Maine off-road motorcyclists and dual sport riders now have clear-cut guidelines for using the state's designated all-terrain-vehicle trails and private dirt roads, thanks to the efforts of the American Motorcyclist Association and the AMA-chartered Maine Dual Sport & Dirt Bike Association.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Maine off-road motorcyclists and dual sport riders now have clear-cut guidelines for using the state's designated all-terrain-vehicle trails and private dirt roads, thanks to the efforts of the American Motorcyclist Association and the AMA-chartered Maine Dual Sport & Dirt Bike Association.
Maine's ATV trails encompass the roughly 6,500 miles of trails that have been mapped, designated and supported by the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry. Private dirt roads are owned by individuals or by industrial forest or agricultural companies. The roads provide access for their owners and, often, recreational use for others.
"Dual sport riders rely heavily on the goodwill of landowners, large and small, to allow us to use their dirt roads, as they do passenger vehicles, so long as we follow their rules regarding off road and trail use," said Steve Salisbury, AMA's government relations manager for off-highway issues. "Unfortunately, Maine is struggling with changes to its longstanding open lands tradition as a result of changing ownership patterns and a handful of recreational users of all sorts abusing their privileges."
The AMA and the MEDSDBA worked with state officials for months seeking clarification of the rights of riders on street-registered motorcycles.
"Maine Dual Sport and Dirt Bike Association is pleased to have initiated state agency discussions on this issue and now announce their clarification of Maine's longstanding dual sport, dual registration discussion," said Brian Pratt, club president. "Our organization attended a meeting in Augusta with representatives from several state agencies. That meeting, and follow up work by all, resulted in a clear policy for Maine's dual sport riders to follow.
One of the first results of that meeting was an agreement between the state Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife that dual sport motorcycles can be legally dual-registered with a white plate for street use and an ATV sticker for off-road riding.
On March 5, Cpl. Rick Laflamme, landowner relations officer for the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, presented these guidelines.
"If your dirt bike is legally registered for the road, you can operate on ATV trails if the landowner lets you," Laflamme said. "Some landowners and managers require ATV registrations, even though it may not be a requirement of the law, and if you operate a street-legal dirt bike on their land, you could be summonsed for trespassing if you are not registered as an ATV."
"We're pleased that state agencies agree that white-plated motorcycles can operate on private dirt roads if there is no landowner restriction against them, instead of ticketing them as ATVs operating illegally off trails, as has happened in the past," Pratt said.
"If you operate a registered dirt bike as an ATV, or street-legal dirt bike as a motorcycle, you can operate on an ATV trail, if the landowner or manager does not have additional prohibitions," Laflamme said.
Pratt cautioned that, "If you ride those bikes on an ATV trail that has a motorcycle prohibition, or if you have been verbally warned by the land owner or manager, you are subject to a trespassing citation."
Maine Dual Sport & Dirt Bike Association recommends registering your dual sport motorcycle with an ATV sticker if you intend to ride on the state ATV trails. ATV clubs and the state of Maine have invested thousands of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars into building the largest public ATV trail system in the country, and MEDSDBA believes in supporting it.