Are ATVs Street Legal? State by State Requirements (Plus D.C.)


Consistently increasing in popularity, ATV riding continues to grow as a thrilling activity that some even participate in as a sport. With that said, there are known risks and safety precautions necessary regardless of how the ATV is being used. If you are planning on riding your ATV down the street, you are probably wondering how legal this is in your local area as these laws and regulations vary based on the area you are in.

State by state requirements vary for the use of ATVs on public streets. While many states require additional safety features (lights, mirrors, etc.) to be added to the vehicle, other states block off legal street access completely. To know if your ATV meets street legal criteria, be sure to check with your local DMV.

Keep in mind that most states strictly prohibit the use of ATVs on major highways and state routes. Often, these laws are put in place to maintain the safety of all drivers including those on ATVs and those on bypassing vehicles. While it is still important to check with your DMV, here are some general state-by-state guidelines for ATV use for your consideration.

What Are the Different State Requirements for Street Legal ATV Use?

Interestingly, there are some states that will permit you to convert your ATV to make it street legal while others prohibit this practice. It is important to know the laws in your state and local area so that you can safely (and legally) ride your ATV without issues.

With that in mind, consider the general guidelines for the use of ATVs on public streets in each of the 50 states, as well as Washington D.C.

1. Alabama

ATVs are not street legal in the state of Alabama. The vehicles are strictly prohibited and cannot be converted to become street legal in this state as they are considered to be off-roading vehicles only.

Further, while they are not permitted to be titled, you can legally register your ATV given that you own and have access to the proper ownership documentation. You may ride your ATV on private property as well as many designated parks in Alabama, though ATV use is forbidden on the Gulf beaches.

2. Alaska

Alaska has conditional street legal requirements for ATV use. These include crossing the road- especially in the case of inclement weather conditions otherwise preventing standard vehicle use- among a few other conditional settings.

Alaska does require ATV drivers to be at least 16-years-old to operate a full-size ATV, though youth sizes can provide an exception to this rule. There are no laws requiring titling your ATV in Alaska, but you will be required to register any ATV that has been newly purchased.

Be sure to pay attention to the areas in which you are attempting to drive your ATV in Alaska, as many areas that are next to off-shoulder highway paths eventually turn into personal property. Pay attention to signs to avoid trespassing (even accidentally).

3. Arizona

Arizona has regulations to ensure street legal ATV riding that are relatively easy to follow. To obtain an OHV decal (mandatory in Arizona), you will need to title your ATV. Then, register it for use on highways and other regulated areas.

You will also need a license plate for your ATV (which you will place the OHV decal on). Arizona also requires a variety of safety equipment for ATVs to be street legal, so be sure to review this in your local area.

4. Arkansas

Arkansas has conditional street legal requirements for ATV use. Your ATV will need to be equipped with an adequately approved spark arrestor and muffler system. Additionally, to operate an ATV in Arkansas, you must be at least 12-years-old.

Be sure to check for local regulations, but know that you can generally drive an ATV on a public street in the case of an emergency, for farming/work, hunting, official business, and if you experience certain physical disabilities limiting your mobility.

5. California

California has pretty strict ATV use regulations including use on public streets, public land, and private property. Be sure to review additional regulations including safety features, licensing, and age requirements for ATV operation in California even not on public streets.

To be street legal in California, ATVs can only be used in a few scenarios including crossing a two-lane street (at an angle of 90 degrees), crossing a street greater than two lanes when clear signs are posted permitting ATV use, and driving on public streets under the authorization of a public authority.

6. Colorado

Colorado has many conditional street legal requirements for ATV use. These include (but are not limited to) safety features that must be added to your vehicle, use in particular situations, and use with specific authorization. Additionally, Colorado has many local jurisdictions that permit more lenient street legal ATV use than the general state laws permit.

Be sure to check your local area- or the area you plan to ride your ATV- for these more precise regulations.

7. Connecticut

Connecticut has strict ATV use regulations on public streets. ATVs can only be operated as street legal in a few conditions including crossing a street by completely stopping first and then proceeding to cross at a 90-degree angle. This is only permitted on public streets that are not limited access highways.

Connecticut requires further legal operations including registration and age restrictions for use and operation on public lands. For more information, be sure to review the regulations in your local area.

8. Delaware

Delaware has strict street legal regulations for ATV use. Generally, ATVs are not permitted for legal street use on public streets in the state. With one exception of pushing an ATV along the road while the vehicle is in neutral, the street legal use is very restrictive. Additionally, the state requires further safety and registration requirements for use on other public lands.

9. Florida

Florida has conditional street legal requirements for ATV use. Primarily, the state distinguishes between ATVs and UTVs which is not as typical among state laws.

Secondly, while ATVs are prohibited from being driven on public roads, they are permitted on unpaved public roads as long as they are driven in the day time and under 35 mph. Be sure to review signage and local regulations to ensure that your ATV is street legal in your area.

10. Georgia

Georgia has relatively strict street legal requirements for ATV use. Unless otherwise posted, ATVs are prohibited from use on public streets. However, public landowners may determine the requirements for ATV use on the land that they own.

This means that you will likely need to do research on the area you intend to ride to discover the highly localized regulations.

11. Hawaii

Hawaii has many exceptions to its otherwise strictly stated prohibition of ATV street legal use. These exceptions include the use with agricultural functions, certain driver’s licensing, on small roads with low speed limits and in areas with limited populations, and use by permitted officials.

Check the local regulations before using an ATV as the exceptions are rather vast in Hawaii.

12. Idaho

Idaho permits most ATV use as street legal with a few necessary requirements and examples. Though the capital (Boise) prohibits the use of ATVs on public streets, most other areas permit it unless local jurisdiction rules otherwise.

To maintain street legal ATV use in Idaho, you must have the following: valid IDPR OHV registration, restricted license plate, driver’s license, and insurance.

13. Illinois

Illinois generally restricts the street legal use of ATVs in the state unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdiction. Though you must title and receive an OHV Usage Stamp/Public Access Decal for public use, not all areas permit use on public streets (unless safely crossing at a 90-degree angle).

Use on private areas and public land is generally permitted, though. Be sure to check for local regulations in your area.

14. Indiana

Indiana is another state that has many local jurisdictions overruling the otherwise strict state laws on the use of ATVs on public streets. Though the state generally prohibits ATV use on public streets, more than 40 counties permit it.

With this many counties overruling state jurisdiction, it is important to review the regulations in your area for confidence in street legal ATV use.

15. Iowa

Iowa has conditional street legal requirements for ATV use. Particularly, while most public streets prohibit ATV use, those that are designated as allowing ATVs require ATV riders to carry insurance on their vehicles.

Additionally, several measures for riding ATVs on public streets in Iowa must be maintained including various safety precautions for crossing a public street.

Here’s a quick news story about some ATV laws in Iowa.

16. Kansas

Kansas has more generous street legal requirements for ATV use. In towns and counties of residence that are lower in population size (less than 15,000), ATVs may be used on public streets, though your ATV must have lights if you plan to ride at night.

Be sure that you have a valid driver’s license and the appropriate vehicle registration.

17. Kentucky

Kentucky has conditional street legal requirements for ATV use. These include safety features that should be added to the vehicle, localized regions in which ATVs are permitted for street legal use, and various conditions in which the ATV may be ridden on public streets legally. Particularly, using an ATV for crossing the street as well as agricultural, snow removal, and road maintenance purposes is often permitted.

18. Louisiana

Louisiana has conditional street legal requirements for ATV use, though it is particularly generous. ATVs can be ridden legally on the shoulder of public streets in Louisiana (sans interstate highways and in Orleans Parish).

This is only permitted during conditional hours within a half-hour after sunrise and prior to sunset. UTV restrictions vary greatly from these ATV conditions, so be sure to review if you are riding a UTV.

19. Maine

Maine offers general permissions for street legal ATV use, but these come with many conditional requirements.

Particularly, you must ride on roads/in situations approved by the Commissioner of Transportation, during the hours between sunrise and sunset, in a state of emergency or special approved event, or when other local jurisdictions and signage permits ATV use on public streets.

20. Maryland

Maryland generally prohibits the use of ATVs on public streets in the state, though there are many designated trails that ATVs can be ridden on. To legally ride your ATV on designated public streets or ATV-approved public land, you must title your vehicle, receive an ORV decal, and be approved for DNR authorized trails.

For more information on riding an ATV legally in Maryland, be sure to check out your local jurisdiction as the conditional use requirements in this state vary greatly.

21. Massachusetts

Massachusetts generally restricts street legal use of ATVs in the state unless otherwise ruled by a local jurisdiction. On any public or private land, ATVs must be registered unless being used for the purposes of agriculture, lumber, forestry, or construction. Registration must be displayed on the vehicle.

Riders are required to wear safety equipment, and youth ATV riders are not permitted to ride unsupervised or without completing an approved safety course. Be sure to review the requirements within your local jurisdiction as there are many conditional requirements in this state.

22. Michigan

Michigan has unique conditional street legal requirements for ATV use compared to other states. You may register certain ATVs and have them retitled to be considered as assembled vehicles which provides them access to use on any public street.

Additionally, local jurisdiction in many areas in Michigan permit street legal use with a few conditional requirements, so be sure to check what is required in the local area.

Here’s a quick video about the ATV laws in Michigan for a little more info.

23. Minnesota

Minnesota has conditional street legal requirements for ATV use that generally provides provision for use of ATVs on public streets when driven safely and competently. These requirements include (but are not limited to) use on designated public streets and trails, mandated safety equipment installed on the vehicle and used by the driver, safety course completion, and a valid license.

In this state, there are a few additional restrictions that include local jurisdictions preventing general ATV use to make room for agricultural ATV use in certain seasons. Be sure to review the local jurisdiction to ensure that you are using your ATV legally on public streets and land.

24. Mississippi

Mississippi has strict state laws regarding the street legal use of ATVs. Contrarily, a large majority of local jurisdictions overrule these regulations and permit the street legal use of ATVs with a few conditional requirements like safety features, following designated signage, and not driving recklessly.

Because so much of the state has local jurisdiction overruling state regulations, it is best to check in your local area to know what is and is not permitted for street legal ATV use.

25. Missouri

Missouri generally prohibits the use of ATVs on public streets in the state unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdictions. Many local areas permit street legal ATV use for public officials, agricultural purposes, and when driven under 30mph by a driver with a valid driver’s license.

Be sure to check the local jurisdiction as these vary greatly throughout the state of Missouri.

26. Montana

Montana generally permits the street legal use of ATVs in the state given a few conditional requirements.

These include installing several safety features, titling and registering the vehicle and properly displaying a valid license plate, following age-related guidelines, and following all local jurisdiction including posted signage. Out-of-state ATV registration is generally accepted for up to 30 days.

27. Nebraska

Nebraska has conditional requirements for street legal ATV use in the state, though these are narrowly refined by local jurisdictions in many areas. Statewide policies limit ATV use to 2-lane roads in certain conditions such as use outside of city limits or when otherwise authorized.

In local jurisdictions that permit street legal ATV use, several conditions are required to be met including safety features added to the vehicle, particular driver’s licensing, liability insurance, restricted speed limits and operational hours, and more. Be sure to check with the local jurisdiction as these can have a wide range of street legal ATV requirements.

28. Nevada

Nevada generally prohibits the street legal use of ATVs on public streets unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdictions. Interestingly, this state even includes gravel roads as public roads that are prohibited (unless otherwise overruled by the local area). Be sure to check out the local jurisdiction in your area to verify if you may use your ATV street legally in this state.

Here’s a quick video showing some of the process to get street legal in Nevada.

29. New Hampshire

New Hampshire has conditional street legal requirements for ATV use in the state unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdiction.

These conditional requirements include the use of ATVs on roads specifically designated for their use (in which case OHRV signage would be posted). Crossing the street and riding on a trail are permitted when done safely- i.e. under 10pmh and in the far-right lane.

30. New Jersey

New Jersey generally prohibits the street legal use of ATVs in the state unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdiction. Interestingly, for authorized use on public lands, ATVs must be registered and maintain active insurance, but they are not required to be titled.

For use on any public or private land, ATV drivers must wear safety equipment including a helmet. Most ATV use is also prohibited on public lands in New Jersey, so be sure to review local jurisdiction.

31. New Mexico

New Mexico generally permits the street legal use of ATVs on public roads with the exception of ATV prohibition on public highways and freeways.

However, the local jurisdiction is what generally guides where ATVs are street legal and where they are not. Additionally, local jurisdiction in New Mexico will decide on any requirements such as safety gear, registration, insurance, licensing, OHV decals, and more.

32. New York

New York generally prohibits the street legal use of ATVs in the state unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdiction, or with a few exceptional conditions.

These conditions include specific guidelines for crossing a public street, crossing designated areas that connect ATV-approved trails, and use on specifically designated public roads. Be sure to review local jurisdiction in New York to know the specific requirements in your local area.

33. North Carolina

North Carolina generally prohibits the street legal use of ATVs in the state unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdiction. ATVs are permitted for crossing the street (when following strict guidelines such as crossing at a 90-degree angle).

Various safety and licensing requirements must also be followed on public and private land depending on the local jurisdiction’s conditional regulations. Be sure to review the local jurisdiction in your area.

34. North Dakota

North Dakota generally permits the street legal use of ATVs in the state with a few conditional requirements. These include registering the vehicle as street-legal and using it under varying speed limits and designated area restrictions.

Without proper registration, ATVs are not permitted for street-legal use unless it is a state of emergency or you are crossing the street at a 90-degree angle and you have proper safety equipment installed on the vehicle and in use by the driver.

35. Ohio

Ohio generally prohibits the street legal use of ATVs in the state unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdiction. However, the state does have a few conditional requirements that will permit street-legal ATV use.

These include emergency travel, safely crossing a street, limited-distance traveling to reach an area designated for ATV use, and seasonally on the island of Lake Erie. ATVs must be licensed and registered in the state of Ohio for legal use.

36. Oklahoma

Oklahoma has conditional requirements for street legal ATV use in the state.

These include the use of ATVs in designated state parks, in areas in which local jurisdiction overrules state prohibition of ATV use, and in designated areas with speed limit requirements. Be sure to review the local jurisdiction on street legal ATV use in Oklahoma as these vary widely throughout the state.

37. Oregon

Oregon generally prohibits the street legal use of ATVs unless otherwise posted and overruled by local jurisdiction.

With the exception of 1.5 lane gravel roads that are generally open for ATV use, there are few public streets that will allow ATV travel. Signs will be posted specifically permitting ATV use in the U.S. Forest Service- otherwise assume that it is not permitted.

38. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has conditional requirements for street legal ATV use in the state unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdiction.

On public streets that permit ATV use, you will find designated signage. On these, you must follow strict guidelines for requirements in the areas of safety, licensing, age limitations, and more. Be sure to review local jurisdiction to know what is required in your area.

39. Rhode Island

Rhode Island generally prohibits street legal ATV use unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdiction. While ATVs are required to be registered (and will face a fine if they are driven without registration), they still are not permitted on most public streets.

You can, however, cross a street assuming your vehicle is equipped with the appropriate safety features (lights, mirrors, etc.), you are over 18, and you are visible.

40. South Carolina

South Carolina generally prohibits street legal ATV use throughout the state, but many local jurisdictions overrule this.

Because of this, it is essential to review your local regulations as these will be more relevant and help provide an accurate picture. Regardless of the county, all ATV users must maintain proper safety equipment and only ride in designated areas.

41. South Dakota

South Dakota has conditional requirements for street legal ATV use throughout the state, though these conditions are pretty generous. You can register your ATV to be street legal if it is a quad or larger and runs at a 200cc min.

Additionally, to operate on a public street, a slew of safety features must be added to the vehicle in addition to following regulations on licensing, age, safety, and more.

42. Tennessee

Tennessee has conditional requirements for street legal ATV use unless otherwise overruled by local jurisdiction. Though UTVs are far more permissible throughout the state.

ATVs are generally prohibited on public streets unless under the context of agricultural purposes or when crossing the street to reach an ATV-approved area. If you have questions, review local jurisdiction to check if your ATV will be street legal.

43. Texas

Texas generally prohibits the street legal use of ATVs throughout the state unless overruled by local jurisdiction. This excludes the use of an ATV by an authorized official, law enforcement officer, rancher, farmer, and public utility worker (all who must follow safety guidelines and maintain appropriate safety features on their vehicles at all times).

Generally, ATV use on public lands is more permissible throughout the state, so check with your local jurisdiction.

Here’s a cool video of a street legal Can-Am Maverick X3 riding around town. No legal info, just cool to see.

44. Utah

Utah has conditional requirements for street legal ATV use throughout the state unless overruled by local jurisdiction. You can convert your ATV to be street legal granting you access to many areas and public streets- though you still cannot exceed 50mph.

This conversion will require safety feature installation, and the ATV still cannot be driven on a variety of areas including some highways, freeways, and interstates.

Here’s a quick video made by the Spanish Fork police department to cover the requirements to driving a street legal ATV in Utah.

45. Vermont

Vermont has conditional requirements for street legal ATV use throughout the state unless overruled by local jurisdiction. Though, there are many exceptions to areas where ATVs are prohibited. ATVs can be used legally throughout the state in some seasonal conditions, for agriculture and public works, and when safely crossing the street.

46. Virginia

Virginia generally prohibits the street legal use of ATVs throughout the state, though some local jurisdictions overrule this. If in use on public land or permitted roadways, ATVs must have a title, registration, insurance, and be operated under several specific regulations. Private land use does not require registration or insurance for your ATV.

47. Washington

Washington generally permits the street legal use of ATVs throughout the state, though there are generally conditional requirements mandated by local jurisdiction. These include having on-road and off-road tags, following ATV-specific speed limits, holding a valid driver’s license, ensuring proper safety equipment for the vehicle and driver, and more.

48. West Virginia

West Virginia has conditional requirements for street legal ATV use. These vary based on local jurisdiction, but they generally allow ATVs on roads without a middle line and with less than two lanes.

Additionally, crossing streets is permitted with proper safety equipment on the vehicle. Be sure to review local jurisdiction as this can determine the speed limits and where ATVs can be specifically ridden on street legal public streets.

49. Wisconsin

Wisconsin has conditional requirements for street legal ATV use that vary based on local jurisdiction. These include following designated signage, use for agricultural purposes, varying circumstances near a ditch or unimproved right-of-way, respecting age restrictions, and maintaining proper vehicle and driver safety equipment.

50. Wyoming

Wyoming generally permits the street legal use of ATVs given a few conditional requirements.

These include obtaining an MPV permit, driver’s license, vehicle registration, insurance, and ensuring various safety equipment for the vehicle and driver. ORV permits may also be obtained for drivers who do not qualify for MPV permits, and these may be used in designated areas.

51. District of Columbia*

Washington D.C. generally prohibits the street legal use of ATVs except for a few conditional requirements. These include the use by a public official or other strictly authorized use.

The capital is so strict that it even offers a “Bonus to Phone Us” reward system where witnesses can report illegal ATV street use in exchange for a cash reward if the tip leads to a successful confiscation.

Rob

That's me sinking another ATV. I love to ride no matter what it is, snowmobiles, four wheelers, dirt bikes, and anything else off-roading. I've experienced my fair share of machines, and like to share that experience here.

Recent Content