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Types of ATVs

States often use different terms to define Off Highway Vehicles (OHV) or All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV).

In Oregon, laws were written using the term All-Terrain Vehicle which encompasses all types of vehicles including motorcycles, 3 wheelers, quads, side-by-sides, sand rails, trucks and SUVs.

There are legal definitions for each type of vehicle and the rules can be different for each for things such as age of operator and where each type of vehicle can be driven. See below for the specific rules.

Operators with a suspended or revoked driver's license may not operate any Class of ATV.

Class I ATVs are known as four-wheelers, quads, 3-wheelers. They can be 2 or 4 wheel drive. They also include 6x6 ATVs. Polaris Ace is considered a Class IV since it has a steering wheel and seat.

Defined: ORS 801.190

  • Vehicle 50 inches wide or less

  • Dry weight of 1,200 pounds or less

  • Uses handlebars for steering;

  • Has a seat designed to be straddled for the operator

  • Travels on three or more pneumatic tires that are 6" inches or more in width and has wheels with a rim diameter 14" or less.

Vehicle requirements:

  • ATV Sticker. An ATV Operating Permit is required for your machine if you are operating it on lands open to ATV use. The price is $10 and is valid for two years. Purchase through our online store.

  • Insurance. Liability insurance is not required by for Class I vehicles but strongly encouraged to protect you from a lawsuit if you have an accident.

  • Titles. Titles are not required for Class I ATVs, but a title is often required by the bank or insurance company, to finance or insure a vehicle. Contact Driver and Motor Vehicle Services  for vehicle titling information. A title also helps prove ownership if the vehicle is stolen. Class I ATVs cannot be registered to get a license plate.

  • Equipment. Meet the safety equipment standards for off-road vehicles. Including seat and foot pegs or floor pan which protects the all rider's feet. Must also have working brakes and a secure fuel tank. Must have a flag when operating on sand and headlights and taillights when operating after dark.

  • Mufflers. Adequate  muffler to limit sound emissions to 97 db. Spark arrester during fire season.

  • Fire Season. During fire season, there may be extra restrictions on equipment and where you can drive. This depends on the land owner and the timing of the year. As a general rule, during fire season you should have a shovel and fire extinguisher for every vehicle when in the forest. You will also need a muffler and an exhaust system in good working order, which prevents sparks. Some areas will restrict use to improved roads free for vegetation. Oregon Department of Forestry.    US Forest Service, check with each forest.

Operator requirements

  • License. All operators must hold a valid ATV Safety Education Card. Operators with a suspended or revoked Driver License may not operate any Class of ATV.

  • Helmets. Youth under 18 must wear a DOT approved helmet with the chin strap fastened. ORS 821.202

  • Youth under 16:
  1. Must be supervised by an adult who is at least 18 years old and  holds a valid ATV Safety Education Card and can provide immediate assistance and direction to the children.

  2. Must meet Rider Fit rules, including arm, hand and leg length.

  3. Must also successfully complete a hands-on training course

Class II ATVs include pickup trucks, SUVs, Jeeps, rock crawl vehicles and sand rails. They may be street legal or for off-highway use only.

Defined:ORS 801.193

  • Weighs more than 1,200 pounds or is wider than 50 inches

  • Is designed for or capable of cross-country travel on or immediately over land, water, sand, snow, ice, marsh, swampland or other natural terrain

  • Is actually being operated off a highway

  • Is not a Class IV all-terrain vehicle (side-by-side)

If a side-by-side or quad does not meet the definition of their category, such as after installing tracks, then they become a Class II vehicle.

Operator requirements:

  • License. Must have a valid Driver License or Instruction Driver Permit. Operators with a suspended or revoked Driver License may not operate any Class of ATV.

  • Helmets. Youth under 18 must wear a DOT approved helmet with the chin strap fastened unless vehicle is registered (street legal) and has a roof or roll bar. ORS 821.202

  • Seat Belts. Youth under 16 must wear safety restraints in accordance with ORS 811.210, including child seats for children weighing less than 40lbs

Vehicle Requirements:

  • Insurance. Liability insurance is required by law for all Class II vehicles (ref: ORS 806.012 & 806.020). Contact your insurance company for more information.

  • Titles. Titles are required for vehicles with a registration (license plate). Vehicles without a plate, such as a sand rail or rock crawler, do not need a title, but a title is often required by the bank or insurance company, to finance or insure a vehicle. A title also helps to prove ownership if the vehicle is stolen. Contact Driver and Motor Vehicle Services for vehicle titling information.

  • Equipment. Meet the safety equipment standards for off road vehicles. Including: 2lbs. fire extinguisher, roll bar or enclosed cab, seats and seat belts for operator and all passengers, and windshield wipers. Must also have working brakes, a secure fuel tank and floor pan which protects rider's feet. Must have a flag when operating on sand and headlights and taillights when operating after dark.

  • Mufflers. Adequate  muffler to limit sound emissions to 95 db for front engine vehicles and 97 db for mid or rear engine vehicles

  • ATV Sticker. An ATV Operating Permit is required for your machine if you are operating it on lands open to ATV use. The price is $10 and is valid for two years. Purchase through our online store. If the vehicle has a license plate, it needs an ATV sticker on trails or sand dunes. If you are operating a vehicle with a valid license plate on roads which are open to passenger vehicles (such as logging roads), then you do not need a sticker.

  • Fire Season. During fire season, there may be extra restrictions on equipment and where you can drive. This depends on the land owner and the timing of the year. As a general rule, during fire season you should have a shovel and fire extinguisher for every vehicle when in the forest. You will also need a muffler and an exhaust system in good working order, which prevents sparks. Some areas will restrict use to improved roads free for vegetation. Oregon Department of Forestry.    US Forest Service, check with each forest.
Class III ATVs are 2 wheeled motorcycles. This includes dual sport (street legal) motorcycles that are used on trails.




(Photo courtesy Tom Niemela) 




Defined: ORS 801.194

  • Vehicles traveling on two tires.

  • Is actually being operated off highway.

Vehicle requirements:

  • ATV Sticker. An ATV Operating Permit is required for your machine if you are operating it on lands open to ATV use. The price is $10 and is valid for two years. Purchase through our online store.

  • Insurance. Liability insurance is not required by for Class III ATVs, unless they are street legal.

  • Titles. Titles are not required for Class III ATVs, but a title is often required by the bank or insurance company, to finance or insure a vehicle. Contact Driver and Motor Vehicle Services  for vehicle titling information. A title also helps prove ownership if the vehicle is stolen. Class III ATVs can only be registered to get a license plate if they were manufactured for highway use. Off-road motorcycles cannot be converted to be street legal.

  • Equipment. Meet the safety equipment standards for off-road vehicles. Including seat and foot pegs or floor pan which protects the all rider's feet. Must also have working brakes and a secure fuel tank. Must have a flag when operating on sand and headlights and taillights when operating after dark.

  • Mufflers. Adequate  muffler to limit sound emissions to 99 db. Spark arrester during fire season.

  • Fire Season. During fire season, there may be extra restrictions on equipment and where you can drive. This depends on the land owner and the timing of the year. As a general rule, during fire season you should have a shovel and fire extinguisher for every vehicle when in the forest. You will also need a muffler and an exhaust system in good working order, which prevents sparks. Some areas will restrict use to improved roads free for vegetation. Oregon Department of Forestry.    US Forest Service, check with each forest.

Operator requirements

  • License. All operators must hold a valid ATV Safety Education Card. Operators with a suspended or revoked Driver License may not operate any Class of ATV.

  • Helmets. Youth under 18 must wear a DOT approved helmet with the chin strap fastened. ORS 821.202

  • Youth under 16:
  1. Must be supervised by an adult who is at least 18 years old and  holds a valid ATV Safety Education Card and can provide immediate assistance and direction to the children.

  2. Must be at least 7 years old.

  3. Must also successfully complete a hands-on training course

If a ski and tracks are installed for use in the snow, then the vehicle becomes a snowmobile and needs a snowmobile title and registration.

‚Äč Class IV ATVs are commonly known as side-by-sides. Basically they have a steering wheel, non-straddle seat and roll cage.  The industry produces Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV) and Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) and they both are considered Class IV ATVs.

ROVs have a max speed of 30mph. The single seat Polaris Ace is also a Class IV.  Land managers may designate trails by width and limit side-by-sides by 50 or 65 inches due to narrow bridges or tight trees.

Defined: ORS 801.194

  • Is 80 inches wide or less at its widest point.

  • Has a dry weight of 2,500 pounds or less

  • Has non-straddle seating

  • Has a steering wheel for steering control

  • Travels on four or more pneumatic tires that are six inches or more in width and has wheels with a rim diameter 14" or less.

 

Vehicle requirements:

  • ATV Sticker. An ATV Operating Permit is required for your machine if you are operating it on lands open to ATV use. The price is $10 and is valid for two years. Purchase through our online store.

  • Insurance. Liability insurance is not required by for Class IV vehicles but strongly encouraged to protect you from a lawsuit if you have an accident.

  • Titles. Titles are not required for Class IV ATVs, but a title is often required by the bank or insurance company, to finance or insure a vehicle. Contact Driver and Motor Vehicle Services for vehicle titling information. A title also helps prove ownership if the vehicle is stolen. Class IV ATVs cannot be registered to get a license plate.

  • Equipment. Meet the safety equipment standards for off-road vehicles. Including: 2lbs. fire extinguisher, roll bar or enclosed cab, seats and seat belts for operator and all passengers, and windshield wipers. Must also have working brakes, a secure fuel tank and floor pan which protects rider's feet. Must have a flag when operating on sand and headlights and taillights when operating after dark.

  • Mufflers. Adequate  muffler to limit sound emissions to 97 db. Spark arrester during fire season.

  • Fire Season. During fire season, there may be extra restrictions on equipment and where you can drive. This depends on the land owner and the timing of the year. As a general rule, during fire season you should have a shovel and fire extinguisher for every vehicle when in the forest. You will also need a muffler and an exhaust system in good working order, which prevents sparks. Some areas will restrict use to improved roads free for vegetation. Oregon Department of Forestry.    US Forest Service, check with each forest.

Operator requirements (applies only to public OHV riding areas):

  • License. Must have a valid Driver License or Instruction Driver Permit. If under age of 16, may operate a youth machine, with ATV Safety Education Card and adult supervision. Operators with a suspended or revoked Driver License may not operate any Class of ATV.

  • Example: the Polaris RZR 170 manufacturer recommendation is for riders 10 years old and older. A youth 10 and older is allowed to operate this vehicle if that youth has been trained and has a valid ATV Safety Education Card

  • Helmets. Youth under 18 must wear a DOT approved helmet with the chin strap fastened. ORS 821.202

  • Seat Belts. Youth under 16 must wear safety restraints in accordance with ORS 821.202, including child seats for children weighing less than 40lbs.

  • Youth under 16: (unless has an Instructional Driver Permit)
  1. Must be supervised by an adult who is at least 18 years old and  holds a valid ATV Safety Education Card and can provide immediate assistance and direction to the children.

  2. Can only operate a machine that has a manufacturer recommendation for their age.

  3. Must also successfully complete a hands-on training course




 

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