Explore Arizona State ATV Laws and Regulations

Last Updated on November 20, 2023 by ATVNotes

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If you are an avid outdoor adventurer, Arizona is one of the best places to be in. From rugged terrains to desert landscapes, there are plenty of areas where you can be in for ATV adventures – unmatched fun with friends and family. In fact, most Arizona residents and visitors like exploring these places using their ATVs. But like other states popular for ATV zones, you must familiarize yourself with Arizona state ATV laws to avoid getting penalized or fined. In this article, we shall look at these laws, whether you need titles for your ATV, and mandated equipment requirements for riding an ATV, among other related facets.

What is an ATV in Arizona?

Also known as an off-highway vehicle, an ATV in Arizona refers to a motorized vehicle that can be operated on natural terrain, water, snow, and land, among other places. This includes models that have 2 to 4 wheels.

Integral Accessory/Equipment for ATV Riding

  • Muffler: with this component in place, you can keep sounds from your ATV at the bare minimum. Ideally, your ATV should produce sounds up to 96 decibels in Arizona.
  • Goggles: some ATVs need to be equipped with a windshield. In this case, the operator should have goggles so that their eyes can remain safe.
  • Lights: here, you should ensure that your ATV has both tail and headlights. These lights should be working optimally so that you can operate your ATV at night or under low-light intensities.
  • Spark Arrestor: your model should have this component in place. Ideally, the arrestor should be approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • License plate: this component should be visible from the rear section of your ATV. Moreover, it should have its light so it can be spotted even in darkness.
  • A horn: with the horn in place, you can warn or alert other riders you might meet along the way. One should hear the horn’s sound when he is 200 meters or more away from the ATV.
  • Helmet: although those who are 18 years and above are not required to wear a helmet when riding an ATV, one needs to wear snug fit helmet for security’s sake. However, if your ATV is to be ridden by children under the age of 18, there is a need for them to have a helmet so that you prevent potential head injuries in case they counter an accident.
  • Seat: both the rider and the passengers in place should have a seat where they can sit as they enjoy the ride on the ATV.
  • Safety flag: this component is instrumental when riding an ATV on sand dunes or any other designated area that might necessitate a safety flag. Ideally, the flag should be at least 6 by 12 inches. It should be attached to the OHV and flown within 8 feet above the ground surface.
  • Footrests: the rider and each passenger should have their footrests.
  • Brake Lights: your ATV model should come with one red brake light.
Arizona Street Legal ATV laws

Arizona ATV Laws and Regulations

When operating an ATV on roads, there are specific regulations imposed by the local bodies and Nevada, Utah, Michigan, Alaska, Arizona and any ATV zone are no different. So, you should adhere to the following Arizona regulations as a crucial part of the ATV laws there.

  • You should not ride your ATV recklessly, as you might damage other people’s property or cause accidents.
  • You should not remove or place any regulatory sign you find on the road.
  • You should not ride your ATV in a manner that is likely to cause damage to riparian areas, wildlife habitat, natural or cultural resources, improvements, or property.
  • You are allowed to ride your ATV on closed routes, trails, or any other related ideas if you are a hunter by profession.
  • You are not allowed to ride your ATV in a manner that is likely to cause danger to the environment.
  • You are only permitted to ride your ATV on unimproved trails, roads, routes, or any other related area if the land management agency designates them.
  • If you have to carry passengers on your ATV, ensure that you carry the correct number of passengers as your model’s manufacturer recommends. However, if your model is not designed to carry more than one person, do not carry anyone as you head for an off-road trail.
  • You are not allowed to harass or chase wildlife along the way.
  • You should ride your ATV when you are under the influence of alcohol.

Arizona ATV laws for children riding

If your child has to ride an ATV and is below 18 years old, they need to wear a helmet. The helmet should be DOT approved. When it comes to wearing the helmet, you should ensure that it is well-fitted helmet and fastened so your kid can remain safe when riding the ATV. If your child is below 16, you must supervise them. Finally, your kid has to ride an ATV that fits their size.

How to Make Your ATV Street Legal in Arizona?

If you are an avid ATV rider, you might wonder whether ATVs are street-legal in Arizona. Well, you will not have the luxury of driving your ATV on the main road in several places in Arizona. However, you can make your ATV street legal by registering your model for on-highway use.

Besides registering your ATV, you must ensure that your model is equipped with particular items. Additionally, the operator or driver should possess liability insurance.

What do you need to operate an ATV in Arizona?

Simply put, the OHV Decal is a small sticker that one must place on the upper left corner of your ATV’s license or title plate. It serves as proof that you have cleared all the necessary fees and that your ATV can freely move in Arizona. OHV Decal is meant for any vehicle that is designed by its manufacturer and possesses the following properties:

  • Has an engine power that exceeds 49cc
  • Can be used on off-road or unimproved roads
  • Weighs 1800 pounds or less.

More importantly, ensure that you obtain your OHV Decal before kick-starting your ATV registration process. Suppose you are only riding the ATV off-road, be sure to enjoy some discount during the registration process in case you have an OHV Decal.

Arizona OHV Decal

How to be Arizona’s OHV Decal law compliant

To comply with this Arizona’s OHV Decal law, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • First and foremost, establish if your ATV qualifies for OHV Decal 
  • Get a Certificate of Title for your ATV model
  • Get a license plate for your ATV model
  • Buy your OHV Decal
  • Ensure that you fix the OHV Decal on the upper left-hand side of your ATV’s license plate
  • If you want to enjoy your ride on Arizona roads, consider purchasing a legal street registration.

But there are instances when you do not comply with Arizona’s OHV Decal law and go fine with your ATV for fun and recreation. Here are the exceptions when you do not need to abide by this country’s OHV Decal law:

  • When you are unloading or loading your ATV on another vehicle
  • If you are taking part in an off-highway or off-road event
  • During an emergency or when you are operating your ATV as directed by a public safety officer or peace officer
  • If you are riding your ATV on private land.

Does a non-resident riding an ATV in Arizona need an OHV Decal? As long as you meet the following conditions, be confident that you don’t need an OHV Decal as a non-resident in Arizona:

  • Your ATV is not in Arizona for more than 30 consecutive days
  • The ATV that you are riding belongs to you
  • You are not a resident of Arizona
  • Your ATV has a current OHV Decal. Better still, if your model displays a registration from your state.

How Should I register an ATV in Arizona?

By now, you know that you need to register your ATV so your model can be street-legal. However, if you want to ride your ATV on off-highway paths or those in the non-incorporated area, be confident that you will not have to register your ATV. However, you will be required to title your ATV. Additionally, you need to ensure that you put the title plate on your ATV.

The title plate of your ATV should have a valid OHV decal that can be bought at the price of $3, which is renewable after every 12 months. Registering, titling, and purchasing the OHV Decal can be done at any MDV close to you.

Better still, these processes can be undertaken at any authorized 3rd party office close to you. Before visiting any of these premises, you should see this application form and fill it in.

To learn more about MDV, visit the site. If you register your ATV in another state other than Arizona, you will be required to buy a non-resident OHV Decal costing $25. By now, you know everything regarding the recall. 

ATV trails in Arizona


Should your ATV Have a Title in Arizona?

If you want to operate an ATV in Arizona, be sure that your model will be required to have a certificate of title to comply with Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Decal law. Since 1985, most OHVs that operate in this state have always been required to have titles. However, in 2009, this law was expanded and now accommodated all OHVs. This means that your ATV needs to have a title so that it can be compliant with the regulations of the land.

Should one have a driver license to operate an ATV in Arizona?

Well, if you have to operate an ATV in Arizona, there is a need for you to have a driving license. This applies whether you want to ride your ATV on state roads, city streets, country roads, highways, etc. Besides the paths mentioned above, you must have a license if you have to ride your ATV on BML-maintained or Forest Service roads in Arizona.

Are you allowed to operate an ATV on State Trust land in Arizona?

Well, if your ATV has a valid OHV Decal, you can operate it on State Trust Land in this country. However, you are not allowed to get into any closed sections. If you want to undertake activities other than crossing or trespassing the land, such as picnics or camping, you must buy a recreation permit.

Am I allowed to ride an ATV on public lands?

Well, if you live in Arizona, it is important to note that public land management is usually divided between BLM, US Forest Service, and other local land management agencies. In case you choose to ride your ATV in a shared land while in this state, it is imperative to note that riding in such areas depends solely on the laws and regulations set by the agency that operates that area or region.

Is there a difference between a license plate and a title plate?

Yes. The main difference between these two plates is the various roles that each one of them plays on your ATV. For instance, if your ATV has a title plate, be sure you are permitted to ride it on nearly all roads that do not require your model to be street-legal.

Therefore, you can ride it on dirt, unimproved roads, and much more. On the other hand, if your ATV has a license plate, it shows that your model is registered and is street legal.

Bottom Line

Before you start riding your ATV in Arizona, you need to know the various Arizona State ATV laws to avoid being caught on the wrong side of the law. As mentioned above, your ATV can be street legal in this country as long as your model is well registered with the Motor Vehicle Department and has the much-needed equipment such as goggles, brakes, helmets, horn, mufflers, and license plates, among others. Finally, your ATV model should have a well-displayed OHV Decal and registration plate. Please comply with the laws discussed above and be all set.

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