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Off-Highway Vehicle Unit

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Laws for the OHV Operator

You must have one of the following when operating any type of Motorized off-highway vehicle on public land:

  • A green or red sticker issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
  • A non-resident OHV permit.
  • A street legal license plate for four-wheel drive vehicles and dual-sport motorcycles.
  • No OHV shall exceed 15 mph within 50 feet of any campground, concentration of people or animals.
  • All motorcycles must be equipped with a U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrester, and muffler. The OHV must also comply with the state's noise regulation. CVC 38370.
  • OHVs operated between sunset and sunrise must have at least one headlight that allows the operator to see for 200 feet and one red taillight visible for 200 feet.
  • Paved roads may be crossed at right angles to the direction of the highway.
  • It is illegal to possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage while riding or operating an off-highway vehicle.

For further information on a complete listing of OHV LAWS, see Division 16.5 of California Vehicle Code or visit the OHV web site:

Madera County Sheriff's Specialized OHV Enforcement Unit

Off-Highway Enforcement

The Madera County Sheriff’s OHV UNIT is an effective deterrent to illegal off-highway riding, providing extensive off-highway and on-road law enforcement throughout the county of Madera. The unit enforces laws pertaining to off-highway vehicle operations, illegal shooting, stolen vehicles/OHVs, area searches and patrol checks at parks and other recreational areas.

Search and Rescue

The Madera County Sheriff’s OHV UNIT is outfitted with specialized vehicles and equipment to respond to medical emergencies remote and rugged terrain. The Madera County OHV Unit will assist the Department’s Search and Rescue Unit when requested.

Public Awareness

The Madera County Sheriff’s OHV Unit provides personnel and equipment to schools, county fairs, civic groups. The unit frequently hosts public meetings and off-road events to address current state and local laws governing off-road vehicle riding.


  • HONDA BIG RED MUV, nicknamed “SHREK,” for its color. This MUV/UTV, equipped with lights and siren, was purchased to assist the OHV unit in patrolling the trails, riverbeds, and other off-highway terrain, as well as transport injured riders and hikers. It is also equipped to assist Search & Rescue in transporting injured parties.
  • 3 Suzuki DRZ-400’s dual sport motorcycles – two were purchased under the 2009/2010 OHV Grant, the third was donated to the unit in 2001. These motorcycles are well suited for the unit's needs and they are equipped with emergency lights and siren.
  • 1 HONDA RINCON SPORT UTILITY ATV 680, 4X4, equipped with lights and siren, is used for patrolling trails, riverbeds and other off-highway terrain and equipped to assist Search and Rescue.
  • 1 Open trailer, 16x7 -- custom built to haul the HONDA RINCON and the HONDA MUV “SHREK”.
  • 1 Motorcycle trailer capable of hauling three motorcycles or one ATV. This trailer was financed by an OHV Grant that launched the Sheriff’s program back in 2000.
  • 3 Garmin handheld GPS units.

OHV Team