Getting Used to the Newest Minnesota ATV Trail Regulations

There’s been a few changes in regards to Minnesota’s Off-Highway Vehicle Regulations in the last 2 years. Some ATV owners are up to date on the regulations, but others may still be in the dark on what they should know as they renew their registration. While we recommend learning the specific guidelines for your favorite trails, we’ve compiled the more recent changes to help keep you aware and safe.

Adding Width into the Classification of ATVs

On July 1st, 2015, Minnesota’s legislation passed a law that redefined how ATVs are classified. In the past, ATVs were classified based on weight and engine size. Now width has been added into the mix, and as a result, this can change where your ATV can be ridden.

Under the new legislation, Minnesota now defines an ATV as a motorized vehicle with:

  • Three to six low-pressure or non-pneumatic tires
  • A total dry weight of 2,000 pounds or less
  • A total width (measured from outside rim of tire rim to outside of tire rim) that is 65 inches or less

If an ATV is 50 inches or less for width, it is considered a Class 1 ATV. A Class 1 ATV is designed for a single operator in which you straddle the machine and use handlebars to steer. A Class 2 ATV has a width of more than 50 inches, but less than 65. Class 2 ATVs are typically designed for the operator and passenger to be seated side by side and may have a steering wheel.

How Does this Affect My Current ATV Registration?

The new classification for an ATV was put into the system in 2016, but no registration change is required until your registration renewal is up. Until then, you may continue to display your current registration. Once you renew, your ATV may be re-classified. Be sure to have the information from the bullets above when you renew your registration.

The good news is there is no cost difference when registering for a Class 1 or a Class 2 (3 year registration is $45 for both), but make sure you’re aware if your class changes based on the new law. For example, if your Class 2 is now defined as a Class 1, you can no longer drive on the shoulder of the road unless equipped with a seat belt and rollover protection.

New for 2017

While it’s not as drastic as the previous law, 2017 also added to the Off-Highway Regulations. Minnesota ATV operators can now purchase a thirty day consecutive day trail pass for $20 as long as the vehicle is not already registered as an off-road vehicle to ride on a designated ORV trail. The pass enables riders to utilize state and grant-in-aid trails rather than registering their ORV. This went into effect on January 1, 2017. This is available for residents of Minnesota and is the same cost as the existing non-resident pass.

A Reminder of Existing ATV Regulations

Let’s not forget the regulations that have stood the test of time. After all, they have helped all ATV drivers stay safe and have fun! Next time you take your ATV out to your favorite trail, keep in mind the essential guidelines.

When Trail Riding:

  • Obey all trail signs
  • All designated trails are two-way unless posted otherwise
  • When passing another trail user you must pass on the left half of the tread-way and only when the trail is free from oncoming traffic to safely pass the other trail user
  • Yield to non-motorized trail users and shut off your engine when meeting a horse until the horse has passed or until waved on
  • When entering or crossing a trail you must yield to trail traffic
  • When two trail users are about to enter an unmarked tread-way intersection from different directions, the trail user to the right has the right-of-way

There you have it! You’re all set to enjoy your ATV this year without the worry of keeping up with recent changes. Follow the regulations and make sure you renew your registration for a stress free, trail-blazing summer with your ATV!