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APD and Game and Fish Partner to Enforce Off-Highway Vehicles Traveling Illegally on City Streets

Officers from both agencies will also enforce OHVs in restricted areas

Monday, Dec. 20, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE – The Albuquerque Police Department announced Monday it has teamed up with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to increase efforts on enforcing off-highway vehicles (OHV) traveling illegally on city streets and in restricted areas.

“Our community lost a bright young life due to someone’s flagrant disregard for traffic laws while in a non-street-legal vehicle.” said Mayor Tim Keller. “Today, we are launching an offensive to get these illegal vehicles off our streets. With the support of our State partners, we’re dedicating new resources and personnel hours to crack down on this continued danger.”

As APD has seen a significant increase in OHVs traveling through the city of Albuquerque, the department has launched a tac plan to focus significant resources on the issue.

In conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, APD’s Motors Unit, Open Space Division, and Air Support will increase patrols and be on the lookout for off-highway vehicles. Through the Off-Highway Vehicle Act grant program, administered by Game and Fish, the state will provide support through funding for covering overtime costs to address OHV vehicles.

Officers who spot an OHV on city streets or in restricted areas will cite the driver and have the vehicle towed.

“Our officers have seen a significant increase in off-highway vehicles traveling illegally on city streets and in restricted areas, tragically, someone operating such a vehicle, claimed the life of a young child from our community,” said Deputy Chief Mike Smathers. “We have enlisted the necessary resources to enforce drivers who have chosen to violate state law.

NM Game and Fish remains the governing body for OHV regulation. Under New Mexico’s OHV Act (66-3-1001 through 66-3-1021) defines and applies to All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) with handlebars and straddle seating; Recreational Off-highway Vehicles (ROVs aka side-by-sides) with a steering wheel and side-by-side seating; off-highway motorcycles (OHMs aka dirt bikes) with two wheels, straddle seating, and handlebars; and snowmobiles.

“It is important for everyone to know the local and state laws before they head out on an OHV,” said Conservation Officer Desi Ortiz. “On our website, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish maintains a list of every county and municipality with paved road use ordinances. If your municipality is not listed, it is likely not legal, and best to check with local authorities to verify ordinances before riding.”

Anyone under the age of 18 riding in or on any kind of off-highway vehicle (ATV, dirt bike, ROV, or snowmobile) on public lands in New Mexico is required to wear an approved helmet and eye protection. The OHV Act requires that anyone operating an ROV or ATV on a paved road where allowed also shall have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance, and must wear approved eye protection.

The Act allows for paved road use of ROVs or ATVs only where local governments such as counties and municipalities have passed an ordinance or resolution permitting operation on paved roads in their jurisdiction.

Neither Albuquerque nor Bernalillo County have passed a paved road use ordinance and are not expected to do so. Violators are subject to penalties of at least $200 per citation plus court fees.

You can find more information, including a list of OHV laws, safety information, and responsible riding in New Mexico at