Off-Road Recreation Vehicles - Background

This page last reviewed October 28, 2008

The Board approved the off-highway recreational vehicles regulations in 1994. This rulemaking established emission standards and test procedures for off-highway vehicles (OHVs) including: off-road motorcycles (dirt bikes) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs); engines used in specialty vehicles and go-karts; and golf carts. Subsequent Board activity modified this original rulemaking. Engines producing less than 25 horsepower that are used in specialty vehicles or go-karts are now incorporated into the small off-road engine regulations. Similarly, engines producing 25 horsepower and greater that are used in specialty vehicles or go-karts are now incorporated into the large spark-ignition engine regulations.
Subsequently, in 1998, the Board approved amendments to the off-highway recreational vehicle regulations. These amendments were directed specifically toward dirt bikes and ATVs. Most notable, OHV registration is based on compliance to California's exhaust emission standards. Emission-Compliant dirt bikes and ATVs are eligible for OHV Green Sticker registration and can be operated year round. Emission-Noncompliant dirt bikes and ATVs are eligible for OHV Red Sticker registration and are subject to usage restrictions. The Certification Database provides a list of the Executive Orders for Off-Road Recreational Vehicles (motorcycles, ATVs and electric golfcarts).
The off-highway recreational vehicle regulations now contain the following requirements:
Golf Carts:
Effective January 1, 1997, new golf carts purchased for operation within federal ozone non-attainment areas must be zero-emission golf carts (e.g., electric). Please view the attainment / non-attainment areas. Golf carts in attainment areas must use engines in compliance with the small off-road engine regulations.
Dirt Bikes / ATVs:
New dirt bikes and ATVs that meet California's emission standards are eligible for OHV Green Sticker registration. The 2002 and older non-complying dirt bikes and ATVs are eligible for OHV Green Sticker registration. The 2003 and newer non-complying dirt bikes and ATVs are eligible for OHV Red Sticker registration.

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