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Governor signs bills expanding access for off-road vehicles

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013

LANSING, Mich. - Local governments may now seek permission from the state Department of Transportation (MDOT) to allow off-road recreational vehicles (ORV) on the shoulders of state roads where necessary to connect existing ORV networks after Gov. Rick Snyder signed three bills into law today. Local governments across the entire state also will now have the option of opening their own roads to such access.

“These measures will make it easier to enjoy off-road vehicles in our state, and will enhance tourism in Pure Michigan,” Snyder said.

House Bill 4284, sponsored by state Rep. Joel Johnson, establishes criteria and deadlines for MDOT's consideration of these requests. The bill also lets the department decide whether to allow ORV shoulder riding on designated highways (not including Interstates), and establish criteria for designating highways. It is now Public Act 117 of 2013.

HB 4299, sponsored by state Rep. Jon Bumstead, allows all 83 Michigan counties to seek ORV road access. Formerly only select counties in northern Michigan had the privilege. The bill also contains numerous requirements for safe operation of ORVs, including considering ORV operators negligent if involved in an accident with a traditional road vehicle. It is now PA 118.

Senate Bill 50, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Casperson, expands the current list of activities where an ORV license is not required, provides interstate ORV license reciprocity, allows the Department of Natural Resources to establish free riding days, and allows the department to exempt certain events from needing a permit. It is now PA 119.

Visit for more information on these bills.