Ambassadors. These interviewers will meet in each regional location that the Trail Patrol Ambassadors are based in. Again, the value of this process is designed to protect both the volunteer and the quality of the program itself, while involving more people in the overall program.

We anticipate this interview and review process, especially for the all volunteer Trail Patrol Ambassadors, may “raise some eyebrows” from a few folks that aren’t aware of the potential solutions this new program brings to the ATV world. Some people may think it too much to ask for a volunteer position. Indeed we are requiring the Wisconsin Trail Patrol Ambassador to fill out an application and to also be interviewed. A review team of folks outside of their own club is deciding their acceptance into our Wisconsin Trail Patrol Ambassador program. There are those that may decide to instead be involved in their own version of a trail patrol, without our training, interview and review stipulations. However, the program we’re building and enrolling volunteers into will have a much higher credibility profile with many more positive results. We’re determined to properly manage the quality and growth of our Trail Patrol Ambassador program.

The Ride Smart – Get Involved – Tell Others program is being built as a proactive model designed for our Wisconsin ATV registration program. As such, we must establish definitive control measures that allow this program to be different and unique, while serving as a “tool” that provides a better future for the recreational sport of off-highway vehicles. We’ve designed this program that the various state, county and local law enforcement agencies can feel comfortable being involved and be confident in the selection process that decides who our patrollers are. The application, training, and interview process is a critically important part of the quality control measures I made mention of.

We’re Ready To Explain Further

We would very much like to schedule appointments with interested clubs, public agencies and other entities wanting to know more about our new and exciting Ride Smart – Get Involved – Tell Others program. Our staff would like to invite you, to maybe even challenge you a bit and show how you could personally or corporately become more involved with the positive outcome in the future of this ATV sport and the entire industry for that matter. We do have more descriptions and paperwork about the details of Ride Smart. Maybe several regional clubs would like to host a special meeting that we can attend and answer your questions? Let us know soon, we’re ready to make it happen. Please drop us an e-mail or give a call if we can arrange a meeting with your Wisconsin area organization, agency or business!

If your organization or state agency outside of Wisconsin would to explore this type of consulting contract, we would welcome your inquiry.

The NOHVIS Group, Inc.

1539 N. 33rd Place
Suite A

Sheboygan, WI 53081


Phone (920) 694-0580