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“Where there is great power there is great responsibility.”
Winston Churchill 1906

Like the dunes? We love them! Few things cause a stronger adrenaline rush than running a huge bowl or climbing Competition Hill. The dunes and the machines at the dunes have surely changed over the last 30 years. The Honda 250 ATC used to be king, but it has been given way to supercharged bikes like the fuel-injected Yamaha Raptor 700. If you wanted more than one seat, you had to either settle for a dune buggy or build a custom rail. The standardization and mass marketing of UTVs or ROVs over the last 15 years has drastically changed the dynamics of riding at the dunes. All it takes is a decent credit, a down payment, and a signature for the most inexperienced of all greenhorns to hit the dunes with a 1000 cc turbo-charged killing machine.
Here are a few ways to keep it safe and help protect you from others:

Always ride within your skill level: If it is your first time at the dunes, make sure you go with other riders who are experienced and knowledgeable. Driving the dunes is completely different from ripping it up in the desert or mountains. Skills like reading the sand, knowing what line to take, how to drop in on a razor ridge, or running a hill can take years to learn. Every year we see some inexperienced driver who buries his Razor trying to vertically crest a ridge straight on rather than gradually crossing over from one side to another.

Know your terrain: Sand dune terrain is vastly more complex than desert or forest roads. Razor ridges, witches’ eyes, and other hazards can turn an enjoyable ride into a nightmare wreck. Sharp ridges make transitioning or dropping in a safety hazard if you try to do it blindly. Make sure you know where you are driving or riding.

Have a spotter: Competition Hill, Patton, Highway Hill, China Wall, and Oldsmobile are wicked fun to run with your buddies. Unfortunately, it is not common to hear about head-on collisions when one machine blindly jumps down a ridge while another is running up the same hill. Having a spotter at the top of any hill you want to run or jump can drastically reduce the risk of accidents.

Wear proper gear: Helmets are required at most, if not all, recreational sand dunes areas. Proper eye gear and gloves will also help keep you safe regardless of whether you are on a bike or UTV/ROV. Always have a safety flag on any vehicle you operate at the dunes!

Keep it sober: Drunk driving is a hazard regardless of whether it occurs on a paved highway, dirt road, or on the dunes. Not only is it dangerous, but it is illegal too. The Bureau of Land Management frequently sets up DUI checkpoints to find and arrest impaired riders and drivers. Always have a designated driver for your UTVs and ROVs. If you are drinking, don’t get on your bike or quad until you are completely sober.

Have fun tearing up the sand and above all keep it safe out there for you and others!

We are experienced and knowledgeable attorneys regarding sand dunes, UTVs, and ROVs. If you or someone you know has been injured at the dunes, call us at 833-4-UTVLAW or visit

For a full list of Rules and Regulations for the Imperial Sand Dunes, please visit

Imperial Sand Dunes Rules and Regulations
Rules are designed to promote public safety in the Imperial Sand Dunes and have been in effect since 1983. PLEASE REMEMBER, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW THE LAW. These rules apply to public lands within the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (ISDRA).
RECREATION PERMIT. A permit is required for all primary street legal vehicles used for transportation to the recreation site (unless exempted by P.L. 108-447). Permits must be purchased and visibly displayed in the windshield with the date side facing out upon arrival to ISDRA. Permits are non-refundable.

SAFETY FLAGS ARE REQUIRED ON ALL VEHICLES IN THE IMPERIAL SAND DUNES RECREATION AREA (This includes two-wheeled motorcycles). All vehicles shall be equipped with a whip mast and a 6×12 inch red/orange flag. Flags may be of pennant, triangle, square, or rectangular shape. Masts must be securely mounted on the vehicle and extend 8 feet from the ground to the mast tip. Safety flags must be attached within 10 inches of the tip of the whip mast with club or other flags mounted below safety flag or on another whip.

A 15 MPH SPEED RULE EXISTS ON THE SAND HIGHWAYS. No person shall operate an OHV in excess of 15 mph on public lands within 500 feet of Highway 78, Grays Well Road, Gecko Road and access roads within the Gecko and Roadrunner recreation sites.
NO SAVING SPACES. It is prohibited to reserve or save a camping space for another person.
Does the BLM tow vehicles away if they are left unattended in the camping areas at the ISDRA? Yes, under the authority of 43 CFR 8365.2-3(c) which says in developed camping and picnicking areas, no person shall, unless otherwise authorized; leave personal property unattended for more than 24 hours in a day use area, or 72 hours in other areas. Personal property left unattended beyond such time limit is subject to disposition under the Federal Property and Administration Services Act of 1949, as amended (40 U.S.C. 484(m)).

STAKING AREAS. It is prohibited to place into the ground any non-flexible object, such as, but not limited to, metal stakes, poles, or pipes, with the exception of small tent or awning stakes.

FIRES. The burning of potentially hazardous materials, e.g. (but not limited to) gas, oil, plastic and magnesium is prohibited.

WOOD PALLETS. It is prohibited to use as firewood, or have in possession, any firewood materials containing nails, screws, or other metal hardware, including, but not limited to, wood pallets and/or construction debris.

NO GLASS BEVERAGE CONTAINERS ARE ALLOWED. Possession or use of any glass, cup or bottle, empty or not, used for carrying any liquid for drinking purposes is prohibited. Persons may pick up glass beverage containers discarded by others to remove for deposit in approved trash receptacles.

NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ALLOWED WHILE RIDING ON BLM LANDS. No person shall drink an alcoholic beverage, have in their possession or on their person any open container that contains an alcoholic beverage while operating in or on a motor vehicle or OHV on public lands administered by BLM within California.


QUIET HOURS. No person shall operate or use any audio, such as a radio, television, musical instrument, or other noise producing device or motorized equipment (including generators)between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am in a manner that makes unreasonable noise that disturbs other visitors; or operate or use a public address system without written authorization from BLM.

PUBLIC NUDITY. Public nudity is prohibited.

ORGANIZED GROUP ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS. You may not stage, carry out, participate in, or sponsor an organized event or activity without written authorization from BLM (e.g. customer appreciation days, competitive races, bands, videos, movies, etc.).

RIDING IN PICKUP BEDS AND OTHER UNSAFE ACTIVITIES. No person shall ride in the bed of a pick up truck or any part of a motor vehicle not designed for passengers on or off road.

AIRCRAFT. Taking off or landing of aircraft, including ultralights, is prohibited within 1 mile of Gecko Road.

DUMPING. Dumping of sewage is prohibited (43 CFR 8365.1-1(b)).

CAMPING LIMITATIONS. A 14 day camping limit is in effect in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

PARKING RESTRICTIONS. No parking or camping within 10 feet of pavement on Gecko Road.

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