New California rules make most dirt bikes in 2022 illegal on public land

For California offroad riders, the day of math has finally arrived. In California, 2022 off-road bikes that do not comply with the “Green Sticker” emission standard are virtually banned from use on public lands.

Is New rules Articles from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) also include good news for current dirt bike owners. This will be explained later. However, the number of 2022 dirt bikes that can be purchased and registered for off-road recreational riding in California will be much smaller. This can have a huge impact on the off-road riding community and motorcycle dealers.

What’s wrong? I reviewed the CARB documentation and spoke with a representative of the California Off-Road Vehicle Association (Colva), American Motorcyclist Association (Ama) And a local dealer will organize it.

For many Californians, SVRA’s public riding area is the only or best option for off-road recreational riding. The photo is Spencer Robert.

Background: green sticker, red sticker and regulation

If you’re not living in California, the red and green sticker program may be a new concept, so here’s a brief history.

In the mid-1990s, CARB began regulating off-highway recreation vehicles (OHRVs), including dirt bikes, with a mission to reduce its impact on air quality. CARB has launched a so-called “green sticker” program that allows off-road vehicles that meet emission standards to operate on public lands. However, at that time, most motorcycle manufacturers were not ready to meet the CARB and EPA emission standards of the time. Few dirt bikes are eligible for the green sticker.

In collaboration with the OHRV riding community, motorcycle manufacturers have petitioned for an exception to keep public land open for non-compliant dirt bikes. Upon hearing these petitions, CARB launched a “red sticker” program that would improve technological developments to keep up with emission standards and give manufacturers an extension to allow off-road racing to continue on public lands.

Diagram showing the difference in emissions of dirt bikes between green and red stickers in California
This slide in the CARB Workshop presentation will help explain the difference between a red sticker and a green sticker bike. Note that not only the exhaust gas, but also the evaporation criteria are taken into account. Image of carbo.

To further clarify, “green sticker” bikes meet emission standards and are allowed to ride in parks in the State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA) all year round. Bikes with “red stickers” do not meet emission standards and are considered “competition-only” bikes. Therefore, competition-only motorcycles are only allowed to ride in the SVRA Park during certain seasons, with the intention of traveling in the park only during the race. CARB’s original intention was that models with green stickers would make up the majority of off-road dirt bike sales, with manufacturers bridging technology gaps and producing more emission-regulated vehicles. As it was, the proportion of models with red stickers began to decline.

The bar chart shows how the ATV unit has transitioned to a green sticker, but dirt bikes are still mostly red stickers.
According to a CARB survey, other OHV manufacturers are improving their green sticker offerings and registrations, but motorcycles are lagging behind. Image of carbo.

But the opposite was happening. Manufacturers are following the least resistant path, with more and more red, as the consumer market is in high demand for these “competition-only” machines and it costs more to manufacture and certify green sticker models. Produced a sticker bike.

A line graph showing how the registration of red stickers is increasing and the registration of green stickers is decreasing
This graph, obtained from a CARB study, shows that the registration of dirt bikes with red stickers clearly exceeds the registration of dirt bikes with green stickers in California. Image of carbo.

CARB has finally returned that attention to the OHV category, returning to the 2017 survey results. OHV Commission Workshop The research was terrible. The red sticker dirt bike turned out to be a heavy pollutant and, as intended, is mainly used for recreation, not for competition, the red sticker model is more mass-sold and modeled than the green sticker model It was superior in terms of. The grace period allowed by CARB to keep up with emissions standards by the motorcycle industry and the community was clearly wasted, so CARB decided to take stricter steps.

Red Stickers Slides from CARB presentation showing that the program has not succeeded in controlling emissions
CARB concluded that the red sticker program was not as effective as originally intended. Image of carbo.

Settlement day

As a result, CARB Red sticker program abolishedThis isn’t a big surprise, but for many dealers and consumers, it was shocking news. According to the dealer I spoke to, the guidance from the manufacturer was sparse. However, there are many concerns for industry groups. The California Motorcycle Dealers Association and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) told CARB during the rule-making process that the new rules “cause significant financial difficulties for dealers.” AMA spoke at a hearing. “OHV recreation brings $ 20 billion in economic benefits to the state,” said state park registrations, generating over $ 5 million annually.

The end result at this point is a lot of uncertainty, says Amy Granato of CORVA.

“CARBs tend to pursue emission reduction goals devotedly,” she said. “In this case, we need to take into account those who have invested money in off-road vehicles and family-owned dealers.” It is a sport that is often a source of income for manufacturers and rural areas. Every action has its intended and unintended consequences. It is impossible to know what impact this ruling will have in the long run. “

However, as both CORVA and AMA have confirmed, one thing is certain: if a customer steps into a California dealer and buys a model year 2022 dirt bike that doesn’t meet the green sticker emission standards, that’s it. Bikes cannot be registered and are not allowed For recreational horseback riding on California’s public lands. You can only legally ride on private land or privately owned MX Parks.

To help with that, only four of the 18 models in Husqvarna’s 2021 off-road lineup meet green sticker emission standards. Assuming the 2022 model is the same, this is a significant consideration for California consumers. Is it worth buying if a model like the Husqvarna TE300i doesn’t ride in the intended environment or trails? For many California riders, the only off-road riding option is the SVRA Park and the selected model has been banned. If so, they have no other place to go (unless they plan to go to the race).

It’s also unclear if non-compliant models can be registered with DMVs. So far, we have not been able to see what the new process will look like and how it will affect retail finance, insurance, and exercise. California dealers have reasons to worry about the demand for non-compliant models that are not a good precursor to state-wide sales.

Not all news is bad

Some of the changes have a negative impact, but some do. One of the good things is that all models prior to 2021 will automatically be exempted and will have green sticker status, allowing owners to continue to ride them at the OHV Park. With the green sticker, the seasonal inconvenience of the red sticker is eliminated. This is a huge benefit for riders who own pre-2021 machines and will undoubtedly cause serious price hikes in the already hot market of used dirt bikes in California. The 2021 off-road bikes available at OHV Park It may be worth more than the new 2022, which you can’t ride on public land.

Another potential benefit is if this allows manufacturers to come up with new models that meet offload. Emission standardsSome great plated dual sport options already exist, and some of Europe’s new era fuel-injected two-stroke machines can meet the standards of green sticks with little modification.

Another possibility is “fleet averaging”. This can be an incentive for the OHV category, just as it gives incentives to automakers. If so, a whole new electric dirt bike may appear to even out the model mix and offset the emissions of other models.

The question is how manufacturers will meet this new challenge.

The last twist SB227, A bill that currently passes the California State Legislature. SB 227 may re-allow the “competition-only” model on public land, but with strict restrictions. If the bill is passed, the bill will be until the public land manager who issues the permit for the competition event defines the practice and permits the use of the competition vehicle on the public land solely for the purpose of practicing that particular event. Allows a grace period of about one year. These practice periods must comply with the existing red sticker seasonal restrictions and only registered members of an approved off-road racing organization are allowed to participate in these practice days and race events. After that one-year grace period, CARB and State Parks will issue final rules that define the training period for competition vehicles. As with all legislative processes, SB 227 may still be modified or not approved at all.

Whatever happens, 2022 will be a turning point and old dirt bikes will be treated differently than new bikes. It’s clear that the era of circumventing emissions regulations in California’s public riding areas is over.

California’s off-road riding landscape is experiencing seismic changes as is well known in the state. Grab the handlebars as this can be bumpy. New California rules make most dirt bikes in 2022 illegal on public land

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