ATV Operational Law:
ATVs used on public roads (streets and highways) must be registered and insured. The latter can be a major headache for some, as not everybody's insurance company will provide coverage. What constitutes streets and highways? Some BLM and Forest Service roads constitute a public road. A rule of thumb is, if a passenger car can run on it, your ATV should be registered and insured to be there, and you should have a valid operator's license.
Drivers must obey all traffic laws.
Those with Arizona driver licenses must have an "M" endorsement to operate a 3-wheeler, and for four-wheelers, a simple "D" or regular driver license is required. However, to obtain a "D" license, you'll have to 18-years or older. Out of state license holders need a motorcycle endorsement to operate a three-wheeler.
Anyone under 18 must where a helmet while on an ATV; EVERYONE on an ATV must where eye protection.
Passengers can be carried on an ATV ONLY if the rig is manufacturer-designed for passengers.
Operating an ATV while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal ANYWHERE in Arizona. You can be cited/arrested even on a back country trail for violation of the law.
Each agency that manages public land has its own rules, regulations and laws to enforce. Rules and laws change. Before using public lands, you're wise to check with the local land management agency office about rules and requirements. Keep current about changes in OHV regulations.
Most areas restrict OHV use to established roads and trails. Some areas have seasonal closures because of wet roads or wildlife breeding or nesting areas.
Getting an ATV registered in Arizona requires this equipment:
A minimum or one hand or foot operated brake.
A brake light.
A minimum of two headlights which must shine at least 500 feet forward.
At least one tail light visible a minimum of 500 feet to the rear.
A rear mounted license plate, which must be illuminated.
A horn audible to a minimum of 200 feet.
A continuously operating muffler in good working order. Cutouts and bypasses are illegal.
A rear view mirror.
Seat and footrests for the operator.
A cap on the fuel tank.
Be aware: The "Off-Road" plate on your ATV is only an indication that the ATV has been titled in the State of Arizona. It is NOT a registration plate and does not allow you to ride on roads that require your vehicle to be registered.
Want to Learn More?
The ATV RiderCourse
Developed by the ATV Safety Institute, the ATV RiderCourse provides hands-on training in the basic techniques for riding an all-terrain vehicle. The course also covers protective gear, local laws, finding places to ride, and environmental concerns. If you bought your ATV after December 30,1986, you may be eligible for free training. Those not eligible for the free training may take the course for a small fee. The ATV RiderCourse is available nationwide. To sign up call: 1-800-887-2887
Off-Highway Motorcycle Training
T.E.A.M. Arizona (480) 998-9888
T.E.A.M. Arizona conducts basic rider training for dirt bikes.
Arizona State Association of Four-Wheel Drive Clubs (602)-258-4BY4
The ASA4WDC sponsors safety clinics that teach the basics of 4WD.
photo: alfonso beneyas on flickr.com