Are dirt bikes considered as an off-road vehicle? 2 Answers as of May 15, 2014

In Sonora California, a private gravel road with about 40 houses is maintained by owners. We're in a forested area. At this time, we do not allow off-road vehicles. Is a dirt bike considered an off-road vehicle?

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Dessy & Dessy, a Professional Corporation | Ronald D. Dessy
The short answer to your question is that any vehicle driven off-road is an off-road vehicle. And any vehicle driven on the gravel road only is not an off-road vehicle, unless your CC&Rs provide a more precise definition of that term. Whether you can or cannot allow off-road vehicles depends in part on whether all parcels served by the road are identified as being subject to any CC&Rs governing the community which adequately define off-road vehicles as well as the exact terms and conditions that were apart of the subdivision approval. This issue comes up frequently in the context of communities wanting to gate their road to preclude off-road trespassers, which occasionally involve court actions due to the difficulty of obtaining unanimous approval when required for for desired amendments to the CC&Rs.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/15/2014
Lawyer for Independent Media
Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
If this is a private homeowners association, they will make the rules and define things as they see fit. Usually a non-motorized bike is not considered an off-road vehicle. It is usually the motor noise, erosion, and danger of motorized vehicles that a homeowners group is trying to avoid. For the sake of liability, the group may want to allow only homeowners and their guests to ride bikes on the property. The homeowners may also not want to allow ramps, jumping, and other stunts. They may also want to require a waiver of liability signed by all bike riders and their parents and by each homeowner. They may also want to post signs saying that bike riding is at the bike rider's risk. If the property is owned and run by the homeowners, their association can create the rules that suit them. Encouraging the residents and their children is good. Creating a nuisance is bad.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/15/2014
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