2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
January 31, 2014 - Introduced by Representatives Mursau, Swearingen, A. Ott,
Bies, Kestell, Strachota, Krug, T. Larson, Brooks and Petryk, cosponsored
by Senators Gudex and L. Taylor. Referred to Committee on Natural
Resources and Sporting Heritage.
1An Act to amend
15.09 (1) (a), 23.09 (23) (a), 23.119 (1) (b), 23.33 (4z) (title), 23.33 2
(5m) (title), 23.33 (5m) (c) (intro.), 23.33 (5m) (c) 2., 23.33 (5m) (c) 3., 23.35 (1) 3
(intro.), 23.35 (1) (a), 23.35 (1) (b), 23.35 (1) (e), 23.35 (2), 23.45 (1) (d), 23.50 (1), 4
23.50 (3), 23.53 (1), 23.56 (1), 23.57 (1) (intro.), 23.58, 23.62 (1) (intro.), 25.29 5
(1) (a), 30.26 (4) (title), 30.26 (4) (a) (intro.), 30.26 (4) (b), 30.29 (1) (b), 46.03 (18) 6
(f), 59.54 (14) (g), 70.11 (45m), 71.05 (6) (b) 44., 71.26 (1) (g), 71.45 (1) (b), 77.51 7
(13s), 77.61 (1) (a), 77.61 (1) (b), 77.61 (1) (c), 77.73 (2), 78.01 (2) (e), 78.01 (2m) 8
(f), 78.40 (1), 78.75 (1m) (a) 2m., 78.75 (1m) (a) 3., 100.48 (2), 100.48 (3) (a), 9
100.48 (4) (c), 110.07 (1) (a) 1., 110.07 (3), 322.111, 344.61 (1), 345.11 (1r), 346.66 10
(1) (c), 346.71 (1), 346.71 (2), 346.94 (1), 800.02 (2) (b), 814.63 (3m) (a), 814.65 11
(4m) (a), 885.235 (1m), 885.235 (4), 895.043 (6), 895.049, 901.053, 938.17 (1) 12
(intro.), 940.09 (1m) (b), 940.09 (3), 940.25 (1m) (b), 940.25 (3), 973.06 (1) (j) and 13
973.09 (2) (a) 1. d.; and to create
15.09 (1) (c), 15.347 (10), 20.370 (1) (jb), 20.370 14
(3) (ay), 20.370 (5) (cz), 23.119 (1) (at), 23.179, 23.335, 23.45 (1) (d) 3., 25.40 (1)
(bt), 100.48 (1) (bg), 100.48 (1) (br), 341.059, 343.05 (4) (b) 1m., 347.24 (1) (d) and 2
938.343 (9m) of the statutes; relating to: operation of off-highway
3motorcycles, granting rule-making authority, providing penalties, and making
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) administers
the laws regulating the operation and registration of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and
utility terrain vehicles (UTVs). This bill establishes requirements for the operation
and registration of off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) that are similar to the
requirements that apply under current law to ATVs and UTVs. The bill defines an
OHM as a motorcycle that is designed for off-highway operation, regardless of
whether it is also designed for on-highway operation.
This bill requires DNR to develop, encourage, and supervise a system of OHM
trails and routes in a similar manner that exists under current law for ATV and UTV
trails and routes. The bill defines an "OHM trail" to be a corridor on lands open to
the public for recreational OHM use. The bill defines an "OHM route" to be a
highway or sidewalk open to recreational OHM use. The bill allows DNR to establish
standards and procedures for certifying the designation of OHM trails. As under
current law applicable to ATV trails, this bill allows a county, city, village, or town
(local governmental unit) or DNR to designate OHM routes and corridors through
land that it owns or controls for use as OHM trails. Moneys for these OHM projects
undertaken by DNR or local governmental units under this system, for enforcement
of OHM laws, and for the safety grants as described below, may be appropriated from
the general fund. In providing funding for these projects, DNR must give priority to
trails, routes, and other facilities that are open only for use by OHMs.
OHM registration and trail passes
This bill distinguishes OHMs that are registered by the Department of
Transportation (D0T) from those that are not. The bill does not restrict the owner
of an OHM from registering the OHM with DOT for highway use. However, if an
owner wishes to operate an OHM off the highway, the owner must register the OHM
with DNR and pay an annual registration fee. As to operation on OHM routes, the
owner must register the OHM with DNR unless the OHM route is on a highway, as
opposed to a sidewalk, and the OHM is registered with DOT. The owner of an OHM
may register it with DNR for public use on trails and routes and other areas open for
public use. The owner may register an OHM for private use if its use will be limited
to operation for agricultural purposes and operation by the owner or a member of his
or her family on land that is owned or leased by the owner or a family member. The
fee for registration for private use is lower. The bill includes exemptions from this
registration requirement which are similar to those exemptions under current law
for ATVs and UTVs. The bill also requires a person who sells OHMs for a profit at
retail to register with DNR as an OHM dealer. These registration fees are placed in
the transportation fund.
If a person will be operating an OHM off the highways that is not registered
with DNR, or that is not exempt from DNR registration, the person must pay a fee
and be issued an annual nonresident trail pass by DNR in order to operate the OHM
on an OHM trail or other corridors that are open to the public for the recreational use
The bill imposes various restrictions on the operation of limited use OHMs that
are similar to those imposed on ATVs and UTVs. Basically, limited use OHMs are
not allowed on the roadway portion of a highway except as is necessary to cross
highways. They are also allowed on highways that are designated as OHM routes
or that are only minimally maintained on a seasonal basis for regular motor vehicle
traffic. The bill regulates the operation of OHMs on areas that are adjacent to
roadways of highways, and imposes a ten miles per hour speed limit when the OHM
is within 150 feet of a dwelling, within 100 feet of a person who is not in or on a
motorized vehicle, or within 100 feet of a fishing shanty.
This bill creates an intoxicated operation law that applies to OHM routes,
trails, and other off-highway places that are open to the recreational use of OHMs.
Under the law, a person may not operate an OHM with an alcohol concentration of
0.08 or more. This bill requires an OHM operator to submit to certain screening tests
if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that the operator is
operating the OHM under the influence of alcohol. These provisions are similar to
the provisions in current law relating to the operation of an ATV or UTV while under
the influence of an intoxicant, except that the intoxicated operation law does not
apply to the use of controlled substances.
Under this bill, a person need not have an operator's license issued by DOT in
order to operate an OHM off the highways and need not carry liability insurance on
the OHM. With limited exceptions, a person riding on an OHM must wear a helmet
when riding off the highways unless he or she is at least 18 years old.
OHM operation; age restrictions
Under this bill, a person under the age of 12 may not operate an OHM on a
highway under any circumstance and may operate an OHM off a highway only if he
or she is operating a small OHM and he or she is under continuous verbal direction
or control of a parent or guardian or of an adult who has been designated by the
parent or guardian. The bill defines a "small OHM" to be one that has an engine
certified at not more than 100 cubic centimeters or that has an equivalent power unit.
Also, under the bill, anyone who is at least 12 of age and who was born after January
1, 1998, must hold a valid safety certificate issued upon completion of the safety
instruction program described below. These age restrictions do not apply to the
operation of OHMs on private property if the property owner has given consent and
does not hold out the property to the public for OHM use.
This bill requires DNR to establish a safety certification program on OHM laws
and related subjects and to issue certificates to persons who successfully complete
the program. These requirements are similar to the requirements that apply under
current law concerning programs of instruction for operators of ATVs and UTVs.
No person who rents limited use OHMs to the public (OHM renter) may rent
a limited use OHM to a person under 12 years of age. Also, an OHM renter may not
rent a limited use OHM without first making sure that any person under the age of
18 who will be on the OHM has a motorcycle helmet that meets federal standards.
OHM safety grant program and landowner incentive program
This bill requires DNR to establish a program to award grants to organizations
that promote the operation of OHM vehicles in a manner that is safe and responsible
and that does not harm the environment. An organization that receives a grant
under this program must use the grant moneys to promote and provide support to
the program of instruction on OHM laws.
The bill also requires DNR to establish a program under which landowners
receive payments for opening their lands for OHM trails and other corridors for
recreational OHM use. Fees collected for the issuance of nonresident trail passes are
appropriated for making these payments.
Off-highway motorcycle council
The bill creates the Off-Highway Motorcycle Council (council), consisting of
five members who must be members of OHM clubs. The bill authorizes the council
to make recommendations to DNR on matters relating to OHM trails and routes and
on other matters relating to the operation of OHMs.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
15.09 (1) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Unless otherwise provided by law, the governor shall appoint the 3
members of councils for terms prescribed by law. Except as provided in par. pars.
(b) 4and (c)
, fixed terms shall expire on July 1 and shall, if the term is for an even number 5
of years, expire in an odd-numbered year.
15.09 (1) (c) of the statutes is created to read:
(c) The terms of the members of the off-highway motorcycle council 8
shall expire on March 1.
15.347 (10) of the statutes is created to read:
15.347 (10) Off-highway motorcycle council.
(a) There is created in the 2
department of natural resources an off-highway motorcycle council consisting of 5 3
members who are residents of this state and who are appointed for 3-year terms 4
expiring March 1.
(b) Each member of the off-highway motorcycle council shall be a resident of 6
this state, shall be a member of and represent the interests of an off-highway 7
motorcycle club, as defined in s. 23.335 (1) (r), and shall be knowledgeable about 8
outdoor recreation issues in this state and about trails used by operators of 9
(c) The off-highway motorcycle council shall meet at least 3 times annually.
20.005 (3) (schedule) of the statutes: at the appropriate place, insert 12
the following amounts for the purposes indicated:
- See PDF for table
20.370 (1) (jb) of the statutes is created to read:
(jb) Off-highway motorcycle administration.
From the general fund, 15
a sum sufficient equal to the amount determined under s. 23.335 (20) (a) for the 16
purposes specified under 23.335 (20) (b) and (d), for issuing and renewing 17
off-highway motorcycle registration under s. 23.335 (3), (4), and (5), for grants under
the safety grant program under s. 23.335 (15), and for state and local law 2
enforcement operations related to off-highway motorcycles.
20.370 (3) (ay) of the statutes is created to read:
(ay) Off-highway motorcycle safety certification program.
moneys remitted to the department under s. 23.335 (14) for the off-highway 6
motorcycle safety certification program under s. 23.335 (14).
20.370 (5) (cz) of the statutes is created to read:
(cz) Recreation aids — off-highway motorcycle landowner incentive
Biennially, the amounts in the schedule for incentive payments to 10
landowners for public all-terrain vehicle corridors under s. 23.335 (16). All moneys 11
received by the department under s. 23.335 (16) shall be credited to this 12
23.09 (23) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) In this subsection, "approval" means any type of approval or 15
authorization issued by the department under ch. 29, subch. V. of ch. 30, or s. 23.33 16
(2), 23.335 (3) or (5),
27.01, or 350.12, including a license, permit, certificate, stamp, 17
tag, registration, or vehicle admission receipt.
23.119 (1) (at) of the statutes is created to read:
(at) "Off-highway motorcycle" has the meaning given in s. 23.335 20
23.119 (1) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
(b) "Off-highway vehicle" means a motor-driven craft or vehicle 23
principally manufactured for off-highway use but does not include a snowmobile, an 24
all-terrain vehicle, or
utility terrain vehicle, or an off-highway motorcycle