SANTA FE, NM (KTSM) – Friday morning, officials with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) and the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish to help residents understand the rules and regulations of off-highway vehicles (OHV) for NM roadways.

Officials cite an increase of OHVs on state roadways – including, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), dirt bikes, off-road vehicles, and snowmobiles – as their reason for the clarification of guidelines.

Essentially, these Departments want to remind residents that not all roadways allow OHVs on state owned roadways unless a maintenance agreement has passed through NMDOT Commission.

“Various cities, towns and counties are now allowing the use of OHV’s on their roadways, but these vehicles are not allowed on state roads and people may be having a tough time distinguishing the difference…The safety and wellbeing of the traveling public has always been our number one concern. The department wants everyone to be aware of the rules and regulations to avoid citation and prevent injury.”

NMDOT Deputy Secretary Trent Doolittle.

Officials say the New Mexico Legislature amended Section 66-3-1011 NMSA 1978, to allow a county or municipality, by ordinance or resolution, to authorize operation of OHVs on paved streets or highways owned and controlled by the county or municipality but the use of these vehicles on state roadways is banned and riders may be cited. NM Stat § 66-3-1011 (2016).

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Additionally, the law requires all riders to register their OHVs if used on public land. New Mexico residents must purchase OHV registration decals from the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) for both off-road and on-road use. Non-residents can purchase OHV registration decals from the Department of Game and Fish Online Sales.

Officials ask residents to refer to the state OHV laws and rules for complete requirements.

They add that local authorities can enact and enforce further restrictions as long as they are not in conflict with state law.

“It is the responsibility of any OHV operator to know the state and local laws and rules before riding,” NMDOT officials said.

Check out the OHV Rules video featuring NMG&F Officer Desi Ortiz at NMDOT | Santa Fe NM | Facebook

The laws and rules can be found by visiting this link