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In this blog post, we will explain the basics of the law on street-legal use of ATV and UTV in New Mexico, based on the New Mexico Statutes and the information from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. If you’re an avid off-road enthusiast or considering purchasing an ATV or UTV, it’s important to understand the regulations and restrictions surrounding these vehicles. Let’s delve into the key aspects of street-legal requirements and where you can legally ride your ATV or UTV in this state.
1. Can I register my ATV or UTV as street-legal in New Mexico?
No, you cannot register your ATV or UTV as street-legal in New Mexico. This means they cannot be legally operated on public roads and highways in New Mexico, except if designated by proper authority. This means that you will need to have special permission from the local government or the state transportation commission to operate your ATV or UTV on a paved road or highway.
ATVs and UTVs are permitted for use as offroad vehicles in New Mexico, and there are some exceptions to the street legal policy at the county or city level, or under special circumstances outlined below.
2. Why does New Mexico not allow ATVs or UTVs to register as street-legal?
The state of New Mexico does not allow ATVs or UTVs as street-legal because these are designed for off-road use and do not meet the minimum safety standards for on-road vehicles, and operating them on a public road or highway poses a risk to other road users.
3. Where can I legally ride my ATV or UTV in New Mexico?
You can legally ride your ATV or UTV in the state of New Mexico on any public land that is open for OHV use. This includes:
- State parks: There are 10 state parks in New Mexico that offer OHV trails and facilities. You can find more information about each park here.
- State trust lands: There are over 9 million acres of state trust lands in New Mexico that are open for OHV use with a valid permit. You can obtain a permit online here.
- National forests: There are 5 national forests in New Mexico that have designated OHV routes and areas.
- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands: There are over 13 million acres of BLM lands in New Mexico that have designated OHV trails and areas. You can find more information about each district here
- Other public lands: There may be other public lands in New Mexico that are open for OHV use with permission from the land manager. You should always check with the local authority before riding your OHV on any public land.
Additionally, while ATVs and UTVs are generally prohibited on public roads, the state of New Mexico has provided for a few exemptions, such as:
- Crossing a street or road that is not a limited-access highway or freeway after stopping and yielding to traffic.
- Operating on a paved road or highway if it is part of a designated trail system or if it is necessary to reach an authorized area for OHV use.
While these provisions are provided by the New Mexico Statutes, local authorities may still enforce ordinances that allow or restrict the use of ATVs on roads under their jurisdiction. That said, it is best to check with the local authorities to know about local regulations.
4. If I register my ATV or UTV in another state, can I drive it on New Mexico roads? (Registration Reciprocity)
Yes, if your ATV or UTV is registered in another state, you can drive it on New Mexico roads because the state of New Mexico honors Registration Reciprocity.
Each state has its own specific laws and regulations regarding the registration and operation of ATVs and UTVs. Therefore, even if your vehicle is registered as street-legal in another state, it does not exempt you from New Mexico’s laws and restrictions. Always check with your local motor vehicle licensing office for accurate information on the regulations relating to the use of ATVs and UTVS in public roads under their jurisdiction. Click here to view ATV & UTV laws in other states.
5. How can I make my ATV (or UTV) street legal in New Mexico?
Generally speaking, you cannot make your ATV or UTV street legal in New Mexico as the state’s legal code does not allow for this, but if your ATV or UTV is legally registered in another state, then you may drive it on New Mexico public roads and highways.
However, if you would like the opportunity to be able to register your ATV or UTV as street-legal and ride it on public roads and highways in states that will allow it, we have partnered with Dirtlegal.com. These guys can help get your ATV or UTV to register as street-legal in most states by registering it in another state that does allow street legal UTVs and ATVs, via “registration reciprocity” between the states.
ATVs and UTVs are not street legal in New Mexico and cannot be registered as such with the state. These are also generally prohibited for use on public roads and highways with a few exemptions. However, if your ATV or UTV is registered as street-legal in another state, you may be able to drive it on New Mexico roads.
While this article has provided a comprehensive overview of the street-legal laws on ATVs and UTVs in this state, it is important that you consult your local motor vehicle licensing office for more specific and accurate information regarding ATV and UTV regulations. Because state laws can change over time and regulations differ between jurisdictions, the information presented here may not provide the most up-to-date or region-specific details.
Remember that street legality is determined by state and local laws, and it is your responsibility as an ATV or UTV owner to ensure that you are operating your vehicle within the legal boundaries while also getting the most fun out of it.