Snowmobiles, Off-Highway Motorcycles and All Purpose Vehicles

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Regulations for the operation of snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles and all purpose vehicles

Chapter 4519 of the Ohio Revised Code defines and provides for the registration of snowmobiles and all purpose vehicles, establishes standards and operating regulations of such vehicles, and provides for the development of trails and special areas for the operation of snowmobiles and APV's on state-controlled land and waters.  The law regarding APV's applies equally to off-highway motorcycles.

Regulations require the registration of snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles and all purpose vehicles every three years, and the annual registration of dealers who sell or furnish these vehicles for hire.

DEFINITIONS         Top of Article
Ohio law defines "snowmobile" as a self-propelled vehicle steered by skis, runners or caterpillar treads and designed to be used principally on snow or ice.  A motor vehicle dealers license is NOT required in order to sell these types of vehicles.

An "all purpose vehicle" is any self-propelled vehicle steered by wheels or caterpillar treads, or a combination of both designed primarily for cross-country travel on land and water or on more than one type of terrain.  The definition of an APV includes vehicles known as all-terrain vehicles, all-season vehicles, mini-bikes, trail bikes and vehicles that operate on a cushion of air.

"Off-highway motorcycle" means every motorcycle, as defined in section 4511.01 of the Revised Code, that is designed to be operated primarily on lands other that a street or highway.  A motor vehicle dealers license IS required in order to sell these types of vehicles.

The definition excludes those vehicles not principally used for the purpose of personal transportation, any motor vehicle used primarily in playing golf, and any vehicle excepted from the existing definition of a motor vehicle.  A motor vehicle dealers license is NOT required in order to sell these types of vehicles.

Snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles and all purpose vehicles must be properly registered with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or Local Deputy Registrar.  A five dollar ($5.00) registration fee and a three dollar and fifty cent ($3.50) issuing fee is collected for the issuance of a three-year registration.  Effective July 1, 1999, an Ohio Certificate of Title must be presented to register for the first time or the transfer of registration for an off-highway motorcycle and APV.  Proof of ownership for a renewal or transfer registration for a snowmobile may be verified with a dealer's bill of sale or a snowmobile/moped affidavit from (BMV5706).  Any deputy registrar is able to issue registration certificates, transfer certificates and changes of owner's address certificates.

Registration certificates for snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles, all purpose vehicles, minibikes, and trail bikes are accompanied by an alphanumeric decal to be applied to the vehicle.  The registration is valid for three years.  The original registration number for all vehicles is permanent and must remain with the vehicle.

All registrations expire on December 31, in the third year after the date of issuance.   Application for renewal of a registration may be made no earlier than ninety (90) days prior to expiration.

This number must be displayed so as to be plainly visible.

Every owner or operator of a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle or all purpose vehicle who is a resident of a state not having registration law similar to Ohio's and who expects to use the snowmobile or all purpose vehicle in Ohio, shall apply to a deputy registrar for a temporary operating permit.  The temporary operating permit shall be issued for a period not to exceed fifteen (15) days from the date of issuance, and shall include the name and address of the owner and operator of the snowmobile or all purpose vehicle, and such other information as the registrar considers necessary.  There is a registration fee of five dollars ($5.00), and a three dollar and fifty cent ($3.50) issuing fee.   Every owner or operator receiving a temporary operating permit shall display the same upon the reasonable request of any law enforcement officer or other authorized person.

OPERATOR LICENSING         Top of Article
In Ohio, only a person who holds a current valid motor vehicle operator license, commercial driver's license, probationary license or a motorcycle endorsement may operate a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle or APV on any street or highway, on any portion of the right-of-way thereof, or on any public land or waters, as provided for under the laws of Ohi0.  The law prohibits the operation of such vehicles by persons less than sixteen (16) years of age, on land that is not private property owned by or leased to their parents or guardian, unless accompanied by a licensed motor vehicle operator who is at least eighteen (18) years of age.  The law permits the Department of Natural Resources to allow minors between the ages of twelve (12) and sixteen (16) to operate snowmobiles and APV's without a license on state controlled land under its jurisdiction if accompanied by a parent or guardian who is a licensed motor vehicle operator, eighteen (18) years of age or older.

Section 4519.46 requires the operator of any snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle or APV involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury or death, or property damage in excess of one hundred dollars ($100.00) to make a report within forty-eight (48) hours to the State Highway Patrol or to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the area in which the accident occurred, and to forward a written report within (30) days to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

OPERATING REGULATIONS         Top of Article
Ohio law requires that all pertinent provisions of the motor vehicle traffic laws and of the laws prohibiting specified offenses relating to motor vehicles, applies to the operation of snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles, and APV's.

Authorization is given to utilize snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles and all APV's to be used;
1. To cross a highway other than a limited access highway or freeway;
2. On county and township highways whenever approved by those having jurisdictional authority over them;
3. Off and alongside streets or highways from the place of unloading the vehicle to the place at which it is intended and authorized to be used;
4. On the berm or shoulder of any highway, other than a limited access highway, or freeway when the terrain is such that the vehicle can be used safely;
5. On the berm or shoulder of a county or township road when traveling from one area of operation to another.

The operation of such vehicles is prohibited under the following conditions;
1. On any limited access highway or freeway or the right of way thereof;
2. On any private property without special permission of owner or in any nursery or planting area;
3. On any state-controlled land or waters except those which have been posted as permitting snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles or APV's;
4. On tracks or right-of-ways of any operating railroad;
5. When carrying a loaded or uncased firearm, bow or other hunting implement;
6. to chase, pursue, capture or kill any animal or wildlife;
7. From sunset to sunrise, unless displaying a lighted headlight and taillight as required under equipment regulations.

Section 4519.48 preserves the right of local authorities to regulate the operation of snowmobiles, off-highw3ay motorcycles and APV's on streets and highways and other public property under their jurisdiction, but prohibits them from requiring the registration of such vehicles on a lo9cal basis.

The law provides penalties similar to those imposed for the related offenses involving motor vehicles,for violations of registration, equipment or operating requirements.

Persons who are found guilty of violating the rules and regulations pertaining to the operation of snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles and all purpose vehicles as contained therein are subject to a fine and/or the loss of their vehicles registration for a period of sixty(60) days.  In such cases, the court is required to forward the certificate of registration to the Registrar who is to retain it until the expiration of the impoundment.

Starting July 1, 1999 all dealer sales of APV's and off-highway motorcycles are required to be titled in the purchasers name.  Any Ohio resident that purchases a APV or off-highw3ay motorcycle and intends to apply for registration to use the vehicle on Federal, State or County parklands must already have an Ohio title prior to applying for registration.  contact your local Clerk of Courts title office for further information.

DEALERS        Top of Article
Dealers of snowmobiles, APV's and off-highway motorcycles, not defined as motor vehicles  (see definitions section), are not required to be a licensed dealer, but are required to register each place of business with the BMV, Dealer Licensing Section.  Upon receipt of a completed application, BMV 4307, and payment of the plate fee, license plate and 3 year registration sticker will be issued and forwarded to the applicant. [ORC Section 4519.06]

All dealers of off-highway motorcycles, and APV's that are defined as motor vehicles (see definitions section), mist make application, BMV 4320, meet all physical requirements, and be issued a new or used motor vehicle dealers license and plate, by the Dealer Licensing Section, in order to sell these types of vehicles.

For more information on dealer licensing, registration, applications and fees, visit
www.Ohio Auto or call 614-752-7636.

For additional information contact your local Deputy Registrar or The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 16520, Columbus, Ohio 43216-6520, (614) 752-7500.

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For More Information Contact:

Stark County Sheriff's Office
4500 Atlantic Blvd., N.E., Canton, Ohio 44705
Tel: (330) 430-3800
FAX: (330) 430-3844