Off-road vehicles and side-by-sides are extremely popular in the Upper Peninsula, but they can be dangerous. Michigan had almost 300 ORV/ATV crashed on public roadways last year.
â??The ATV side-by-sides are designed for off-road useâ?? said Cpl. Errol Lukkarinen, Marquette County Sheriff's Office. â??I believe 40% of fatalities related to ORV use were operated on the roadways.â??
Side-by-sides are not to be driven on state and federal roads, but some roads are fair game.
â??The ordinance states that you can drive your ORV/ATV to and from a trailâ?? said Lukkarinen. â??That does not mean that you can drive your four-wheeler to football practice or to school.â??
You also are not necessarily required to wear a helmet and a seatbelt.
â??If you do not have a windshield, then you have to wear eye protection and still wear your seatbelt or you have the option to wear a helmet and a face shield and not use a seatbeltâ?? said Robert Taylor, owner of Adventure Center Arctic Cat.
There are age limits, as well.
â??You also have to be 16 years old with a valid driver's licenseâ?? said Taylor. â??You cannot put somebody without a license on the roads with a motor vehicle.â??
Children ages 12 to 16 can drive side-by-sides with adult supervision. They also are required to take a safety course.
â??We just want to make sure everybody is safe out there and wearing the proper gear, making sure that they are following the rules of the roadsâ?? said Lukkarinen.
To find out if you can ride side-by-sides in your county, contact your local police department.