Key points regarding safety while recreating at the SVRAs are listed on the OHMVR Safety and Preparedness web page.
All vehicles which are operated on public lands must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The registration fee is $52 per vehicle, and is valid for a two-year period. The OHV fees are used for acquisition of new OHV areas, development and operation of existing OHV areas, enforcement of the rules and regulations, and protection of the natural resources. For additional information regarding the OHMVR Green & Red Sticker Fees, please download the OHMVR Information Bulletin dated April 24, 2009.
DMV will issue a Green or Red Sticker for off-highway vehicles. Vehicles which can be operated both on- and off-highway will be given a street-legal license.
OHV Registration Requirements
In order to operate any type of motorized vehicle off-highway on public land, you must have one of the following:
Street-Legal License Plate: If you want to operate a 4-wheel drive vehicle or dual-purpose motorcycle on-highway and off-highway, you must have a street-legal license plate.
To learn more about the DMV's Red and Green Sticker OHV registration, please click here.
To find out when you can operate your vehicle, call the specific riding area that you want to visit or you can follow the link to the Red Sticker Open Riding Schedule.
Closed Course Competition: Some race courses can be designated as a closed course. A Transportation Permit must be obtained from DMV to transport your vehicle to and from a race course.
Nonresident Permit: Please go to the Nonresident OHV Use Permit web page for detailed information.
Possession of Alcohol: It is illegal to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage while riding in or operating an off-highway vehicle. Vehicle Code sections 23220, 23222, 23223, 23225, and 23226, have been amended to include public lands.
The intent of these laws is to make the possession of alcohol in a vehicle the same whether you are driving on a highway or off-highway.
The laws are designed to reduce alcohol-related accidents, but also allow vehicles such as 4-wheel drives and snowmobiles to transport such items in locked containers or even ice chests if they are secured in a manner that are not accessible to the occupants or the operator.
Responsible off-highway vehicle enthusiasts do not drink and drive.
All-terrain vehicle (ATV) operators under 18 years of age must comply with the following California Vehicle Code requirements when operating an ATV on public lands. The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVRD) currently provides funding for ATV safety certificate training for those age 6 through 17. For more information and to sign up for training contact the ATV Safety Institute at (800) 887-2887.
CONDITIONS FOR OPERATING: MINORS
No person under the age of 18 years shall operate an all-terrain vehicle on public lands of this state unless the person satisfies one of the following conditions:
(a) The person is taking a prescribed safety training course under the direct supervision of a certified all-terrain vehicle safety instructor.
(b) The person is under the direct supervision of an adult who has in their possession an appropriate safety certificate issued by this state, or issued under the authority of another state.
(c) The person has in possession an appropriate safety certificate issued by this state or issued under the authority of another state (CVC 38503).
CONDITIONS FOR OPERATING: ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS
No person under 14 years of age shall operate an all-terrain vehicle on public lands of this state unless the person satisfies one of the conditions set forth in Section 38503 and, in addition, is accompanied by and under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian or is accompanied by and under the direct supervision of an adult who is authorized by the parent or guardian (CVC 38504).
38504.1. (a) Neither a parent or guardian of a child who is under 14 years of age, nor an adult who is authorized by the parent or guardian to supervise that child shall grant permission to, or knowingly allow, that child to operate an all-terrain vehicle in a manner that violates Section 38504.
(b) A person convicted of a violation of subdivision (a) is punishable as follows:
(1) For a first conviction, the court shall either impose a fine of one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125) or order the person to take or retake and complete an all-terrain vehicle safety training course pursuant to Section 38501. If ordered to take or retake and complete the safety training course, the person shall provide the court a copy of the all-terrain vehicles safety certificate issued as a result of that completion.
(2) For a second conviction, a fine of not less than one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125) nor more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
(3) For a third or any subsequent conviction, a fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500).
SEC. 2. Section 38504.2 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read: 38504.2. If a person under 14 years of age was not properly supervised or accompanied in accordance with Section 38504, and the parent or guardian of that child or the adult who was authorized by the parent or guardian to supervise or accompany that child is in violation of Section 38504.1, upon a conviction pursuant to Section 38504, the court may order that child to attend and complete the all-terrain vehicle safety training course accompanied by the person who violated Section 38504.1. If so ordered, the child under 14 years of age shall provide the court a copy of the all-terrain vehicles safety certificate issued as a result of that completion.
SAFETY HELMET REQUIRED
No person shall operate, ride, or be otherwise propelled on an all-terrain vehicle on public lands unless the person wears a safety helmet meeting requirements established for motorcycles and motorized bicycles, pursuant to Section 27802 (CVC 38505).
No operator of an all-terrain vehicle may carry a passenger when operating on public lands. However, the operator of an all-terrain vehicle, that is designed for operation off of the highway by an operator with no more than one passenger, may carry a passenger when operating on public lands (CVC 38506).
OHV Equipment Requirements
Noise emissions of competition off-highway vehicles manufactured on or after January 1, 1998, shall be limited to not more than 96 dBA, and if manufactured prior to January 1, 1998, to not more than 101 dBA, when measured from a distance of 20 inches using test procedures established by the Society of Automotive Engineers under Standard J-1287, as applicable. Noise emissions of all other off-highway vehicles shall be limited to not more than 96 dBA if manufactured on or after January 1, 1986, and not more than 101 dBA if manufactured prior to January 1, 1986, when measured from a distance of 20 inches using test procedures established by the Society of Automotive Engineers under Standard J-1287, as applicable.
For more information on noise limits, visit http://www.ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=23037. [CVC 38370 (h) (1)]
(a) Notwithstanding Section 4442 of the Public Resources Code, and except for vehicles with mufflers as provided in Article 2 (commencing with Section 27150) of Chapter 5 of Division 12, no person shall use, operate, or allow to be used or operated, any off-highway motor vehicle, as defined in Section 38006, on any forest-covered land, brush-covered land, or grass-covered land unless the vehicle is equipped with a spark arrester maintained in effective working order.
(b) A spark arrester affixed to the exhaust system of a vehicle subject to this section shall not be placed or mounted in such a manner as to allow flames or heat from the exhaust system to ignite any flammable material.
(c) A spark arrester is a device constructed of nonflammable materials specifically for the purpose of removing and retaining carbon and other flammable particles over 0.0232 of an inch in size from the exhaust flow of an internal combustion engine or which is qualified and rated by the United States Forest Service.
(d) Subdivision (a) shall not be applicable to vehicles being operated off the highway in an organized racing or competitive event upon a closed course, which is conducted under the auspices of a recognized sanctioning body and by permit issued by the fire protection authority having jurisdiction (CVC 38366).
HEADLAMPS / TAILLAMPS
Any vehicle operated between sunset and sunrise must display at least one headlight that enables an operator to see clearly 200 feet ahead and one red taillight visible for 200 feet (CVC 38335, 38345).
PROHIBITION: WARNING LIGHTS
A person shall not display a flashing or steady burning red or blue warning light on an off-highway motor vehicle except as permitted by Section 21055 or when an extreme hazard exists (CVC 38346).
PROHIBITION: USE OF SIREN
(a) An off-highway motor vehicle, except an authorized emergency vehicle, shall not be equipped with a siren.
(b) A person driving an off-highway motor vehicle, except the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle as permitted by Section 21055, shall not use a siren (CVC 38375).
OHV Operation Requirements
SPEED, TURNING, RECKLESS DRIVING
You may not drive a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the safety of other persons or their property (CVC 38305, 38314, 38316a, 38317).
PRIMA FACIE SPEED LIMIT
No motor vehicle shall exceed 15 mph within 50 feet of any campground, campsite, or concentration of people or animals (CVC 38310).
SUSPENDED DRIVING PRIVILEGE
A driver's license is not necessary to operate an OHV in most areas. However, if your driving privilege is suspended in California, you may not operate an OHV on California public lands [CVC 14601.1(e)].
This is only a partial list of regulations pertaining to OHV's. For a complete listing, see Division 16.5 of the California Vehicle Code available at DMV offices and at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html.
It is your responsibility to know all of the regulations.