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Campfire Collective May 4th, 2019

Arizona Off-Roading Regulations

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Who needs Arizona OHV Education?

Although OHV education is currently required in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces, at this time Arizona does not require off-road vehicle operator education.

There is no minimum age requirement to take this online course.

You do not have to be a resident of Arizona to take this online course.

Why OHV Safety Education Is Important

These vehicles have been increasing in popularity during the past decade. As trails and recreation areas become more crowded, it’s especially important for people to operate these vehicles safely and responsibly.

What is the Arizona OHV Safety Certificate?

The Arizona OHV Safety Certificate is proof that you have successfully completed all of the components of an approved OHV safety course and allows you to go off-roading. Because the OHV education card or certificate does not expire and does not need to be renewed.


All states and provinces that have mandatory education requirements will accept the Arizona OHV Safety Certificate. Likewise, Arizona will accept certifications that are issued by other states and provinces.

Equipment Requirements

The following equipment is required to operate an OHV in Arizona.

  • A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-approved spark arrestor device
  • A muffler or noise dissipative device which prevents sound above 96 decibels
  • For those under 18, a properly fitted and fastened U.S. DOT-approved helmet
  • Brakes
  • Lighted headlights and taillights, if the OHV is operated between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise
  • Sand dunes and certain areas designated by a land managing agency may require a safety flag (this flag shall be at least 6 by 12 inches and attached to the OHV and flown at least eight feet above the surface of the level ground)

Street Legality

In order to register an OHV in Arizona, it must have the following equipment to make it street legal:

  • At least one brake which can be operated by hand or foot
  • Brake light
  • At least one, but not more than two, headlights which shine at least 500 feet ahead
  • At least one taillight visible for at least 500 feet to the rear
  • One red rear reflector, if not part of the taillight
  • License plate securely fastened to the rear of the OHV
  • License plate light
  • A horn audible from a distance of at least 200 feet
  • A muffler in good working order and in constant operation (muffler cutout, bypass or similar device prohibited)
  • Rearview mirror
  • Seat and footrests for the operator
  • Fuel tank cap

If you live in the Phoenix or Tucson metro areas you may also need to have your OHV emissions tested.

Riding Laws

Travel is limited to roads, trails and areas which are designated open by the land management agency for motorized vehicle use.

Travel by motorized vehicles which cause damage to wildlife habitat, riparian areas, cultural or natural resources or property or improvements is prohibited.

Reckless operation is prohibited.

Removal or placement of regulatory signs is prohibited.

ARS 3-908 prohibits the destruction of protected native plants.

ARS 17-309A.1 and CR R12-4-320 make it unlawful to use motor vehicle to harass wildlife.

No removal or placement of regulatory signs is allowed. OHV Volunteers work hard to repair damage to help keep sites open.

Eye protection is required when operating on streets and highways (Civil traffic; ARS 28-964A).

A person who is under 18 years of age may not operate or ride an On and Off-Highway Vehicle on public or State Land unless the person is wearing protective headgear which is properly fitted and fastened, designed for motorized vehicle use and has a minimum United States Department of Transportation Safety Rating.

Arizona Land Agencies

Check with the appropriate agency about rules and requirements. Each agency which manages land in Arizona (the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Arizona State Land Department, etc.) has its own rules, regulations and laws to enforce. Rules and laws change. Before riding or driving on lands, check with the appropriate agency about rules and requirements. For a map showing land ownership status visit the Arizona State Land Department website  or call the Information Center of the State Office at (602) 417-9300.. Most areas restrict OHV use to established routes. Some OHV sites have seasonal closures to address erosion, watershed, and wildlife habitat protection concerns.

The policy for driving motorized vehicles in a National Forest is tied to the State of Arizona’s motor vehicle policy. On all state, county, and those forest roads marked by a horizontally-numbered route marker (i.e. 249), the motorized vehicle and its driver must be “street legal” and licensed. On unmarked forest roads or forest roads which are marked by a vertical route number, the driver does not need to be licensed.

Conscientious Riding

  • Stay on designated routes
  • Do not make new trails
  • Do not harass wildlife
  • Riding over plants destroys wildlife habitat
  • Signs are important for travel and your safety
  • Do not destroy signs – it is against the law
  • Avoid creating dust – slow down
  • Keep out of closed areas. Do not trespass.
  • Keep your OHV quiet, more complaints leads to more closures
  • Leave gates as you found them, whether opened or closed
  • Fences keep livestock confined  – do not cut fences.
  • Do not drive on a route smaller than the width of your vehicle
  • Pack it in, pack it out, do not litter
  • Reduce the risk of fire by making sure your vehicle’s spark arrester is in good working condition
  • Be considerate of others by sharing trails by pulling off to the side of the trail, shut off your engine, and let horses and hikers pass
  • Get involved – join an OHV club and volunteer to maintain the trails you ride

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