Off highway vehicles (OHV) have not been allowed on Colorado roads and highways for a while now. However, there was some confusion from some OHV owners when their ATV or four-wheeler was registered for on-road usage in another state. Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently signed a law that cleared up the confusion, prohibiting OHVs on public streets and highways, no matter where else they were registered.
One of the reasons for banning OHVs on Colorado roads is that these vehicles do not have many of the safety features that are required for on-highway vehicles, like seat belts and airbags. As with motorcycles, ATV riders do not have to wear helmets or eye protection, riding on or off-road, unless they are under the age of 18. This can make four wheelers and ATVs more dangerous for riders when they share the road with larger and faster vehicles.
Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Laws
Under Colorado Revised Statutes § 33-14.5-108, “no off-highway vehicle may be operated on the public streets, roads, or highways of this state.” There are very limited exceptions, including:
- Roads or highways designated by the state as open; or
- When crossing streets, roads, highways, or railroad tracks at an at-grade crossing to continue using the OHV on the other side; or
- When traversing a bridge or culvert.
These regulations also apply to riders who bring their OHVs in from other states. If a four-wheel owner from Wyoming comes out to camp and recreate in Colorado for a few weeks over the summer, the out-of-state visitor cannot ride their four wheeler on Colorado roads, even if their OHV can be driven on the streets in Wyoming.
ATV and Car Accidents
There have been fewer accidents between motor vehicles and ATVs since the state banned OHVs from public streets and roads. These accidents could be caused by the negligence of either the vehicle driver or the OHV rider, or in some cases, both. Some ATV riders treat their 4-wheeler like an off-road vehicle, even when on the road, by passing on the right, going off road to pass, or blocking traffic.
Drivers may also be driving carelessly around OHVs on the highway. This includes passing too close, tailgating, or failing to look in the driver's blind spot. Like motorcycles and cyclists, when a car and ATV collide, the ATV rider usually gets hit harder. ATV riders may not be wearing a helmet, have no airbags or seat belts for protection, and no roll-cage to protect them in a rollover accident. If the OHV is traveling at a high speed, a crash could be fatal.
OHV Injury Accidents
Wherever an OHV accident occurs, it can cause serious injuries, including permanent brain damage or physical disability. If you or a loved one was injured in an off-road accident, you may have a claim for personal injury compensation. Compensation in an injury accident can include medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Talk to your Denver accident lawyer for advice. Contact us today for a free consultation.