New Hampshire OHRV Laws

OHV and NH Law is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

The section of NH law that deals with OHV issues is RSA 215. This is the 2012 language of the statute:

NH RSA 215-A:1 Definitions. – As used in this chapter unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:

I. “Accompanied by,” or “accompany” means when a person is within sight and when actual physical direction and control can be effected.

I-a. [Repealed.]

I-b. “All terrain vehicle (ATV)” means any motor-driven vehicle which is designed or adapted for travel over surfaces other than maintained roads with one or more tires designed to hold not more than 10 pounds per square inch of air pressure, having capacity for passengers or other payloads, not to exceed 1,000 pounds net vehicle weight, and not to exceed 50 inches in width. For the purposes of this chapter, all vehicles within this definition shall be classified as off highway recreational vehicles.

I-c. “Antique all terrain vehicle” means any all terrain vehicle manufactured prior to the year 1969 or 25 or more years old owned by a resident of the state. For the purposes of this chapter, all vehicles within this definition shall be classified as off highway recreational vehicles.

I-d. “Antique trail bike” means any trail bike manufactured prior to the year 1969 or 25 or more years old owned by a resident of the state. For the purposes of this chapter, all vehicles within this definition shall be classified as off highway recreational vehicles.

II. “Bureau” means the bureau of trails in the department of resources and economic development.

III. [Repealed.]

III-a. “Dealer” means a person in the OHRV or snowmobile business who sells OHRVs to the general public, or demonstrates for sale vehicles on consignment to the general public. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any person who sells or who acts as an agent of a seller for 5 or more vehicles at retail to the general public in a consecutive 12-month period is a retail vehicle dealer. For the purpose of this definition, this shall include retail OHRV dealers and wholesale OHRV dealers.

IV. “Executive director” means the executive director of the fish and game department.

V. “OHRV” means off highway recreational vehicle.

V-a. “OHRV club” means an organized, dues-paying group of OHRV users with bylaws, registered with the secretary of state as a nonprofit organization.

V-b. “Snowmobile or OHRV training program,” “snowmobile or OHRV safety training course,” or “snowmobile or OHRV safety education program” means a course of instruction approved or recognized by the department of fish and game as appropriate for a certain type or types of OHRVs, that sufficiently covers proper operation, safety, laws and regulations, penalties, equipment maintenance, and other related matters pertaining to such type or types of OHRVs. At the discretion of the executive director, education or training programs for snowmobiles and OHRVs may be combined.

V-c. “Other OHRV” means an OHRV that is not a trail bike.

VI. “Off highway recreational vehicle” means any mechanically propelled vehicle used for pleasure or recreational purposes running on rubber tires, tracks, or cushion of air and dependent on the ground or surface for travel, or other unimproved terrain whether covered by ice or snow or not, where the operator sits in or on the vehicle. All legally registered motorized vehicles when used for off highway recreational purposes shall fall within the meaning of this definition; provided that, when said motor vehicle is being used for transportation purposes only, it shall be deemed that said motor vehicle is not being used for recreational purposes. For purposes of this chapter “off highway recreational vehicle” shall be abbreviated as OHRV. OHRVs shall not include snowmobiles as defined in RSA 215-C.

VI-a. “OHRV trails maintenance vehicle” means any mechanically-propelled vehicle used to maintain OHRV trails or cross country ski trails, classified by the chief of the bureau of trails. When said vehicle is registered as an OHRV trails maintenance vehicle, it shall not be used for recreational purposes. For the purposes of this chapter, all vehicles within this definition shall be classified as off highway recreational vehicles.

VII. “Operate”, in all its moods and tenses, when it refers to an OHRV, means to use that vehicle in any manner for transportation.

VIII. “Operator” means a person riding on or in, and who is in actual physical control of, an OHRV or snowmobile.

IX. “Owner” means any person, other than a lienholder, having title to an OHRV.

X. “Public way” means any public highway, street, sidewalk, avenue, alley, park or parkway, or any way that is funded by state, city, town, county, or the federal government, or laid out by statute, or any parking lots open for use by the public or vehicular traffic, or any frozen surface of a public body of water; provided, however, the off highway portion of any trail established specifically for OHRVs shall not be a public way.

XI. “Public water” means any public body of water as defined by RSA 271:20 which has been frozen over and is sufficient to hold any person or vehicle, whatsoever. Such public waters shall be deemed a public way and any violation shall be treated as if it took place on land.

XI-a. “Rental agent” means a person licensed under RSA 215-A:26 or RSA 215-C:45 accepting money or other valuable consideration for the temporary use of OHRVs, provided to members of the general public.

XII. “Resident” means a resident of the state as defined in RSA 21:6, except that no person shall be deemed to be a resident who claims residence in any other state for any purpose.

XIII. “Snowmobile” means any vehicle propelled by mechanical power that is designed to travel over ice or snow supported in part by skis, tracks, or cleats. Only vehicles that are no more than 54 inches in width and no more than 1200 pounds in weight shall be considered snowmobiles under this chapter. Snowmobiles shall not include OHRVs.

XIV. “Trail bike” means any motor-driven wheeled vehicle on which there is a saddle or seat for the operator or passenger or both and which is designed or adapted for travel over surfaces other than maintained roads, whether covered by ice or snow or not. For the purposes of this chapter, all vehicles within this definition shall be classified as off highway recreational vehicles.

XV. “Registered for Highway Use” means any OHRV as defined in RSA 215-A:1, VI or trail bike as defined in RSA 215-A:1, XIV which is registered for use on the highways of the state under the provisions of RSA 261. Said registered vehicles shall comply with the provisions of RSA 215-A:35-39.

XVI. “Traveled portion” means all areas of a public highway between the plowed snowbanks.

XVII. “Trail connector” means that specific portion of an OHRV trail or cross country ski trail on which an OHRV trail maintenance vehicle may operate authorized within a state highway right-of-way by the department of transportation.

XVIII. [Repealed.]

XIX. “Youth model all terrain vehicle” means an all terrain vehicle that is equipped with an internal combustion engine with a maximum piston displacement of 95 cubic centimeters.

XX. “Youth model trail bike” means a trail bike that is equipped with an internal combustion engine with a maximum piston displacement of 95 cubic centimeters.

XXI. “Mushing” means the activity of using sled dogs to pull motorized or non-motorized devices.

XXII. “Sled dogs” means teams of dogs driven by a person or persons pulling sleds, a skier, wheeled rigs, and other motorized and non-motorized devices used to train or control the teams.

215-A:2 Bureau of Trails. – There shall be established in the division of parks and recreation of the department of resources and economic development a bureau of trails. The chief supervisor of the bureau shall report directly to the director of the division of parks and recreation.

 

215-A:3 Bureau Responsibilities. –

I. The bureau shall have the responsibility to provide coordination between the department of resources and economic development, division of forests and lands, the fish and game department, and the department of transportation, with respect to matters pertaining to OHRVs and snowmobiles.

II. In addition, this bureau shall administer the funds provided the department of resources and economic development for the OHRV and snowmobile program; act as liaison between landowners and OHRV and snowmobile users; work with organized clubs in the support of the OHRV and snowmobile sport; supervise the production of publications produced by the department of resources and economic development relating to regulations and information on trails; maintain up-to-date information and data relative to new OHRV machinery, equipment, national standards and safety; and assist where required in any training programs that may be established.

II-a. Notwithstanding RSA 21-I:17-a, I, the director of the division of parks and recreation may make purchases using field purchase orders for expenditures of up to $2,000 for the state trail system and facilities through June 30, 2012.

II-b. The commissioner of the department of resources and economic development may transfer funds between and among the appropriations for the bureau of trails through June 30, 2012. The commissioner shall submit a report on a quarterly basis to the fiscal committee of the general court, the governor and council, and the chairmen of the house and senate executive departments and administration committees, the chairman of the resources, recreation and development committee, and the chairman of the wildlife, fish and game and agriculture committee of all transfers made under this paragraph. RSA 9:17-a and RSA 9:17-c shall not apply to transfers made under this paragraph.

III. The bureau shall be further responsible for coordinating efforts in obtaining easements and rights-of-way, in establishing trails and trail facilities, and any other similarly related tasks that may be required as a responsibility of the department of resources and economic development in relation to OHRVs and snowmobiles. The bureau may with governor and council approval acquire by purchase, gift or devise any land for OHRV and snowmobile trails or facilities.

IV. The bureau shall also have the responsibility to make or participate in a continuing study on the effects of OHRV and snowmobile operations on erosion and other damage to the environment. If other state agencies are involved in an overall study of this nature, the bureau shall cooperate with such agencies, and maintain a record of all findings that pertain to OHRVs and snowmobiles.

IV-a. The bureau shall also have the following duties:

(a) Provide the planning, development, and maintenance of the state trail system.

(b) Promote the proper use of trails throughout the state, and protect their integrity for future generations.

(c) Encourage the use of trails for educational purposes through the use of signs, published material and trail adoption programs.

(d) Coordinate the development of the New Hampshire Heritage Trail designated in RSA 216-A:11.

(e) Administer the New Hampshire conservation corps established in RSA 216-A:7.

(f) Obtain and administer any federal funds appropriated for the purposes of this chapter.

(g) Assist communities with their trail programs.

(h) Support research and information gathering activities on the economic benefits of trails and improved environmental design of trails.

(i) Coordinate the efforts of motorized and non-motorized trail interests in the state.

(j) Maintain a list of recognized OHRV clubs.

V. The chief supervisor of the bureau may make recommendations concerning RSA 215-A:3-a and such rules as the chief supervisor feels may be necessary for the use and control of OHRV trails, facilities, and lands under bureau control or lease to the commissioner of the department of resources and economic development. The commissioner may adopt such recommendations as rules as provided in RSA 215-A:3-a. A person who fails to observe rules adopted under RSA 215-A:3-a shall be subject to the same penalties provided for in other sections of this chapter.

VI. The supervisor of the bureau shall receive all written requests from persons applying for permission to establish a highway trail crossing or trail connector on any class I, class II or class III highway for any OHRV trail or cross country ski trail on which an OHRV trail maintenance vehicle may operate. The requests shall be submitted by the supervisor to the commissioner of the department of transportation or the commissioner’s representative for the department’s approval or disapproval. If approval is granted, the commissioner of the department of transportation may post the area with appropriate signs designating the location of the trail crossing or trail connector and providing signs for both sides of the highway at an appropriate distance from the crossing or trail connector to warn the motoring public of said crossing or trail connector. Highway trail crossing requests and approvals under this paragraph shall be exempt from the provisions of RSA 215-A:42 and RSA 215-A:43.

VII. The state treasurer shall keep all money appropriated to the department of resources and economic development for the bureau from the registration of off highway recreational vehicles in a special fund to be known as the OHRV and snowmobile fund. At the close of each fiscal year any unexpended balance shall be carried forward and added to the appropriation for the subsequent year.

VIII. The bureau may make application to the commissioner of transportation for a permit in writing to allow OHRVs to operate on or across certain bridges of class I, II and III highways when such operation is necessary for gaining access to established trails or to events being developed or held in conjunction with established OHRV club activities. The commissioner of transportation may issue or deny such permits. A permit shall specify the type of OHRVs to be allowed, the permitted dates and hours of operation, and shall require the bureau to erect and maintain all signs required under the terms of the permit. Any person operating an OHRV on or across a bridge under this paragraph shall do so at his or her own risk. Said person shall keep to the extreme right side of the bridge and shall yield to all oncoming vehicular traffic.

IX. The commissioner of the department of resources and economic development and the executive director of the department of fish and game shall each submit an annual report to the chairpersons of the fish and game committee, the resource, recreation and development committee, the transportation committee, the ways and means committee, and any other appropriate committee of the house of representatives, the chairpersons of the wildlife and recreation committee, the ways and means committee, and any other appropriate committee of the senate, and the state library which details their agencies’ activities relating to OHRV and snowmobile programs during the previous year. Such report shall include, but not be limited to, as applicable to each agency’s responsibility, registration revenues received by type of vehicle, an accounting of all existing OHRV-related funds, accounts, and subaccounts, disbursements made from each fund, account, or subaccount by type of vehicle, where applicable, and use of disbursed funds, condition of trails by type of vehicle use, results of the continuing study on environmental damage by type of vehicle under RSA 215-A:3, IV, and state and contracted or otherwise known local enforcement actions taken by type of vehicle. Each report shall be submitted on or before January 15 of each year and shall be made available to the public in a manner deemed appropriate by each reporting agency.

 

215-A:3-a Rulemaking. – The commissioner of the department of resources and economic development, as a member of the bureau of trails, shall adopt rules under RSA 541-A relative to:

I. [Repealed.]

II. The use and control of OHRV trails, facilities, and lands under bureau control or lease;

III. Complete and specific procedures relative to the distribution of and requirements for obtaining funds from the grant-in-aid program established under RSA 215-A:23, VI; and

IV. Imposition of administrative fines under RSA 215-A:3-b.

215-A:3-b Administrative Fines. –

I. The commissioner of the department of resources and economic development, after notice and hearing pursuant to RSA 541-A, may impose an administrative fine not to exceed $250 for each offense upon any person who violates any provision of the department’s administrative rules. Rehearings and appeals from a decision of the commissioner under this section shall be in accordance with RSA 541. Any administrative fine imposed under this section shall not preclude the imposition of further penalties under RSA 227-J. The commissioner shall adopt rules, under RSA 541-A, relative to:

(a) A schedule of administrative fines which may be imposed under this section for violation of the department’s administrative rules.

(b) Procedures for notice and hearing prior to the imposition of an administrative fine.

II. The proceeds of administrative fines levied pursuant to paragraph I shall be deposited by the commissioner of resources and economic development into the funds provided the department of resources and economic development for the OHRV and snowmobile program under RSA 215-A:3, II for violations of bureau of trails rules.

 

215-A:4 Frozen Surface of a Public Body of Water. – The use of any frozen surface of any public body of water by the owner or operator of any OHRV, shall be done at their own risk; and any accident resulting shall not be a legal responsibility of any town, city, or the state. The executive director may, in the interest of public safety, close temporarily to any motorized vehicle all or any part of any frozen surface of a public body of water, for use by the public, except for fishing on foot.

 

215-A:4-a Night Speed Limit for OHRVs on Frozen Surface of Back Lake. – No person shall operate any OHRV in excess of 35 miles per hour during night hours, on the frozen surface of Back Lake in the town of Pittsburg. As used in this section, “night hours” means the hours between 1/2 hour after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise. Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a violation.

 

215-A:5 Limitation on Use of Lake or Pond Used by Ice Fishermen. – No person shall operate an OHRV upon any lake or pond being used by ice fishermen closer than 150 feet to any occupied so-called bob-house, fishing shanty or fishing hole, unless done at a speed in conformity with RSA 215-A:6, III. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any person engaged in emergency rescue operations or public service of any description.

 

215-A:5-a Vehicles on Sand Dunes Prohibited. – The provisions of RSA 482-A:3, VIII and IX shall apply, relative to the operation of mechanized or off highway recreational vehicles.

 

215-A:5-c Inherent Dangers of OHRV Operation. – It is recognized that OHRV operation may be hazardous. Therefore, each person who drives or rides an OHRV accepts, as a matter of law, the dangers inherent in the sport, and shall not maintain an action against an owner, occupant, or lessee of land for any injuries which result from such inherent risks, dangers, or hazards. The categories of such risks, hazards, or dangers which the OHRV user assumes as a matter of law include, but are not limited to, the following: variations in terrain, trails, paths, or roads, surface or subsurface snow or ice conditions, bare spots, rocks, trees, stumps, and other forms of forest growth or debris, structures on the land, equipment not in use, pole lines, fences, and collisions with other operators or persons.

 

215-A:8 Operation Permitted; Right-of-Ways. – Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an OHRV may be operated within the right-of-way of a public way across a bridge when operated in accordance with a permit issued by the commissioner of transportation pursuant to RSA 215-A:3, VIII.

 

215-A:9 Limitations of OHRV Operation on Class I, II, and III Highways. – The provisions of RSA 236:56 shall apply to all OHRVs as herein defined with the following exceptions:

I. Highway crossings for established OHRV trails may be granted pursuant to RSA 215-A:3, VI.

II. No direct crossing of interstate highways, divided highways, or toll roads shall be permitted.

III. [Repealed.]

IV. Pursuant to RSA 215-A:3, VI the commissioner of the department of transportation may issue written permission to the supervisor of the bureau to establish OHRV trail crossings either under or over interstate, toll or limited access highways.

V. The policy governing any OHRV trail connector or trail crossing within class I, II, and III highway rights-of-way shall be as determined by the commissioner of the department of transportation.

VI. [Repealed.]

VII. When travel by conventional motor vehicles is not possible during a period of emergency declared by the appropriate authority having jurisdiction, an OHRV may be operated on any portion of an interstate highway, toll road, limited access highway, public highway or any other restricted area, provided that the operator of said vehicle has received the specific authority of an officer authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter to so operate.

 

215-A:10 Limitations of OHRV Operation on Class I, II, III and III-a Highways. –

I. A person shall not operate an OHRV on the traveled portions or the plowed snowbanks adjacent to class I, class II, class III, or class III-a highways.

II. Notwithstanding any provisions of the law to the contrary, a person may operate an OHRV on a class I, class II, class III, or class III-a highway that is not maintained for winter use by conventional motor vehicles; provided, however, that if a class I, class II, class III, or class III-a highway is not maintained for winter use by conventional motor vehicles and said highway is opened for an OHRV trail, said highway shall be so posted and conventional motor vehicle traffic prohibited. The commissioner of the department of transportation upon notification to the supervisor of the bureau may open at any time a class I, class II, or class III highway which has been closed for conventional motor vehicle use.

215-A:12 Manufacturing Specification Requirements. – I, II. [Repealed.]

III. No person shall sell or offer for sale in this state any trail bike manufactured on or after January 1, 1973, or before January 1, 1983, which produces a sound level in excess of the following limits, when measured in accordance with the provisions of the Society of Automotive Engineers Recommended Practice J-331a, “Sound Levels for Motorcycles”:

(a) If manufactured between January 1, 1973, and December 31, 1974, inclusive, of 88 decibels on the A scale.

(b) If manufactured between January 1, 1975, and December 31, 1982, inclusive, 86 decibels on the A scale.

(c) On or after January 1, 1983, newly manufactured trail bikes and exhaust systems and exhaust system components for trail bikes shall comply with the federal noise emission standards and testing procedures required by Title 40 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Part 225, as follows:

(1) Effective January 1, 1983: Displacement of 170 cc and below, not to exceed 83 decibels on the A scale. Displacement of more than 170 cc, not to exceed 86 decibels on the A scale.

(2) Effective January 1, 1986: Displacement of 170 cc and below, not to exceed 80 decibels on the A scale. Displacement of more than 170 cc, not to exceed 82 decibels on the A scale.

(d) Each federally regulated trail bike and exhaust system newly manufactured on or after January 1, 1983, sold or offered for sale within the state, shall display noise emission control information labels in accordance with the above referenced federal noise emission regulation, to indicate that the vehicle and exhaust system meets United States Environmental Protection Agency noise emission requirements by the federal test procedure for that particular model product.

(e) The labeling of newly manufactured trail bikes and exhaust systems or exhaust components, with the appropriate noise emission control information labels as prescribed in this chapter, constitutes a certification by the manufacturer of such vehicles and products sold within the state that they comply with federal regulations and the sound levels established in this section.

(f) Vehicles designed, constructed, and sold solely for use as racing vehicles at facilities constructed for closed-course racing are exempt from the provisions of this section, but only when used at such racing facilities.

(1) Each trail bike and exhaust system or exhaust system component newly manufactured on or after January 1, 1983, that is designed, constructed and sold solely for competition shall be labeled, as required by the above referenced federal noise emission regulation, that the vehicle and exhaust system or exhaust system component is designed for closed-course competition only.

(2) The labeling of such products by the manufacturer in accordance with the federal regulation constitutes a certification by the manufacturer that they do not conform to federal noise standards or New Hampshire sound levels established in this section.

  1. No person shall operate in this state a trail bike or all terrain vehicle which produces a sound level in excess of 96 decibels on the A scale, when measured in accordance with the provisions of the Society of Automotive Engineers Recommended Practice ANSI/SAE, J-1287, Mar 82, “Measurement of Exhaust Sound Levels of Stationary Motorcycles”.
  2. No person shall operate in this state any trail bike or other OHRV which is designed, constructed, and sold solely for closed-course competition and is without a headlight and a taillight. The provisions of this paragraph shall not apply to trail bikes or OHRVs operated at approved OHRV competitions, or when the exhaust system is modified to comply with the provisions of RSA 215-A:12, IV and RSA 227-L:20.
  3. Sound pressure levels in decibels shall be measured on the “A” scale of a sound level meter having characteristics defined by American National Standards Institute S1.4-1971, “Specification for Sound Level Meters.”

VII. No person shall modify the manufacturer’s specified exhaust system of any OHRV in any manner which will increase or amplify the noise emitted above that emitted by the original muffler.

VIII. No person shall operate, sell, or offer for sale in this state any ATV manufactured after January 1, 1990, which does not have a working headlight, except that an ATV with an engine size of 90 cubic centimeters or less, having 3 or more tires designed to hold not more than 10 pounds per square inch of air pressure, shall not be required to be equipped with a headlight.

  1. [Repealed.]
  2. No person shall operate, sell or offer for sale in this state any ATV manufactured after January 1, 1990, which is not equipped with a location on the front and rear of the ATV specifically for the placement of registration plates or decals, which measure 3 1/2 inches by 6 inches.

 

 

215-A:13 OHRVs Must be Submitted to Sound Tests. –

I. The operator or owner of any trail bike, or other OHRV shall, when required by any law enforcement officer, submit his or her vehicle to a sound test conducted according to the applicable provisions of RSA 215-A:12.

II. The executive director may adopt sound level limits and test procedures to regulate sound emissions of OHRVs not otherwise regulated in this chapter.

215-A:13-a Protective Headgear. – No person under the age of 18 shall operate any OHRV within this state without wearing eye protection and protective headgear which meets or exceeds the specifications of FMVSS 218.

215-A:14 OHRV Required Equipment. –

I. No person shall operate an OHRV unless it is equipped with:

(a) At least one, but not more than 2 headlights, all in working order, when operating at any time during the period from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.

(b) One or more rear taillights, all in working order, when operating at any time during the period from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.

(c) Adequate brakes in good working order sufficient to control the vehicle at all times. The brakes must be capable of stopping the vehicle within 40 feet at 20 miles per hour, or locking the wheels or track to a standstill.

(d) The current registration decal affixed to the OHRV as required by this chapter.

(e) Mufflers and an exhaust system which comply with the requirements of RSA 215-A:12.

II. Any sled or trailer towed behind an OHRV shall be equipped with reflectors and a rigid hitch such as a tow bar.

III. Any police officer or person authorized to make criminal arrests may stop and check any OHRV in regard to any safety equipment, mufflers, brakes, lights and appropriate inspections pursuant to RSA 215-A:13.

215-A:14-a Three-Wheeled ATVs; Limitation on Government Sale. – No state agency, municipality, or other governmental entity shall sell or transfer ownership of, in whole or in parts, a 3-wheeled ATV designed or marketed for use as an off highway recreational vehicle.

215-A:15 Regulations of Political Subdivisions. –

I. With bylaws or ordinances city or town councils and boards of selectmen may regulate the operation of OHRVs within city or town limits, providing they do not conflict with provisions of this chapter.

II, III. [Repealed.]

IV. Speed limits for OHRVs traveling on the frozen surface of Turtle Pond, also known as Turtle Town Pond, in the city of Concord shall not exceed 55 miles per hour.

V. Enforcement of paragraph IV shall be the joint responsibility of the city of Concord and the state of New Hampshire.

215-A:16 Enforcement. –

I. The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by all duly authorized representatives of the department of fish and game and by every police and law enforcement officer including, but not limited to, members of the state police, sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, policemen, and constables and all persons empowered to make arrests in criminal cases.

II. The commissioner of the department of resources and economic development shall appoint a chief supervisor of the bureau of trails, who shall have additional duties as state parks and forest security officer with authority under RSA 594. The commissioner of the department of resources and economic development shall, at his discretion, also appoint bureau of trail area supervisors and foremen, who shall be peace officers for the purposes of RSA 594.

 

215-A:17 Law Enforcement Authority of Bureau of Trails Officers. – The commissioner of the department of resources and economic development may designate employees of the bureau as forest and park patrol officers. The chief supervisor appointed under RSA 215-A:16, II and the forest and park patrol officers shall have the authority of peace officers as defined under RSA 594:1 to enforce the provisions of this chapter anywhere in the state and all rules of the department of resources and economic development on lands owned by, leased to or under control of the department of resources and economic development. Forest and park patrol officers shall also have authority as peace officers under RSA 594:1 to enforce laws dealing with trespass, litter, breaking and entering, larceny and vandalism on lands owned by, leased to or otherwise being used by the state in connection with official recreational or OHRV trails.

 

215-A:18 OHRV Fines. –

I. The court or justice of any court in which a complaint for a violation of any law or any rule adopted pursuant to RSA 541-A, brought by a conservation officer of the New Hampshire fish and game department, is prosecuted shall remit the amount of any fine or forfeiture paid pursuant to such complaint as provided in RSA 206:34.

II. The court or justice of any court in which a complaint for a violation of any law or rule adopted pursuant to RSA 541-A brought by a forest and park patrol officer of the department of resources and eco

nomic development is prosecuted shall, within 30 days after any fine or forfeiture is paid, remit the amount thereof to the commissioner of the department of resources and economic development; provided, however, that, from each fine collected by a municipal or district court, there shall be deducted $10 and 20 percent of that part of the fine which exceeds $10 and the same shall be continually appropriated to the department for the purposes of RSA 215-A:23, VI.

III. The court or justice of any court in which a complaint is prosecuted for a violation of this chapter, or any rule adopted pursuant to RSA 541-A under the authority of this chapter, brought by a local police officer, shall, within 30 days after any fine or forfeiture is paid, remit the amount of the fine or forfeiture to the local police department in whose service the police officer was acting; provided, however that, from each fine collected by a municipal or district court, there shall be deducted $10 and 20 percent of that part of the fine which exceeds $10.

 

215-A:19 Penalties and Owner/Operator Responsibilities. –

I. (a) Unless otherwise provided, any person who violates this chapter or any rule relating thereto shall be guilty of a violation. In addition thereto, the operator or owner or both of any OHRV shall be responsible and held accountable:

(1) To the owner of any lands where trees, shrubs, or other property have been damaged as a result of travel over their premises by such vehicles.

(2) For any damage incurred or for violations of this chapter committed by a person under the age of 18.

(b) The executive director may revoke, after a hearing, the registration of any OHRV and snowmobile registered in the name of any person who violates this chapter or any rule relating thereto.

II. Any person who, while operating or in charge of an OHRV, shall refuse when requested by a police officer or person authorized to make criminal arrests to give his name and address or the name and address of the owner of such OHRV or who shall give a false name and address, or who shall refuse or neglect to stop when signaled to stop by any police officer or any person authorized to make criminal arrests who is in uniform or who displays his badge conspicuously on the outside of his outer coat or garment, or who refuses on demand of such officer or person to produce his license to operate such vehicle or his certificate of registration, or to permit such officer or person to take the license or certificate in hand for the purpose of examination, or who refuses on demand of such officer or person to sign his name in the presence of such officer, or who refuses to surrender to the executive director or his duly authorized representative any license, registration certificate or number decal upon demand after suspension or revocation of the same, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

III. If any person shall mischievously take, drive, ride, or use any OHRV, without the consent of the owner or person having control thereof, but not with the intent to steal the same, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

IV. (a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, any OHRV, operated by a minor in violation of any provision of this chapter or of any motor vehicle law, may be seized by a law enforcement officer and retained by such officer for up to a 24-hour period or until released to the owner upon payment of the cost of such seizure and retention.

(b) Notwithstanding RSA 169-B and RSA 169-D, any minor who violates a provision of this chapter shall not be considered a delinquent or a child in need of services. Any minor who violates a provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a violation and may be punished by a fine for each offense, may have his or her snowmobile and OHRV safety training certification suspended for up to 6 months, and may be required to complete community service or to complete additional OHRV safety training.

V. A police officer may cause the removal and storage of an OHRV if he has reason to believe any of the following:

(a) The OHRV has been left unattended on any public property for a period of greater than 48 hours.

(b) The owner or legal occupant of private property has complained that an OHRV has been abandoned on said private property for a period of greater than 48 hours.

(c) The OHRV is reported stolen, is apparently abandoned, is without proper registration, or is apparently unsafe to be driven.

(d) The owner or custodian of the OHRV is under arrest or otherwise incapacitated.

(e) The OHRV has been used in connection with a criminal offense.

VI. No custodian or police officer shall be liable for damages to an OHRV while it is in his custody under paragraph V, provided he exercises due care.

VII. [Repealed.]

VIII. [Repealed.]

IX. In addition to any other penalty imposed, any person who is convicted of violating any of the following statutes, and who has not already successfully completed an OHRV or snowmobile training program, shall complete an OHRV training program, at that person’s own expense, within 6 months of conviction. Any person who fails to successfully complete the OHRV training program within 6 months may not legally register or reregister any OHRV or snowmobile until such time as the OHRV training program is successfully completed:

(a) Laws relative to speed limit or safe operation.

(b) RSA 215-A:12 and RSA 215-A:13, relative to decibel limits on noise.

(c) Disobeying a person authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter as provided in RSA 215-A:16 and RSA 215-A:17, or by acting in a manner prohibited by RSA 215-A:19, II.

(d) RSA 265-A:2, I and RSA 265-A:3, relative to operating an OHRV while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

(e) RSA 265-A:14, relative to refusal of consent.

(f) RSA 215-A:6, IV, relative to endangering any person or damaging any property.

(g) RSA 215-A:29, X, relative to failure to yield right-of-way.

215-A:20 Loaded Firearms Forbidden. – No person shall carry on an OHRV, or a trailer towed by same, any firearms unless said firearm is unloaded. This section shall not apply to law enforcement officers carrying firearms in the course of duty or to pistols carried under a permit issued pursuant to the authority of RSA 159.

215-A:21 Registration. –

I. Registration of an OHRV or snowmobile does not constitute a license to operate said vehicle on private land. Any person operating an OHRV upon the land of another shall stop and identify himself upon the request of the landowner or his duly authorized representative and, if requested, shall promptly remove said OHRV from the premises.

[Paragraph II effective until January 1, 2013; see also paragraph II set out below.]

II. Except as otherwise provided, no OHRV shall be operated in this state unless registered as provided in this chapter. No registration shall be required for an OHRV operated solely on land owned or leased by the owner of the OHRV. Except for temporary registrations under paragraph V, all OHRV registrations shall expire on July 1 in each year. The executive director shall collect a fee for each registration as provided in RSA 215-A:23.

[Paragraph II effective January 1, 2013; see also paragraph II set out above.]

II. Except as otherwise provided, no OHRV shall be operated in this state unless registered as provided in this chapter. No registration shall be required for an OHRV operated solely on land owned or leased by the owner of the OHRV. All OHRV registrations shall expire on July 1 in each year. The executive director shall collect a fee for each registration as provided in RSA 215-A:23.

II-a. [Repealed.]

II-b. Notwithstanding RSA 215-A:21, II, no registration shall be required for a youth model all terrain vehicle when the operator is under 12 years of age and accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older who holds a valid license to operate an OHRV.

II-c. Notwithstanding RSA 215-A:21, II, no registration shall be required for a youth model trail bike when the operator is under 12 years of age and accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older who holds a valid license to operate an OHRV.

III. No person under the age of 18 shall register an OHRV.

IV. [Repealed.]

IV-a. [Repealed.]

IV-b. Antique all terrain vehicles may be registered by a one-time purchase of a permanent plate to be affixed permanently to the antique all terrain vehicle. This registration shall be available at the fish and game headquarters only.

IV-c. Antique trail bikes may be registered by a one-time purchase of a permanent plate to be affixed permanently to the antique trail bike. This registration shall be available at the fish and game headquarters only.

IV-d. [Repealed.]

[Paragraph V effective until January 1, 2013; see also paragraph V set out below.]

V. All OHRVs except conventional motor vehicles registered for highway use shall be registered at the fee provided in RSA 215-A:23, and shall be furnished a registration plate or decals of a design and color as chosen by the executive director. Said registration plate or decals shall be attached securely on the front and rear of the vehicle, in an unobstructed manner, as high as possible or at a location designed by the manufacturer. A nonresident registering an OHRV for a calendar month from May to October shall be issued a temporary registration by the executive director. Such registration shall be valid only for the calendar month for which it is issued. The executive director shall determine the design, color, and placement of temporary registration decals. Temporary registrations may not be transferred.

[Paragraph V effective January 1, 2013; see also paragraph V set out above.]

V. All OHRVs except conventional motor vehicles registered for highway use shall be registered at the fee provided in RSA 215-A:23, and shall be furnished a registration plate or decals of a design and color as chosen by the executive director. Said registration plate or decals shall be attached securely on the front and rear of the vehicle, in an unobstructed manner, as high as possible or at a location designed by the manufacturer.

V-a. (a) All OHRV trails maintenance vehicles shall be registered with a number to be placed and attached in the manner prescribed in paragraph V.

(b) The registration number shall be contained on a decal of a design, color, and size designated by the executive director. The registration number for said vehicle shall be assigned by the executive director or one of his agents. In case of a transfer, the number shall expire and become invalid. If a new machine is obtained a new number shall be assigned, unless otherwise authorized by the executive director.

VI. No person shall operate any OHRV unless the assigned OHRV registration numbers, plates, or decals are placed on the OHRV as required by this chapter.

VII. The registration certificate shall be subject to inspection on demand by any officer authorized to enforce provisions of this chapter. The registration certificate shall be carried while the OHRV is in operation. The said operator, shall when requested, show proof of personal identification.

VIII. No person shall register an OHRV at the resident fee as defined in RSA 215-A:23 unless such person is a resident as defined in RSA 215-A:1, XII.

IX. No person shall operate a motorcycle, trail bike, or tractor for off highway recreational purposes unless the motorcycle, trail bike, or tractor is registered as an OHRV; however, if the motorcycle, trail bike, or tractor is operated solely on land owned or leased by the owner of the motorcycle, trail bike, or tractor, the provisions of this paragraph shall not apply.

X. The executive director shall issue to a person applying therefor a 14-month registration to include the months of May and June for an initial registration of an OHRV under RSA 215-A:23, provided that the prorated initial registration fee and the appropriation from each fee shall be as follows:

(a) For an individual resident registration- $49 for each 2-wheeled trail bike registration or $60 for each other OHRV registration upon presentation of a valid driver’s license issued to a New Hampshire resident 18 years of age or older.

(1) The first $8.16 of each 2-wheeled trail bike registration or $19.16 of each other OHRV registration shall be appropriated to the department of resources and economic development for the bureau’s grant-in-aid program pursuant to RSA 215-A:23, VI.

(2) From the balance, $17.86 from each 2-wheeled trail bike or other OHRV registration shall be appropriated to the department of resources and economic development for administration of the bureau for the purposes listed in RSA 215-A:23, VII, and $22.98 from each 2-wheeled trail bike or other OHRV registration shall be appropriated to the department of fish and game for the purposes listed in RSA 215-A:23, VIII.

(b) For an individual nonresident registration- $72 for each 2-wheeled trail bike registration or $82 for each other OHRV registration.

(1) The first $16 of each 2-wheeled trail bike registration or $26 of each other OHRV registration shall be appropriated to the department of resources and economic development for the bureau’s grant-in-aid program pursuant to RSA 215-A:23, VI.

(2) From the balance, $19.95 from each 2-wheeled trail bike or other OHRV registration shall be appropriated to the department of resources and economic development for administration of the bureau for the purposes listed in RSA 215-A:23, VII, and $36.05 from each 2-wheeled trail bike or other OHRV registration shall be appropriated to the department of fish and game for the purposes listed in RSA 215-A:23, VIII.

215-A:21-a Use of 3-Wheeled ATVs. – Any person registering for operation under this chapter any 3-wheeled ATV as an off highway recreational vehicle is encouraged to receive adequate training and education in the safe operation of 3-wheeled ATVs. The New Hampshire fish and game department may provide a suitable ATV education course.

215-A:22 Transfer of Registration. –

I. A person who conveys to another the ownership of his registered OHRV may register in his name another OHRV for the remainder of that registration year, at a reduced rate of $17.50, provided that the reverse side of the registration form is completely filled out and submitted to a registration agent upon request for transfer.

II. Only a registration agent may transfer a registration under paragraph I. The agent shall issue a new registration certificate and decals. The originally issued decals shall not be transferred, and shall become invalid for further use. The agent shall return the previous white registration certificate to the OHRV and snowmobile registry attached to the new registration certificate office copy.

III. A new owner of any OHRV shall purchase a new registration certificate and decals at full price if he does not have a current registration for an OHRV of which he has relinquished ownership.

IV. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a person or club who conveys to another ownership of a registered OHRV trails maintenance vehicle may register in his name or the club’s name another OHRV trails maintenance vehicle for the remainder of the year at the rate designated in RSA 215-A:23, provided that the reverse side of the registration form is completely filled out and submitted to the department of fish and game upon request for transfer.

215-A:22-a Missing or Damaged Decals or Plates. – The original white registration certificate shall be returned to an OHRV registration agent completed on the reverse side with the probable date lost; the reason the decals or plates are missing, specifying, for example, lost, destroyed, or stolen; and the signature of the owner. The OHRV registration agent shall issue new registration decals and certificate in accordance with RSA 215-A:22.

215-A:22-b Duplicate Registration. – A registration certificate which is lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed may be replaced by a duplicate registration, upon payment of a fee of $5 and completion of an affidavit setting forth the circumstances of the loss or destruction of the registration. The duplicate registration shall entitle the registrant to engage in all activities permitted on the original registration. All fees collected under this section for duplicate registrations shall be nonlapsing and continually appropriated to the fish and game department for the purposes described in RSA 215-A:23, VIII.

215-A:23-a Individual Vanity Plates or Decals. – The executive director is hereby authorized to design and to issue vanity plates or decals for residents only to be used on off highway recreational vehicles in lieu of other number plates or decals. Such plates or decals shall be of such design and shall bear such letters or letters and numbers as the executive director shall prescribe, but there shall be no duplication of identification. The executive director, or designee, may deny or revoke any plate or decal deemed inappropriate. Such vanity plates or decals shall be issued only upon application therefor and upon payment of a special fee of $20. The special fee shall be in addition to the regular OHRV registration fee under RSA 215-A:23 and any fee otherwise required by law for the particular vehicle. All special fees collected under this section shall be nonlapsing and continually appropriated to the fish and game department for the purposes described in RSA 215-A:23, VIII(b), the administrative costs of this section, and the actual costs to produce the plates or decals. The executive director shall, if necessary, adopt rules pursuant to RSA 541-A relative to the application for, design of, issuance, denial, or revocation of vanity plates or decals.

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This page was updated on Tuesday, April 03, 2012