2007 California Vehicle Code Article 1. Motor Vehicles Subject To Identification
CA Codes (veh:38010-38030)
38010. (a) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), every
motor vehicle specified in Section 38012 that is not registered under
this code because it is to be operated or used exclusively off the
highways, except as provided in this division, shall be issued and
display an identification plate or device issued by the department.
(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to any of the following:
(1) Motor vehicles specifically exempted from registration under
this code, including, but not limited to, motor vehicles exempted
pursuant to Sections 4006, 4010, 4012, 4013, 4015, 4018, and 4019.
(2) Implements of husbandry.
(3) Motor vehicles owned by the state, or any county, city,
district, or political subdivision of the state, or the United
(4) Motor vehicles owned or operated by, or operated under
contract with a utility, whether privately or publicly owned, when
used as specified in Section 22512.
(5) Special construction equipment described in Section 565,
regardless of whether those motor vehicles are used in connection
with highway or railroad work.
(6) A motor vehicle with a currently valid special permit issued
under Section 38087.5 that is owned or operated by a nonresident of
this state and the vehicle is not identified or registered in a
foreign jurisdiction. For the purposes of this paragraph, a person
who holds a valid driver's license issued by a foreign jurisdiction
is presumed to be a nonresident.
(7) Commercial vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds unladen.
(8) Any motorcycle manufactured in the year 1942 or prior.
(9) Four-wheeled motor vehicles operated solely in organized
racing or competitive events upon a closed course when those events
are conducted under the auspices of a recognized sanctioning body or
by permit issued by the local governmental authority having
(10) A motor vehicle with a currently valid identification or
registration permit issued by another state.
38012. (a) As used in this division, "off-highway motor vehicle
subject to identification" means a motor vehicle subject to the
provisions of subdivision (a) of Section 38010.
(b) As used in this division, "off-highway motor vehicle"
includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) Any motorcycle or motor-driven cycle, except for any
motorcycle which is eligible for a special transportation
identification device issued pursuant to Section 38088.
(2) Any snowmobile or other vehicle designed to travel over snow
or ice, as defined in Section 557.
(3) Any motor vehicle commonly referred to as a sand buggy, dune
buggy, or all-terrain vehicle.
(4) Any motor vehicle commonly referred to as a jeep.
38013. Unless otherwise provided, the terms "identification" and
"identification certificate" shall have the same meaning as the terms
"registration" and "registration card," respectively, as used in
Division 3 (commencing with Section 4000).
38014. As used in this division, "closed course" includes, but is
not limited to, a speedway, racetrack, or a prescribed and defined
route of travel on or off a highway that is closed to all motor
vehicles other than those of participants. A closed course is one
which is not available at any time for vehicular access by the
38020. Except as otherwise provided in this division, no person
shall operate, transport, or leave standing any off-highway motor
vehicle subject to identification under this code which is not
registered under the provisions of Division 3 (commencing with
Section 4000), unless it is identified under the provisions of this
chapter. A violation of this section is an infraction. Riding in
violation of seasons established by Section 2412(f) and 2415 of Title
13 of the California Code of Regulations constitutes a violation of
this section. This section shall not apply to the operation,
transportation, or leaving standing of an off-highway vehicle
pursuant to a valid special permit.
38021. (a) A manufacturer, dealer, or distributor, or his agent,
owning or lawfully possessing any off-highway motor vehicle of a type
otherwise required to be identified hereunder may operate or use
such vehicle without an identification certificate and plate or
device upon condition that each such vehicle is accompanied by a
special permit issued to the manufacturer, dealer, or distributor as
provided in this division.
(b) Persons licensed pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with
Section 11700) of Chapter 4 of Division 5 need not obtain such a
permit provided the vehicle is operated or used under special plates
issued to the licensee.
38022. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 4000, motorcycles
issued a special transportation identification device pursuant to
Section 38088 may be transported upon a highway to and from a closed
38025. In accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 4000, a motor
vehicle issued a plate or device pursuant to Section 38160 may be
operated or driven upon a highway but only as follows:
(a) On a two-lane highway, only to cross the highway at an angle
of approximately 90 degrees to the direction of the roadway and at a
place where a quick and safe crossing may be made, or only when the
roadway is not maintained by snow removal equipment and is closed to
motor vehicles that are subject to registration pursuant to Division
3 (commencing with Section 4000), or only to cross a highway in the
manner specified in subdivision (b).
(b) With respect to the crossing of a highway having more than two
lanes, or a highway having limited access, a motor vehicle may cross
a highway but only at a place designated by the Department of
Transportation or local authorities with respect to a highway under
their respective jurisdictions as a place where a motor vehicle, or
specified types of motor vehicle, may cross a highway, and a vehicle
shall cross the highway only at that designated place and only in a
quick and safe manner.
(c) The Department of Transportation and local authorities with
respect to a highway under their respective jurisdictions may
designate, by the erection of an appropriate sign of a type approved
by the Department of Transportation, a place where a motor vehicle,
or specified type of motor vehicle, may cross a highway having more
than two lanes or having limited access.
(d) A motor vehicle identified pursuant to Section 38010 may be
towed upon a highway, but not driven, if the vehicle displays a plate
or device issued pursuant to Section 38160.
(e) A motorcycle identified pursuant to Section 38010 may be
pushed upon a highway, but not ridden, if the motorcycle has
displayed upon it a plate or device issued pursuant to Section 38160.
(f) A peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with
Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the Penal Code, may operate or
drive an off-highway vehicle identified pursuant to Section 38010
upon a highway in an emergency response situation.
38026. (a) In addition to Section 38025 and after complying with
subdivision (c) of this section, if a local authority, an agency of
the federal government, or the Director of Parks and Recreation finds
that a highway, or a portion thereof, under the jurisdiction of the
authority, agency, or the director, as the case may be, is located in
a manner that provides a connecting link between off-highway motor
vehicle trail segments, between an off-highway motor vehicle
recreational use area and necessary service facilities, or between
lodging facilities and an off-highway motor vehicle recreational
facility and if it is found that the highway is designed and
constructed so as to safely permit the use of regular vehicular
traffic and also the driving of off-highway motor vehicles on that
highway, the local authority, by resolution or ordinance, agency of
the federal government, or the Director of Parks and Recreation, as
the case may be, may designate that highway, or a portion thereof,
for combined use and shall prescribe rules and regulations therefor.
No highway, or portion thereof, shall be so designated for a
distance of more than three miles. No freeway shall be designated
under this section.
(b) The Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission may
propose highway segments for consideration by local authorities, an
agency of the federal government, or the Director of Parks and
Recreation for combined use.
(c) Prior to designating a highway or portion thereof on the
motion of the local authority, an agency of the federal government,
or the Director of Parks and Recreation, or as a recommendation of
the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission, a local
authority, an agency of the federal government, or the Director of
Parks and Recreation shall notify the Commissioner of the California
Highway Patrol, and shall not designate any segment pursuant to
subdivision (a) which, in the opinion of the commissioner, would
create a potential traffic safety hazard.
(d) A designation of a highway, or a portion thereof, under
subdivision (a) shall become effective upon the erection of
appropriate signs of a type approved by the Department of
Transportation on and along the highway, or portion thereof.
The cost of the signs shall be reimbursed from the Off-Highway
Vehicle Trust Fund, when appropriated by the Legislature, or by
expenditure of funds from a grant or cooperative agreement made
pursuant to Section 5090.50 of the Public Resources Code.
38026.5. (a) In accordance with subdivision (c) of Section 4000, a
motor vehicle issued a plate or device pursuant to Section 38160 may
be operated or driven on a local highway, or a portion thereof,
which is designated pursuant to Section 38026 if the operation is in
conformance with the Vehicle Code and the vehicle complies with
off-highway vehicle equipment requirements specified in this
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), it is unlawful for any person
using an off-highway vehicle on a combined-use highway to do any of
(1) Operate an off-highway motor vehicle on the highway during the
hours of darkness.
(2) Operate any vehicle on the highway which does not have an
(3) Operate any vehicle on the highway which does not have rubber
(4) Operate any vehicle without a valid driver's license of the
appropriate class for the vehicle operation in possession.
(5) Operate any vehicle on the highway without complying with the
provisions of Article 2 (commencing with Section 16020) of Chapter 1
of Division 7.
38027. Motor-driven cycles issued a plate or device pursuant to
Section 38160 may be moved, by nonmechanical means only, adjacent to
a roadway, in such a manner so as to not interfere with traffic upon
the highway, only for the purpose of gaining access to, or returning
from, areas designed for the operation of off-highway vehicles, when
no other route is available. The Department of Transportation or
local authority may designate access routes leading to off-highway
parks as suitable for the operation of off-highway vehicles, if such
access routes are available to the general public only for pedestrian
and off-highway motor vehicle travel.
38030. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 38020, an
unidentified off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification may
be left standing upon a highway or public or private property
adjacent to the place of business of a dealer of such motor vehicles
when done so in connection with the loading and unloading or storage
of such vehicles to be used in the dealer's business, unless already
prohibited by law.
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