ATV's and Traffic Laws

My family just purchased two brand-new Polaris ATV’s because we live in rural Nevada,there’s not a lot to do around these parts and there’s plenty of places to ride these things so it gives us something fun to do. Now the other day, I was talking to a deputy sheriff I know and he says you shouldn’t ever ride them on the road or you can get a traffic citation. Now I live out in the country, the street I live on isn’t close to any main roads or highways and to take the ATV out into the open area where we can ride it legally, I have to briefly ride it on the street. But I always make sure I go the speed limit and if another car comes up behind me I get off the road so the car can pass and even our other neighbors who own ATV’s do the same thing. Now I know you can’t ride an ATV on a mainroad, highway, streets (especially in town), and privately owned property. So if any of y’all have law enforcement experience or have ever been cited by a cop for these things…What’s your input?

It matters not what our input is. Traffic laws are state-by-state, and they vary. What you should do is get a handbook on the subject from your state’s DMV and see how the lows apply for you.

Check with your insurance company as well. Should something happen on that “brief ride on the street” you’ll need to know where you stand. If someone is injured and your insurance doesn’t cover it, you could be in deep do-do. Medical expenses can wipe you out, and if a civil suit gets filed the plot will thicken.

My personal opinion is that you should use the road shoulders if you need to follow a roads path, never the roadway itself. But your stste laws will rule.

Some ATVs are street legal and others are not. Correct though, there are different regulations in each state and also some town further restrictions. Ditches are allowed in Minnesota but these are regulated by the Department of Natural Resources not Public Safety.

What REALLY matters is how your neighbors feel about it…THEY will be the driving force for any problems you may have…The police seldom go out looking for ATV problems…They DO respond to complaints however. So stop and say hello to your neighbors, introduce yourself, don’t be a stranger…And don’t go flying down the street at high speed…A little common sense goes a long ways…

Also make sure to use public roads at low traffic times. There is much less chance that you might get caught if few drivers are on the road. And as Caddyman said, don’t anger the neighbors. Driving your ATV past their homes too early or too late might annoy them enough that they’ll call the police.

Here in the southeast, ATV’s are illegal on the road but most LE types just look the other way when they see someone on a 4Wheeler. If you pass any grocery/convenience store off the main highway the parking lots are full of them. I started riding a 3Wheel ATV about 30 years ago but they were deathtraps. If you hit anything at all like a pothole, rock, or piece of wood at any speed you quickly paid the price by having the handlebars ripped out of your hands and sailing over the front.

There are no street legal ATVs in New York State even though my end of the state has p;enty of wide open spaces. Most people around here trailer them to where they ride unless they ride on their own or others property.

Riding ATV’s on public roads (roads paid for and maintained by township, county, state, or national taxes) is illegal. Vehicles on public roads need to be registered, and insured in just about every state. You are simply taking your chances about whether or not you will get caught in the act.

You might want to check out the fines and court costs and whether or not this is an offense that puts points on your driver’s license. In rural PA folks ride ATV’s on roads all the time. Most commonly on dirt roads.

KIds riding ATV’s recklessly were such a problem in my community (a private development) that ATV’s are banned. Our private security guy follows the offenders home and issues several citations which run into significant fines.

Some ATV’s use high powered motor cycle and snowmobile motors and are capable of speeds in excess of 100mph. Others are “mule” type work vehicles that don’t go nearly as fast. A high speed ATV in the hands of a poor rider, or a drunk one, can do a lot of damage. We see several fatalities every year with ATV accidents.

It is up to you to make the call on what to do in your area. Just be sure of the risks before you make the decision. You are basically doing the same thing as a motorcycle rider running an unregistered and uninsured vehicle on public roads.

“UncleTurbo February 11 Report
Riding ATV’s on public roads (roads paid for and maintained by township, county, state, or national taxes) is illegal.”

Sure about that? Everywhere?

“Vehicles on public roads need to be registered, and insured in just about every state.”

Tractors? Horsecarts? Mopeds? Scooters? Pocket rockets?

“You are basically doing the same thing as a motorcycle rider running an unregistered and uninsured vehicle on public roads.”

Except you’re more likely to get pulled over and less likely to fall down.

ATV’s are allowed on roads here as long as they are properly licensed and have the necessary lights. Driver must have same license as to drive a car. Surprisingly I have seen very few accidents involving them.

In the rural south a vehicle classified as “farm equipment” can be operated in daylight with an unlicensed driver as young as 12 when speeds are minimum and the roads are secondary. But ATVs have become such a problem that they are specifically outlawed in most of Mississippi. The laws are somewhat loosely enforced in many areas. They can be a problem at times but usually adult drivers who use good judgement don’t cause a problem for themselves or automobile traffic or the local law enforcement. In my neighborhood several teenagers have them and drive down the street in front of my house to get to the woods and no one seems to mind. So far they travel at bicycle speed and pay attention. They don’t bother me. Why bother them? Why bother the police? It would seem that would be the case in most neighborhoods.

This weekend encountered 2 ATV riders racing an a narrow 2 lane “lake” road. Estimate speeds in excess of 80 mph. I was heading toward them and one rider attempted to pass the other and almost lost it when he quickly pulled back behind the other rider when he saw me coming at them. A guardrail on one side of the road and a drainage ditch and trees on the other side.

Here in Michigan,we can ride ATV’s on roads. 1-if there are road legal 2-have a license plate and insurance. We also have county’s that have roads open to all ATV’s.

Laws or not.
– drive the darn thing like…A DRIVER.
Not like some ahole kid who thinks there are no rules because it’s not a car.

Drive in coordination with all the other vehicles on the road you’re sharing…as if it were a car.
…or even a bicycle.
If you have no brake lights or signals…like a bicycle…use the proper hand signals, stop at stop signs and red lights, use the correct side of the street, allow the correct right of way when choosing someone’s turn, go a logical speed for the conditions and vehicle type.

The more you fit in,
the less other people will complain.

My family has Insurance on those ATV’s, just like they do with the Jetski and they added me to both the policies. I don’t ride the ATV on the mainroads because as the Deputy Sheriff says, its not legal, plus I don’t want to risk having an ATV/vehicle collision. I’ve ridden ATV’s for years and so I’m not an inexperianced ATV rider. Our neighbors are cool with us using the 1/4 of road to access the open area, I think the only time our neighbors would have a problem with us is if we rode through their backyards or at all hours of the night. The ATV’s have headlights and taillights on them but I don’t like riding them much at night. Too many bugs out and some of these back roads can be dangerous and you need as much light as possible to see every single off road hazard there is.

I meant to say 1/4 mile of road…lol.