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Colorado County Roads Legalize OHVs

I recently came across a tidbit from the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO) about how it is now legal to ride ATVs and dirt bikes on some county roads – specifically in Lake County. Open county roads for quads benefit not only the riders but the residents of the communities where four-wheelers are now legal to operate. I want to use this post to explain the new law and to justify my stance on the subject.

Riding county roads legally

The New Law

According to the Herald-Democrat of Leadville, Colorado, Lake County Commissioners approved an ordinance establishing multi-purpose use on ALL
county roads. Off-highway vehicles are now legal to operate on county roads in order to get to recreational destinations. 


Operators must be legally licensed, vehicles must ride single-file on the right-hand side of the road, and vehicles can only be on public roads during the daylight hours. The exception here is having a working head and taillight present. Violators are subject to $100 fine for the first offense, $500 for the second, and $1000 fine for third-time offenders.

Lake County roads now OHV friendly


Leadville District Ranger Jon Morrissey expressed concern about traffic congestion about the law change. Added ATV traffic may create unsafe conditions, which could lead to increased accidents. Ranger Morrissey also pointed out that ATV tires are not designed for asphalt or concrete surfaces, which could lead to a rise in accidents, as well.

Commissioner Carl Schaefer countered these concerns by pointing out that ATVs have been allowed on county roads for some time now. The change to making it an ordinance simply allows the rules to be enforced.

ATVs on public roads


This is a potential economic plus for Leadville and the Lake County Area. This ordinance will make it easier for the average off-roader to transfer from one riding area to another, which will attract more recreationists to the area. OHV riding is growing in popularity and diversity every year. Lake County is positioned to be more OHV-friendly.

This is a victory for the ATV and dirt bike community. In a time when it seems trails are being taken away by the federal government, a local community has gone the other way, proving to us that they want our ATV business.

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