Guide to the ATV and UTV Laws in Oregon

Continuing in our series of articles analyzing the ATV laws in every state, which stemmed from this article, we are addressing the ATV laws in Oregon in this article.  While we travel to Oregon all the time to visit family, we don’t get much time to go four wheeling while we are there.  With that in mind, I reached out to our friend Roni Schrick at Oregon Coast Power Sports. who provided amazing guidance on all the laws you will want to know if you are going to be operating an ATV or UTV in Oregon.  It should also be noted that, while I am an attorney, I am not your attorney and am not giving legal advice.  If you have questions, you should consult a local attorney.

What Vehicles are Considered by Oregon to be an ATV?

Oregon law considers all vehicles intended for off highway use to be all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). Oregon categorizes ATVs into four classes:

  1. Class I ATV – Class I ATVs are what we commonly refer to as ATVs.  Oregon labels them as quads and 3-wheelers.  Oregon further defines them as vehicles 50 inches wide or less, with a dry weight of 1,200 pounds or less (check the weight of most ATVs).  Class I ATVs use handlebars for steering, have a seat designed to be straddled, and travel on three or more pneumatic tires that are 6″ or more in width and have wheels with a rim diameter 14″ or less.
  2. Class II ATV – Class II ATVs are not what I would typically consider ATVs.  These are more commonly called Jeeps, Sand Rails or SUVs.  Oregon further defines a Class II ATV as a vehicle that weighs more than or is wider than a Class I ATV , is not a Class IV ATV (side by side), and is actually being driven off road.  Basically, these are your cars and trucks that you take off roading.  We will not be discussing these in this article.
  3. Class III ATV – Class III ATVs are what most people call dirt bikes.  Oregon defines them as vehicles that travel on two tires  We will also not be discussing these in this article.
  4. Class IV ATV – Class IV ATVs are more commonly called UTVs or side-by-sides.  Oregon defines them as a vehicle that is 65″ wide or less at its widest point, has a dry weight of 1,800 pounds or less, has nonstraddle seating, has a steering wheel for steering control, and travels on four or more pneumatic tires that are six inches or more in width and have wheels with a rim diameter 14″ or less.

oregon atv laws


Do you need to Title or Register an ATV or UTV in Oregon?

The Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services (DMV) does not require titling or registering Class I, II, III or IV ATVs used solely off-road. However, Class II and III ATVs used both off-road and on regular roads are required to be titled and registered. The DMV offers optional titles, without registration, for Class I, II and III ATVs used solely off-road.

Even though it is not a legal requirement in Oregon, we highly recommended to have all of your ATVs titled.  Not only is a title often required to finance or insure an ATV, a title also establishes legal ownership and assists police in the recovery of lost or stolen vehicles. Obtaining a title also helps you to avoid purchasing a stolen ATV, and is one of our key tips you should read if you are buying a used ATV.

Do you need Insurance on your ATV in Oregon?

Insurance is not required for Class I, III, or IV ATVs used solely off-road. Oregon’s mandatory insurance law requires insurance for all Class II ATVs. While insurance is not a legal requirement in Oregon, it may make sense for you to have insurance on your ATV to protect yourself, the vehicle, and others if an accident does occur.

Do you need a Permit or Driver’s License to Operate an ATV in Oregon?

In Oregon, you must have an operating permit for the ATV and an Operator Permit for the individual driving the ATV.  You do not have to have a driver’s license to operate an ATV; however, anyone with a suspended or revoked driver’s license may not operate any ATV in Oregon.

Operating permits are required for all ATVs riding off-road on public land. OPRD manages the ATV Permit Program and sells permits online at and through more than 170 permit agents statewide. A current permit agent list can be found at  The operating permit is a sticker placed on an ATV that is required for accessing designated lands open to the public.

An Operator Permit is a card signifying successful completion of an OHV safety class and is mandatory for anyone driving an ATV in Oregon.  It is also call an Oregon ATV Safety Education Card.

Does Oregon recognize an out-of-state operator permit?  A valid ATV Safety Education Card issued by the resident state will be honored in Oregon in lieu of the Oregon ATV Safety Education Card if that state honors Oregon’s card.  Likewise, an ATV Operating Permit issued in another state is honored in Oregon if the issuing state also honors an Oregon ATV Operating Permit.

As of October 2017, Oregon honors permits from the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington.

These states currently have an OHV registration program that can issue a plate or a decal (or both) that serves as their ATV permit to operate on or off-road.  Oregon recognizes other states’ OHV plates or ATV permits in lieu of the Oregon ATV permit when operating off-road.

atv law

What Training Requirements are Required to Operate an ATV in Oregon?

As mentioned above, all operators of an ATV or side by side on public lands in Oregon must have an Oregon ATV Safety Education Card.  Operators of an ATV in Oregon must complete an online training course to obtain the card.  The training course can be found at, and it covers the following: laws and rules; rider readiness; safe riding techniques; safety tips for riding in Oregon’s dunes, desert and forests; trail etiquette; writing ethics; and environmental concerns.  In the event you do not have internet access, or a public library, you can call 877-7SAFELY (877-772-3359) to request a Correspondence Course.

While operators of all ages must complete the online training, hands-on training is required for all youth under 16 years of age that will be operating an ATV or side-by-side on public lands. Hands-on Training refers to an ATV rider course provided by a trained and certified instructor and which assumes no previous ATV knowledge or skills.  You can go to to find a hands-on course.   If you have just purchased a new ATV, a free manufacturer hands-on training may come with your purchase. If you aren’t sure, call the ATV Safety Institute (ASI) (800-887-2887) and they will check your ATV’s VIN to see if it qualifies.

What if a youth is already trained? Youth who have already received hands-on training via ASI or MSF and have completed the online safety training can get a new, endorsed ATV Safety Education Card at no cost.  You simply need to send in a copy of the card provided by the hands-on instructor with an application.

What Requirements are there for Youth ATV Operators?

Oregon has a number of restrictions when it comes to youth ATV operators.  First, as mentioned above, any operator under the age of 16 must complete hands-on training.  In addition to the training, any youth under the age of 16 must be supervised by an adult when they are operating an ATV.  The supervisor must be at least 18 years of age, hold a valid ATV Safety Education Card, and be able to provide immediate direction and assistance to the youth operator.

Any ATV operator or passenger under the age of 18 is required to wear a DOT-approved motorcycle helmet with the chin strap fastened.  Check out our favorite helmet in the reccommended gear to see a great combination of comfort, protection and value.

Oregon only permits a youth under the age of 16 to operate an ATV that is appropriate for their size.  This is referred to as “rider fit,” which is a set of physical or visual measurements that a youth under the age of 16 must attain to legally operate a UTV or ATV.  Rider fit for a quad incorporates the following requirements:

  • Brake Reach: With hands placed in the normal operating position and fingers straight out, the first joint (from the tip) of the middle finger will extend beyond the brake lever and clutch.
  • Leg Length: While the operator is sitting and with feet on the pegs, the knee must be bent at least 45 degrees.
  • Grip Reach: While the operator is sitting upright on the quad with hands on the handlebars and not leaning forward, there must be a distinct angle between the upper arm and the forearm. Also, the operator must be able to turn the handlebars from lock to lock while maintaining grip on the handlebars and maintaining throttle and brake control.

Disabled operators are allowed to use prosthetic devices or modified or adaptive equipment to achieve Rider Fit.  There is also an exemption to the Rider Fit requirements for operators using ATVs exclusively for farming, agriculture, forestry, nursery, or Christmas tree growing operations and being used on lands owned or leased by the owner of the vehicle.

Additionally, youth under the age of 16 operating a side-by-side must meet the manufacturer’s age recommendation to legally operate the vehicle in Oregon.  Rider Fit for side by sides is addressed below on the laws specific to those vehicles.

What ATV Equipment is Required in Oregon?

Oregon has a number of specific requirements for equipment that your ATV must be equipped with.  While most are pretty standard, there are some specifications that are stricter than other states, so you will want to make sure you review everything listed below.

  • Operating Permit.  This was discussed above, but your ATV must have the sticker displayed showing that you have a permit for the ATV.
  • USFS Approved Spark Arrester.  The spark arrester is common on most ATVs, but you will want to make sure it hasn’t been removed if you purchase a used ATV.  For advice on how to check for the spark arrester, check out our used ATV buying guide.
  • Muffler under 99db.  While your ATV should have a muffler, you need to have it tested to make sure it isn’t too loud.  There is information below on how to test your muffler.  You should also be aware that some of the sand dune areas in Oregon require the muffler be set between 93 and 97 db.
  • Flag.  A flag is required only when you are operating the ATV on sand at places such as Sand Lake, Oregon Dunes and Christmas Valley.  The flag must be red or orange and be highly visible.  It must be displayed at least nine feet above the ground, be at least 8 inches wide and 12 inches long.
  • Foot Pads or Floor Plans.  If you have a UTV, it must be equipped with a floor plan.  If you have a quad, it must be equipped with foot pads or something equivalent in usage.  They must be designed and mounted to keep the occupant’s feet within the frame, or away from the undercarriage of the vehicle.
  • Headlights and Taillights. Headlights and taillights are only required if you are going to be riding your quad or UTV after dark.  Dark is further defined as the time between one half hour after sunset and one half hour after sunrise.
  • Fire Extinguisher.  Fire extinguishers are only required for side by sides, not for quads.  The fire extinguisher must be a functional dry chemical type fire extinguisher with at least two pounds capacity that is approved by the Underwriters Laboratories or other acceptable testing agency.
  • Brakes.  Hopefully, you wouldn’t ride an ATV that didn’t have brakes, but Oregon law specifies that your ATV must be equipped with disc or drum brakes that are operable and effective.
  • Chain Guard. If you have an ATV equipped with a chain, you must have a guard designed to keep the chain under the vehicle if the chain fails.
  • Fuel Tank.  Your ATV’s fuel tank must be securely mounted, be constructed of metal, plastic or other approved material, and be properly constructed for carrying fuel.
  • Roll Bar.  Obviously, you don’t need a roll bar on your quad, but you will need one if you have a side by side.  The roll bar, or alternative enclosure, must be sufficient to support the vehicle’s weight and protect the occupants’ heads if the vehicle were to be resting on the roll bar or enclosure.
  • Seats.  Your ATV must have  a securely mounted seat for the driver and any passengers.
  • Seat Belts. You do not need a seat belt on a quad, but all side by sides must have securely mounted, quick-release seat belts for the driver and every passenger.
  • Windshield Wipers.  If your ATV has a windshield, it must also have a working windshield wiper.

Can you ride two-up (double) on an ATV? You can ride with an ATV passenger in Oregon only if the ATV has a second seat and a floor pan or foot pegs for the passenger.  Moreover, the Oregon statutes specify that a passenger cannot be in the operator’s lap or embrace.

Where can you get your ATV’s muffler sound-tested to make sure it’s not too loud? Most land managers at designated riding areas have a sound meter. Contact them the next time you plan on visiting the area. You can also find their contact information in the contacts section below.  Additionally, many OHV clubs also have sound meters and checks are often conducted at OHV events.

atv laws oregon

What Laws are Specific to Side by Side or UTVs in Oregon?

While most of the UTV-specific laws have already been addressed, there are a few more below that you should be aware of if you are operating a side by side in Oregon.

  • Unlike quads, you must have a valid driver’s license to operate a side by side in Oregon, unless he manufacturer recommendations specifically allows for operators of younger ages.  For those UTV models designed for youth operators, you must be in compliance with the minimum age recommendation noted on the manufacturer’s warning label affixed to the vehicle.
  • Like with ATVs, there is a Rider Fit requirement for those under the age of 16 that are operating side by sides.  It consists of the following:
    • Leg Length: While sitting in the normal operating position and the safety restraints securely fastened around the operator, the operator’s feet must be able to fully operate all foot controls.
    • Arm Length: While sitting in the normal operating position and the safety restraints securely fastened around the operator, the operator’s hands must be able to fully operate all hand controls.
  • Equipment requirements are covered above

Where can you Ride your ATV in Oregon?

Oregon has several restrictions about where ATVs can be driven, but these laws are not applicable when operating an ATV on private property that is not open to the public.

In Oregon, ATVs (including UTVs) cannot be street legal.  Paved roads and two-lane gravel roads are generally closed to ATVs unless posted otherwise. However, gravel roads one and one-half lane wide or less are generally open to ATVs.  The exception is that on U.S. Forest Service lands, where all roads are closed unless posted open (as shown on their specific Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM)). You should check out our guide to riding on federal lands, and contact the local land manager for specifics.  You cannot turn at a crossroads and drive down a road closed to ATV use, and you may not operate your ATV on the shoulder of a paved road.

Oregon has a wide variety of places to ride, including sand, desert and forest areas.  Riding areas are managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), counties and non-profit organizations.
The USFS is currently designating trails and open areas for OHV riding. Once the planning process is complete, the managing agency will print Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs) showing designated roads, trails and open areas. These maps will be available from their offices.   Wilderness areas are closed to all mechanized vehicles, including ATVs.

Given the beautiful beaches along the Oregon Coast, it is not surprising that beach riding is desirable. Riding ATVs on the Oregon beaches is allowed, but only at designated motorized vehicle sites. The two main places where beach riding is actually permitted are Sand Lake and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The speed limit on Oregon’s beaches is 25 mph, which admittedly is a bummer, but understandable for non-rider safety.

ATV riding areas in Oregon are designated by ATV route systems, which means that ATV use is limited to designated trails and roads. However, exceptions do exist as cross-country travel is allowed in some areas. These areas are sometimes found in “play areas,” dunes or high desert range land. If you have questions, you should contact the land manager for specific regulations.

Can you get your ATV Street Legal in Oregon?

Can your quad or side-by-side become street legal? No. They do not meet federal highway emission standards, do not have the proper equipment and cannot be retrofitted with equipment to become street legal.  License plates issued to ATVs from other states are not valid for street legal use in Oregon.  That is a common scam run by internet companies that claim to be able to get you a street legal ATV.  It doesn’t work, as we discussed in our guide on street legal ATVs.

ATV Laws for Hunting in Oregon

ATVs are popular tools for hunters. Hunters must follow the same rules as other ATV operators. This includes displaying an ATV operating permit, carrying an ATV Safety Education Card, observing the same training and equipment requirements, adhering to sound level regulations and riding only on designated routes.  This can make things difficult as scouting and retrieving game must be done on designated trails and roads. Harvested game must be carried by hand to a road or trail and then taken by ATV or UTV.

While you can use your ATV to pack out an animal, Oregon law prohibits hunting or harassing animals from an ATV or passenger vehicle. The only exception is if you are a qualified disabled hunter and have obtained an “Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit” to hunt from a motor-propelled vehicle.  Even with the exception, you may not shoot while the vehicle is in motion or on any public road or highway, or within Cooperative Travel Management Areas as per General Hunting Regulations published by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

guide to atv laws in oregon

What ATV Violations will you get Cited for in Oregon?

There are a number of citations you can get for violating Oregon laws while operating an ATV.  A non-exhaustive list is below:

Class A Traffic Violations:

  • Permitting dangerous operation of ATV
  • Owner allows underage or intoxicated driver
  • Operating motor vehicle on closed sections of the ocean shore

Class B Traffic Violations:

  • Unlawful operation of an ATV on highway or railroad
  • Operating ATV in posted restricted area
  • Committing unlawful damage
  • Dangerous operation of ATV
  • Operating ATV with loaded firearm

Class C Traffic Violations:

  • Operating ATV without the required equipment
  • Operating improperly equipped ATV
  • Operating ATV without off-road permit
  • Operating ATV without driving privileges
  • Hunting or harassing animals from ATV
  • Operating an ATV without proper lighting

Class D Traffic Violations:

  • Failure to carry out-of-state ATV permit
  • Failure to wear helmet on ATV if under 18
  • Endangering ATV rider or passenger under 18 who is riding w/o helmet
  • Parent allows child under 16 to operate ATV without ATV Safety Education Card, or the child is not supervised.
  • Treble damages for damage to property (Owner of vehicle liable to 3x value of trees, shrubs, crops or other property damaged as result of travel of vehicle.)
  • Driving while driving privileges are suspended or revoked
  • Driving with an open container of alcohol
  • Operation of ATV with obstructing passenger
  • DUII

Important Contacts

Bureau of Land Management (BLM):

Oregon-Washington Region Public Room- 503-808-6001

Baker Field Office -541-523-1256

Burns District -541-573-4400

Coos Bay District -541-756-0100

Lakeview District Office – 541-947-2177

Klamath Falls Field Office -541-883-6916

Prineville District Office -541-416-6700

Medford District Office – 541-618-2200

Northwest Oregon District – 503-375-5616

Roseburg District Office – 541-440-4930

Vale District Office – 541-473-3144

Tillamook Field Office – 503-815-1100

U.S. Forest Service (USFS):

Pacific Northwest Region – 503-808-2468

Deschutes National Forest – 541-383-5300

Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District – 541-383-4000

Crescent Ranger District – 541-433-3200

Sisters Ranger District – 541-549-7700

Lava Lands Visitor Center – 541-593-2421

Ochoco National Forest – 541-416-6500

Crooked River National Grassland – 541-416-6640

Fremont-Winema National Forests – 541-947-2151

Malheur National Forest – 541-575-3000

Blue Mountain Ranger District – 541-575-3000

Prairie City Ranger District – 541-820-3311

Emigrant Creek Ranger District – 541-573-4300

Mt. Hood National Forest – 503-668-1700

Barlow Ranger District – 541-467-2291

Clackamas River Ranger District – 503-630-6861

Hood River Ranger District – 541-352-6002

Zigzag Ranger District  503-622-3191

Medford Interagency Office – 541-618-2200

Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District – 541-552-2900

Wild Rivers Ranger District – 541-592-4000

Wild Rivers Ranger District Grants Pass Interagency Office -541-471-6500

Powers Ranger District – 541-439-6200

Gold Beach Ranger District – 541-247-3600

Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District – 541-899-3800

High Cascades Ranger District – 541-865-2700

Galice Ranger District – 541-471-6500

Illinois Valley Ranger District – 541-592-4000 – 541-560-3400

Siuslaw National Forest- 541-750-7000

Hebo Ranger District – 503-392-5100

Central Coast Ranger District – 541-563-8400

Cape Perpetua Visitor Center – 541-547-3289

Oregon Dunes NRA Visitor Center – 541-271-6000

Umatilla National Forest – 541-278-3716

Heppner Ranger District – 541-676-9187

Walla Walla Ranger District – 509-522-6290

North Fork John Day Ranger District – 541-427-3231

Umpqua National Forest – 672-6601 541-957-3495

Cottage Grove Ranger District – 541-767-5000

Diamond Lake Ranger District – 541-498-2531

North Umpqua Ranger District – 541-496-3532

Tiller Ranger Station – 541-825-3201

Wallowa-Whitman National Forest – 541-523-6391

La Grande Ranger District – 541-963-7186

Wallowa Valley Ranger District and Hells Canyon NRA – 541-426-5546

Willamette National Forest – 541-225-6300

Detroit Ranger District – 503-854-3366

Sweet Home Ranger District – 541-367-5168

McKenzie River Ranger District – 541-822-3381

Middle Fork Ranger District – 541-782-2283

Brent Huntley

Brent Huntley is the owner of ATV Man and is responsible for almost all the material on the website. He also runs and loves to travel and ride ATVs with his family. When he isn't playing, his day job consists of owning Huntley Law.

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