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ORV Basics

The following is a summary of important highlights from the Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Law that every owner/operator is expected to know, understand and obey. The fact Sheet is provides as a service to encourage safety, awareness and responsibility.


An ORV is defined as any motor vehicle that can be operated cross-country without benefit of a road or trail over land, snow, and other natural terrain, and includes the following: 1.Multi-track and multi-wheeled vehicles, ATV's, motorcycles and related 2, 3, and 4-wheeled vehicles, amphibious machines (water to land and back), hovercraft and any other vehicles that use mechanical power, including 2 and 4-wheeled drive vehicles that are highway registered (licensed by the Secretary of State for road use), when operated off highways and roads.

ATV's are a subgroup of ORV's. An ATV is a 3 or 4-wheeled vehicle that is designed for off-road use, that has low pressure (balloon type) tires, with a seat that is designed to be straddled by the operator, powered by an engine in size from 50cc on up to 500 cc displacement.

Exemptions are registered snowmobiles, farm, construction and logging vehicles when being used in usual work practices; military, fire, emergency and law enforcement vehicles.