Code Section Group

Vehicle Code - VEH

DIVISION 16.5. OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES [38000 - 38604]

  ( Division 16.5 added by Stats. 1971, Ch. 1816. )

CHAPTER 2. Registration of Off-Highway Vehicles; Original and Renewal of Identification; Issuance of Certificates of Ownership [38010 - 38265]

  ( Chapter 2 added by Stats. 1971, Ch. 1816. )

ARTICLE 1. Motor Vehicles Subject to Identification [38010 - 38030]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1971, Ch. 1816. )

38010.
  

(a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), every motor vehicle specified in Section 38012 that is not registered under this code because it is to be operated or used exclusively off the highways, except as provided in this division, shall be issued and display an identification plate or device issued by the department.

(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to any of the following:

(1) Motor vehicles specifically exempted from registration under this code, including, but not limited to, motor vehicles exempted pursuant to Sections 4006, 4010, 4012, 4013, 4015, 4018, and 4019.

(2) Implements of husbandry.

(3) Motor vehicles owned by the state, or any county, city, district, or political subdivision of the state, or the United States.

(4) Motor vehicles owned or operated by, or operated under contract with a utility, whether privately or publicly owned, when used as specified in Section 22512.

(5) Special construction equipment described in Section 565, regardless of whether those motor vehicles are used in connection with highway or railroad work.

(6) A motor vehicle with a currently valid special permit issued under Section 38087.5 that is owned or operated by a nonresident of this state and the vehicle is not identified or registered in a foreign jurisdiction. For the purposes of this paragraph, a person who holds a valid driver’s license issued by a foreign jurisdiction is presumed to be a nonresident.

(7) Commercial vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds unladen.

(8) Any motorcycle manufactured in the year 1942 or prior.

(9) Four-wheeled motor vehicles operated solely in organized racing or competitive events upon a closed course when those events are conducted under the auspices of a recognized sanctioning body or by permit issued by the local governmental authority having jurisdiction.

(10) A motor vehicle with a currently valid identification or registration permit issued by another state.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 1008, Sec. 16. Effective January 1, 2000.)

38012.
  

(a) As used in this division, “off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification” means a motor vehicle subject to subdivision (a) of Section 38010.

(b) As used in this division, “off-highway motor vehicle” includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) A motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, except for any motorcycle that is eligible for a special transportation identification device issued pursuant to Section 38088.

(2) A snowmobile or other vehicle designed to travel over snow or ice, as defined in Section 557.

(3) A motor vehicle commonly referred to as a sand buggy, dune buggy, or all-terrain vehicle.

(4) A motor vehicle commonly referred to as a jeep.

(5) A recreational off-highway vehicle as defined in Section 500.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 165, Sec. 2. (AB 1595) Effective January 1, 2013.)

38013.
  

Unless otherwise provided, the terms “identification” and “identification certificate” shall have the same meaning as the terms “registration” and “registration card,” respectively, as used in Division 3 (commencing with Section 4000).

(Added by Stats. 1971, Ch. 1816.)

38014.
  

As used in this division, “closed course” includes, but is not limited to, a speedway, racetrack, or a prescribed and defined route of travel on or off a highway that is closed to all motor vehicles other than those of participants. A closed course is one which is not available at any time for vehicular access by the general public.

(Added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 1050.)

38020.
  

Except as otherwise provided in this division, a person shall not operate or leave standing an off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification under this code that is not registered under the provisions of Division 3 (commencing with Section 4000), unless it is identified under the provisions of this chapter. A violation of this section is an infraction. Riding in violation of seasons established by Section 2412(f) and 2415 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations constitutes a violation of this section. This section shall not apply to the operation, transportation, or leaving standing of an off-highway vehicle pursuant to a valid special permit.

(Amended by Stats. 2014, Ch. 345, Sec. 18. (AB 2752) Effective January 1, 2015.)

38021.
  

(a) A manufacturer, dealer, or distributor, or his agent, owning or lawfully possessing any off-highway motor vehicle of a type otherwise required to be identified hereunder may operate or use such vehicle without an identification certificate and plate or device upon condition that each such vehicle is accompanied by a special permit issued to the manufacturer, dealer, or distributor as provided in this division.

(b) Persons licensed pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 11700) of Chapter 4 of Division 5 need not obtain such a permit provided the vehicle is operated or used under special plates issued to the licensee.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1093.)

38022.
  

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4000, motorcycles issued a special transportation identification device pursuant to Section 38088 may be transported upon a highway to and from a closed course.

(Added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 1050.)

38025.
  

In accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 4000, a motor vehicle issued a plate or device pursuant to Section 38160 may be operated or driven upon a highway but only as follows:

(a) On a two-lane highway, only to cross the highway at an angle of approximately 90 degrees to the direction of the roadway and at a place where a quick and safe crossing may be made, or only when the roadway is not maintained by snow removal equipment and is closed to motor vehicles that are subject to registration pursuant to Division 3 (commencing with Section 4000), or only to cross a highway in the manner specified in subdivision (b).

(b) With respect to the crossing of a highway having more than two lanes, or a highway having limited access, a motor vehicle may cross a highway but only at a place designated by the Department of Transportation or local authorities with respect to a highway under their respective jurisdictions as a place where a motor vehicle, or specified types of motor vehicle, may cross a highway, and a vehicle shall cross the highway only at that designated place and only in a quick and safe manner.

(c) The Department of Transportation and local authorities with respect to a highway under their respective jurisdictions may designate, by the erection of an appropriate sign of a type approved by the Department of Transportation, a place where a motor vehicle, or specified type of motor vehicle, may cross a highway having more than two lanes or having limited access.

(d) A motor vehicle identified pursuant to Section 38010 may be towed upon a highway, but not driven, if the vehicle displays a plate or device issued pursuant to Section 38160.

(e) A motorcycle identified pursuant to Section 38010 may be pushed upon a highway, but not ridden, if the motorcycle has displayed upon it a plate or device issued pursuant to Section 38160.

(f) A peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, may operate or drive an off-highway vehicle identified pursuant to Section 38010 upon a highway in an emergency response situation.

(Amended by Stats. 2003, Ch. 135, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2004.)

38026.
  

(a) In addition to Section 38025 and after complying with subdivision (c) of this section, if a local authority, an agency of the federal government, or the Director of Parks and Recreation finds that a highway, or a portion of a highway, under the jurisdiction of the authority, agency, or the director, as the case may be, is located in a manner that provides a connecting link between off-highway motor vehicle trail segments, between an off-highway motor vehicle recreational use area and necessary service facilities, or between lodging facilities and an off-highway motor vehicle recreational facility and if it is found that the highway is designed and constructed so as to safely permit the use of regular vehicular traffic and also the driving of off-highway motor vehicles on that highway, the local authority, by resolution or ordinance, agency of the federal government, or the Director of Parks and Recreation, as the case may be, may designate that highway, or a portion of a highway, for combined use and shall prescribe rules and regulations therefor. A highway, or portion of a highway, shall not be so designated for a distance of more than three miles, except as provided in Section 38026.1. A freeway shall not be designated under this section.

(b) The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission may propose highway segments for consideration by local authorities, an agency of the federal government, or the Director of Parks and Recreation for combined use.

(c) Prior to designating a highway or portion of a highway on the motion of the local authority, an agency of the federal government, or the Director of Parks and Recreation, or as a recommendation of the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission, a local authority, an agency of the federal government, or the Director of Parks and Recreation shall notify the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol, and shall not designate any segment pursuant to subdivision (a) which, in the opinion of the commissioner, would create a potential traffic safety hazard.

(d) (1) A designation of a highway, or a portion of a highway, under subdivision (a) shall become effective upon the erection of appropriate signs of a type approved by the Department of Transportation on and along the highway, or portion of the highway.

(2) The cost of the signs shall be reimbursed from the Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund, when appropriated by the Legislature, or by expenditure of funds from a grant or cooperative agreement made pursuant to Section 5090.50 of the Public Resources Code.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 532, Sec. 3. (AB 628) Effective January 1, 2012.)

38026.1.
  

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (e), the County of Inyo may establish a pilot project to designate combined-use highways on unincorporated county roads in the county for no more than 10 miles so that the combined-use highways can be used to link existing off-highway motor vehicle trails and trailheads on federal Bureau of Land Management or United States Forest Service lands, and to link off-highway motor vehicle recreational-use areas with necessary service and lodging facilities, in order to provide a unified system of trails for off-highway motor vehicles, preserve traffic safety, improve natural resource protection, reduce off-highway vehicle trespass on private land, and minimize impacts on county residents.

(b) A pilot project established pursuant to this section shall do all of the following:

(1) Prescribe a procedure for highway, road, or route selection and designation. The procedure shall be approved by a vote of a majority of the county’s board of supervisors.

(2) Prescribe a procedure for the county to remove a combined-use designation, including a designation that is removed as a result of the conclusion of the pilot program.

(3) In cooperation with the Department of Transportation, establish uniform specifications and symbols for signs, markers, and traffic control devices to control off-highway motor vehicles, including, but not limited to, the following:

(A) Devices to warn of dangerous conditions, obstacles, or hazards.

(B) Designations of the right-of-way for regular vehicular traffic and off-highway motor vehicles.

(C) A description of the nature and destination of the off-highway motor vehicle trail.

(D) Warning signs for pedestrians and motorists of the presence of off-highway motor vehicle traffic.

(4) Require that off-highway motor vehicles subject to the pilot project meet the safety requirements of federal and state law regarding proper drivers’ licensing, helmet usage, and the requirements pursuant to Section 38026.5.

(5) Prohibit off-highway motor vehicles from traveling faster than 35 miles per hour on highways designated under this section.

(6) (A) Prohibit a combined-use highway road segment designated under this section from exceeding 10 miles.

(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), two or more combined-use highway road segments may share a common starting point or ending point and may partially overlap as long as the resulting network of the highway road segments does not include more than three distinct locations of shared starting or ending points, or both.

(7) Include an opportunity for public comment at a public hearing held by the county in order to evaluate the pilot project.

(c) A pilot project established pursuant to this section may include use of a state highway, subject to the approval of the Department of Transportation, or any crossing of a highway designated pursuant to Section 38025.

(d) (1) By selecting and designating a highway for combined use pursuant to this section, the county agrees to defend and indemnify the state against any and all claims, including legal defense and liability arising from a claim, for any safety-related losses or injuries arising or resulting from use by off-highway motor vehicles of a highway designated as a combined-use highway by the county’s board of supervisors pursuant to this section.

(2) This subdivision does not alter the requirements of subdivision (e).

(e) The county shall not designate a highway for combined use pursuant to this section unless the Commissioner of the Department of the California Highway Patrol finds that designating the highway for combined use would not create a potential traffic safety hazard.

(f) Not later than January 1, 2019, the County of Inyo, in consultation with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Parks and Recreation, shall prepare and submit to the Legislature a report evaluating the pilot project, and containing all of the following:

(1) A description of the road segments designated to allow combined use for over three miles, as approved or adopted by a majority vote of the members of the Inyo County Board of Supervisors.

(2) An evaluation of the overall safety and effectiveness of the pilot project, including its impact on traffic flows, safety, off-highway vehicle usage on existing trails, incursions into areas not designated for off-highway vehicle usage, and nonmotorized recreation.

(3) A description of the public comments received at a public hearing held by the county in regards to an evaluation of the pilot project.

(g) (1) A report submitted pursuant to subdivision (f) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

(2) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2020, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2020, deletes or extends that date.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 217, Sec. 2. (SB 1345) Effective January 1, 2017. Repealed as of January 1, 2020, by its own provisions.)

38026.5.
  

(a)  In accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 4000, a motor vehicle issued a plate or device pursuant to Section 38160 may be operated or driven on a local highway, or a portion of the local highway, that is designated pursuant to Section 38026 or 38026.1 if the operation is in conformance with this code and the vehicle complies with off-highway vehicle equipment requirements specified in this division.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), it is unlawful for a person using an off-highway vehicle on a combined-use highway to do any of the following:

(1) Operate an off-highway motor vehicle on the highway during the hours of darkness.

(2) Operate a vehicle on the highway that does not have an operational stoplight.

(3) Operate a vehicle on the highway that does not have rubber tires.

(4) Operate a vehicle without a valid driver’s license of the appropriate class for the vehicle operation in possession.

(5) Operate a vehicle on the highway without complying with Article 2 (commencing with Section 16020) of Chapter 1 of Division 7.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 532, Sec. 5. (AB 628) Effective January 1, 2012.)

38027.
  

Motor-driven cycles issued a plate or device pursuant to Section 38160 may be moved, by nonmechanical means only, adjacent to a roadway, in such a manner so as to not interfere with traffic upon the highway, only for the purpose of gaining access to, or returning from, areas designed for the operation of off-highway vehicles, when no other route is available. The Department of Transportation or local authority may designate access routes leading to off-highway parks as suitable for the operation of off-highway vehicles, if such access routes are available to the general public only for pedestrian and off-highway motor vehicle travel.

(Amended by Stats. 1976, Ch. 1093.)

38030.
  

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 38020, an unidentified off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification may be left standing upon a highway or public or private property adjacent to the place of business of a dealer of such motor vehicles when done so in connection with the loading and unloading or storage of such vehicles to be used in the dealer’s business, unless already prohibited by law.

(Amended by Stats. 1973, Ch. 78.)

VEHVehicle Code - VEH1.