The Handbook of Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Laws
The Official Off-roading Handbook of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources - Web Version
Table of Contents
ORV Operation Regulations
If your license to operate an automobile has been suspended or revoked (regardless of the state where the suspension originated), you may not operate an off-road vehicle in Michigan until the suspension or revocation has been terminated by the court.
An ORV operator must stop upon the signal of a law enforcement officer.
On private property, an ORV operator must stop upon the signal of a landowner.
In addition to restrictions on state-owned lands and other violations previously noted, ORV operation is prohibited:
- In any forest nursery or planting area
- On a DNR-dedicated natural area
- In any area in a manner that would injure, damage, or destroy trees or growing crops
- In any area in a manner that creates an erosive condition
- On or across a cemetery or burial ground, or land used as an airport
- Within 100 feet of a dwelling at a speed greater than the minimum speed necessary for controlled forward movement except when operating on private property or on designated routes, trails, areas, or access routes
- On lands of another without permission
- Within 100 feet of a slide, ski, or skating area
- On a DNR–designated snowmobile trail located in the Lower Peninsula unless it's also designated for ORV use
- On any operating or non-abandoned railroad or railroad right-of-way, or public utility right-of-way, (except to cross at a designated railroad crossing)
- In or upon the waters of any stream, river, bog, wetland, marsh, or quagmire
ORV operation is prohibited in public hunting areas during the regular November firearm deer season, from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., except for these cases:
- Going to or from a residence or hunting camp that is inaccessible by a conventional vehicle (subject to state land regulations)
- On private property, with landowner's permission
- Passenger vehicles while being operated on roads capable of sustaining automobile traffic
- Persons holding a "Permit to Hunt From a Standing Vehicle" or otherwise meeting disability requirements (see "Persons With Disabilities") while engaged in hunting or fishing activity
An ORV may not be operated on any public highway, street, or right-of-way, except:
- To cross at right angles after a complete stop (not on limited access highways)
- For ORVs also registered as motor vehicles under the Michigan Vehicle Code
- In a special event held under a government permit
ORVs may be operated on a roadway in accordance with a locally enacted ordinance. ORV riders are encouraged to contact the appropriate local political subdivision to obtain ordinance specifics.
An ORV may not be operated:
- At a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and proper based on existing conditions.
- In a careless manner without due regard for existing conditions.
- In a manner that leaves behind litter or debris.
- To hunt, pursue, harass, or attempt to kill any animal or bird.
- While transporting a strung, uncased bow or an uncased or loaded firearm unless:
- The firearm is a pistol (concealed or not) and…
- The person transporting the pistol or carrying a loaded pistol has a Concealed Pistol License or is exempt from the license requirement.
- While transporting or possessing an alcoholic beverage that is open or uncapped (seal has been broken).
- While under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- While visibly impaired due to alcohol or a controlled substance.
- While transporting a passenger unless the vehicle has been designed by the manufacturer to carry passengers. Even while operating on the frozen surfaces of public waters, you may not carry passengers unless the ORV is designed for the number of people riding it.
- While the operator is under a court suspension or revocation of ORV or automobile operating rights.
- When the ORV is unlicensed.