State of Michigan


*** NOTICE ***
This page includes a brief summary of provincial/state laws regulating ATV / Off-highway vehicle use current to April 2012. It is not intended as an absolute reference as laws are subject to change without notice and many potential prohibited acts may be covered by other legislation or statutes. It is recommended that you consult with the latest version of state statutes or provincial legislation.
General prohibited acts that may not be covered by specific OHV legislation include trespassing on private property, unlawful use of OHV on public highways, reckless use of off-highway vehicles, operation of off-highway vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, damage to public or private property or damage to natural habitats or protected areas which are all unlawful in every province and state.
Preamble

ATV's and other off-highway vehicles are regulated in the state of Michigan under the NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT Act of 1994. These statutes cover use of off-highway vehicles on public and private lands.

For more information on Michigan ATV/OHV regulations, please download a copy of the Michigan OHV Act.



Summary of legislation regulating ATV use

Titling required
All residents of Michigan are required to title their off-highway vehicle.


Registration required
All residents of Michigan are required to register their off-highway vehicle and display valid registration decals on the vehicle.

Non-residents are required t purchase a Michigan ORV license to operate on public lands.
Helmets and eye protection required
All operator and riders are required to wear DOT approved helmets and adequate eye protection while operating off-highway vehicles on public lands.



Safety certificate required for underage operators
All operators under the age of 16 MUST successfully complete the Michigan ORV safety class or hold a safety certificate from another state AND be directly supervised by and adult over the age of 18 while riding on public lands.



Restrictions on underage operators
No person under the age of 10 years of age may operate a off-highway vehicle on public lands.

No person under the age of 16 may operate a three wheeled ATV.
No person under the age of 12 may cross a public highway or roadway on a off-highway vehicle.



Restrictions on carrying passengers
No operator may carry a passenger on a off-highway vehicle unless the vehicle is designed to carry a passenger.



Restrictions on operation during hours of darkness
No ATV shall be operated without a lighted headlight and taillight from hour after sunset to hour before sunrise.


Required safety equipment
All off-highway vehicles operated within the state require adequate braking system with working brake lights, working muffler systems which adequately limit noise emissions and a working spark arrestor.

No one may operate a off-highway vehicle unless the operator can physically reach all the safety controls on the vehicle, which include hand brakes/foot brakes, clutch and shifter.
Other prohibited acts
No one may operate a off-highway vehicle;
  • In a careless or reckless manner or at a rate of speed which is greater than reasonable for the conditions
  • In a state game area or state park or recreation area, except on roads, trails, or areas designated for this purpose;
  • On state owned lands under the control of the department other than game areas, state parks, or recreational areas where the operation would be in violation of rules promulgated by the department;
  • In a forest nursery or planting area;
  • On public lands posted or reasonably identifiable as an area of forest reproduction, and when growing stock may be damaged; in a dedicated natural area of the department; or in any area in such a manner as to create an erosive condition, or to injure, damage, or destroy trees or growing crops.



Please visit our U.S. land use forums for discussions regarding land use and legal issues.




OHV Registration / Permit
All residents of Michigan are required to register their off-highway vehicle and display valid registration decals on the vehicle.

Non-residents are required to purchase a Michigan ORV license for operation on public lands.
For More Information
This page represents a general summary of applicable state laws which apply to the operation of an off-highway vehicle. Laws are subject to change and laws other than specific off-highway vehicle related laws may be in place which may directly or indirectly apply to the operation of a off-highway vehicle in certain circumstances. Please consult with your state statutes if you have any questions.

For more information on Michigan ATV/OHV regulations, please download a copy of the Michigan OHV Act.