ÿThe American Motorcyclist Association has expressed its outrage over decisions by the Riverside County, California, Board of Supervisors that would severely restrict the use of off-highway vehicles, even on private land.

On March 28, the Board of Supervisors approved a law that prohibits all OHV riding on private property except for the period from noon to 5 p.m. and requires riders to stay 100 feet from property lines and 250 feet from neighboring homes. The law also allows the use of only one OHV per 10 acres of land, with a maximum of four vehicles on a single parcel, no matter how large the area. To get a conditional use permit allowing more vehicles would cost up to $10,000. These restrictions apply to land in all unincorporated parts of Riverside County, located east of Los Angeles.

At the same meeting, the County Board also gave final approval to a highly restrictive noise regulation that sets maximum allowable sound levels at the property line at 50, 55 or 75 decibels, depending on the zoning of the parcel. That puts allowable noise levels from OHVs well below those commonly produced by highway traffic, air conditioners, or even an electric toothbrush.

The AMA, Off-Road Business Association, EcoLogic, Jack and Jeremy McGrath and others worked hard to defeat these restrictive measures, mounting an education campaign that was successful in getting members of the county Planning Commission to significantly modify parts of the OHV and sound proposals. But when those proposals went before the Board of Supervisors, they reinstated all of the most restrictive elements, and added even more.

“Despite thoughtful comment from national, state, and local rider organizations, small businesses, the California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division and literally hundreds of riders in attendance, the supervisors voted almost unanimously to criminalize families who recreate together on private property while offering no real solutions for penalizing those who are truly riding illegally,” said Edward Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. “I’m stunned that the board would take such draconian measures when its own Planning Commission presented it with a plan that everyone could live with.

“I’m also disappointed that the board refused to base its decision on science presented by sound experts,” Moreland added. “Instead, the board based its decision on the conjecture and hyperbole of a few vocal proponents of the strict law.”

The new law is a major blow to motorcycling because Riverside County is a hotbed of OHV activity. It’s the home and practice ground of racing heroes like Jeremy McGrath, Rick Johnson and Jeff Emig. Honda, Yamaha, KTM, Suzuki and Kawasaki have test facilities there. Plus, the county has some 30 OHV-related businesses and 48,000 registered OHVs. Moreland fears the new law could spark similar measures in California and around the nation.


The American Motorcyclist Association: rights. riding. racing.

Founded in 1924, the AMA is a non-profit organization with more than 270,000 members. The Association’s purpose is to pursue, protect and promote the interests of motorcyclists, while serving the needs of its members. For more information, visit the AMA website at, or call 1-800-AMA-JOIN.

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