Public Act 240 Information

Specific rules from county to county may vary. It is every ORV user's responsibility to know the date of implementation, which roads may be open to ORV travel, ORV speed limits or other details associated with each county and their respective ordinances. GET LOCAL INFORMATION BEFORE RIDING!


Now that Public Act 240 is law, does that mean I can now operate an ORV on the road?

No. You may not operate your ORV on a public street or road until your county, city, village or township adopts an ordinance allowing it.

What roads are covered?

County and municipal roads and streets. State and federal highways, roads and trails are not included.

What counties may open their roads to ORVs?

Only counties in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula may open their roads to ORVs. This includes Mason, Lake, Osceola, Clare, Gladwin, Arenac, Bay and any county to the north of those counties. Roughly, this is any county including or north of M-10. Huron, Midland and Isabella are not included.

Are existing county ORV ordinances still valid?

The law providing for access routes established with the consent of the DNR or unilaterally established by some counties is repealed. Consequently, local governments must re-adopt ordinances under the new law if they wish to provide for the operation of ORVs on their roads or streets.

Does the bill include golf carts?



What is the process for adopting a county ORV ordinance?

The county clerk must send notice of a public hearing on a proposed ordinance by certified mail to the county road commission and to the DNR (only is state forestland is located in the county) at least 45 days before the public hearing held by the county board of commissioners. However, the county board of commissioners is not obligated to abide by any recommendation of the county road commission or the DNR in adopting an ordinance.

What authority does the county road commission have?

A county road commission may close up to 30% of the linear miles of roads in the county to ORVs in response to a particular and demonstrable threat to public safety or to protect the environment. The 30% applies to the total linear miles of county roads, not 30% of the linear miles of roads open to ORVs.

What authority do cities, villages and townships have?

A city or village may open or close its streets to ORVs at any time. No notification to other agencies or units of government is required. A township may close its streets or roads to the operation of ORVs that were opened by the township or county at any time with no notification to other agencies or units of government. If the county does not adopt an ORV ordinance including a particular township, that township may adopt its own ORV ordinance no sooner than 1 year following the effective date of the act. Notification is the same as required of the county except that the notification period is shortened to 30 days.

What liability do local governments have?

Local governments do not have a duty to maintain roads or streets in a condition safe and convenient for the operation of ORVs except as otherwise required by law. Local governments are immune from tort liability except for gross negligence (conduct so reckless as to demonstrate a substantial lack of concern for whether an injury results).

What is the ORV fund?

The treasurer of the local unit of government adopting an ORV ordinance shall establish a fund to receive fines and damages imposed as a result of violations of the ordinance. The legislative body of that local unit shall appropriate 50% of the revenue in the fund to the county sheriff or local police department for ORV enforcement and training. The legislative body of that local unit shall appropriate the remaining 50% to the county road commission or local public works office (city and village only) for repairing damage to the environment, roads, streets or other public property caused by ORVs and/or to post signs indicating ORV speed limits or whether a road or street is open or closed to ORVs.


What are the general operating standards?

Operation must be to the far right of the maintained portion of the road or street. An ORV may not be operated against the flow of traffic. The maximum speed of operation is 25 mph unless a lower speed limit has been posted. An ORV may not interfere with other traffic on the road or street. ORVs must travel single file except when passing.

Are headlights/taillights required to operate an ORV on a road or street?

Prior to January 1, 2010 a person must display a lighted headlight and taillight when visibility is reduced. Beginning January 1, 2010, any ORV operating on the road at any time must display a lighted headlight and taillight.

What are the permitted hours of operation?

Operation is permitted at all hours. A lighted headlight and taillight must be used from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.

How old does a child have to be to operate an ORV on a road?

A person under age 12 may not operate an ORV on a street or road. A child age 12, 13, 14 and 15 may operate an ORV on a road under the direct visual supervision of an adult and has in their immediate possession and ORV safety certificate. Children younger than 16 may not operate a 3-wheeled ORV or an ORV wider than 60" on a road. A child age 16 or 17 may operate without direct visual supervision provided they have a valid drivers license and an ORV safety certificate in their possession. Michigan will recognize an ORV safety certificate issued by other state or a province of Canada.

Who is at fault in the event of an accident?

In the event an ORV is in an accident with another vehicle legally permitted to operate on the road or street, the owner of the ORV shall be considered prima facia negligent. The owner of an ORV does not qualify for no-fault/PIP benefits in the event of a single vehicle accident or an accident with another ORV.

What is the penalty for violating an ORV ordinance?

The penalty is a municipal civil infraction with a fine of not more than $500 and/or damages to repair any damage to the environment, street, road or other public property. The fine and damages shall be deposited into a local ORV fund.

What is the penalty for creating an erosive condition or violating state environmental law?

The penalty is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days and/or a fine of not less than $250 or more than $1000 for each violation.