NEW OHV OFF-ROAD HELMET LAWS
You now need to wear a helmet on any motorized vehicle when off-road
New law goes into affect and will be enforced by BLM and NPS on Jan. 1, 2013
BILL NUMBER: AB 1595 ENROLLED
PASSED THE SENATE JULY 6, 2012
PASSED THE ASSEMBLY MAY 25, 2012
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MAY 21, 2012
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MAY 10, 2012
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY MARCH 29, 2012
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Member Cook
FEBRUARY 6, 2012
An act to amend Section 38012 of, to add Section 500 to, and to
add Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 38600) to Division 16.5 of,
the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 1595, Cook. Vehicles: recreational off-highway vehicles.
(1) Existing law establishes rules for the operation of, and
requirements for equipment of, an off-highway vehicle. A violation of
these rules and requirements is a crime.
This bill would define an off-highway motor vehicle to include a
recreational off-highway vehicle, as defined. The bill would
establish additional requirements governing the operation of a
recreational off-highway vehicle. Because a violation of these
provisions is a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local
(2) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse
local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this
act for a specified reason.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Section 500 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
500. "Recreational off-highway vehicle" means a motor vehicle
meeting all of the following criteria:
(a) Designed by the manufacturer for operation primarily off of
(b) Has a steering wheel for steering control.
(c) Has nonstraddle seating provided by the manufacturer for the
operator and all passengers.
(d) (1) Has a maximum speed capability of greater than 30 miles
(2) A vehicle designed by the manufacturer with a maximum speed
capability of 30 miles per hour or less but is modified so that it
has a maximum speed capability of greater than 30 miles per hour
satisfies the criteria set forth in this subdivision.
(e) Has an engine displacement equal to or less than 1,000cc (61
SEC. 2. Section 38012 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
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.
SEC. 3. Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 38600) is added to
Division 16.5 of the Vehicle Code, to read:
CHAPTER 8. RECREATIONAL OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLES
38600. A person operating a recreational off-highway vehicle
shall be at least 16 years of age, or be directly supervised in the
vehicle by a parent or guardian or by an adult authorized by the
parent or guardian.
38601. A person shall not operate, or allow a passenger in, a
recreational off-highway vehicle unless the person and the passenger
are wearing safety helmets meeting the requirements established for
motorcycles and motorized bicycles pursuant to Section 27802.
38602. A person operating, and any passenger in, a recreational
off-highway vehicle shall wear a seatbelt and shoulder belt or safety
harness that is properly fastened when the vehicle is in motion.
38603. A person operating a recreational off-highway vehicle
shall not allow a passenger to occupy a separate seat location not
designed and provided by the manufacturer for a passenger.
38604. A person operating a recreational off-highway vehicle
shall not ride with a passenger, unless the passenger, while seated
upright with his or her back against the seatback with both feet flat
on the floorboard, can grasp the occupant handhold with the seatbelt
and shoulder belt or safety harness properly fastened.
SEC. 4. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the
Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the
meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California