So, now that the weather is getting nice, you may have said to yourself, “Self, Where can I ride my side by side that I just bought?” You might think, “Hey, can I just put a plate on it and drive it like a car?” Which is a good thought because some new side by sides are nicer than some cars I have owned, and they ride better; but can I actually drive it down the road like a car? Wait, do I have a UTV (which sounds too much like a medical condition), or; do I have an ATV, or am I just a QUAD person?

I have never looked into this before since my old 4-wheeler is a 1986 and according to state law I don’t even need a title for it, and I know I can’t drive it on the road. (Hmmm, and no title?..what if someone steals it? I will have to look into that later)

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This “Off Road” but on the road adventure requires a serious amount of reading, and I don’t just mean researching the best machine for you, but all the rules, regulations, definitions and the like.

Pour a tall cup of your favorite beverage and let’s dig in on how we can get some gas in this thing and get moving.

 And already here we are on our first stop in this adventure just trying to make sure our machine is legal for roads and trails.

Whew, I was exhausted just trying to define the ATV – The UTV – the QUAD, and motorcycle options – but I think that was a good first stop. So at least your machine is legal. Yes, you can get license plates and drive certain vehicles on certain roads – but now there are two snags – 1st – will my insurance cover me on the roadways? So now I know too, it is totally illegal to ride/drive/hop on any of these machines without insurance and proper licensing, and if I get all that-

What are the local rules and is there a map on restrictions and restricted roadway use in Lapeer County? I am glad you asked. By the way, read to at least Section 7 because

then you’ll know where Lapeer County stands because no taxpayer of Lapeer is going to pay any money for ANY injury or damage to you or your vehicle, again - (Section 7).

There are more questions you have to ask yourself, do I own a UTV (which still sounds like a medical condition, but is actually a Utility Terrain Vehicle), is it an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) is it an old school “Quad.”?

I don’t have to trailer it up north do I? Where can I ride around here?


Here’s what the state of Michigan has to say about the bare minimum of license and safety gear for operations of your ORV, no matter where you ride in the state.

I know, this fun time has more rules than a kindergarten milk and cookie snack break.


It’s latest thing, side by side rides. Groups of people making their way to events, beaches and even just going out to dinner is at an all-time high, and it “on” or “in” a side by side? Man, now I have to figure that out, I was already tired working on Section 7 and defining the ATV.

Note: This Lapeer ordinance and certainly the map is subject to change as it is an older ordinance – and the local ordinance is backed up by state law, which is also subject to change – but for now we know what we need regarding how you can ride, including how many passengers, helmet and safety goggle requirements and licenses – ANYONE 16 years or older must have a valid driver’s license to operate an ATV/UTV or side by side on the side of the road, unless you have these modifications and these are the roads you can ride on the side..….holy cow, can we just ride already?


Another thing to throw cold water on is the safety part---because death and injuries have gone up as ridership has increased.

With all that, in case you’re ready to ride (I think I need a nap, I cannot absorb that much in one sitting- oh yeah, and I don’t have a side-by-side) but this one is good for all of us, me with the old school QUAD, you with your shiny

new side-by-side that’s worth more than my pick up and now we can ride here in town and all over the state of Michigan with this handy-dandy routes, trails and maps feature from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Let’s ride!

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