Many people buy all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) without even considering the legal requirements that need to be met with their ownership. As an ATV owner, you should know several things to avoid getting into trouble or getting hefty fines while ensuring your safety as well as the safety of others.
Every US state has a different set of ATV regulations. These laws may require you to title or register your vehicle, own liability insurance, limit the number of riders on a single ATV, restrict where you can ride it, specify light and accessory requirements, restrict where you can ride it, and so on.
Since ATV laws are inconsistent across different states, we will address the ATV regulations specific to Florida here. But before that, let’s first see how the Sunshine State defines ATVs
Florida’s Definition of ATV
The state defines an ATV as any off-road, motorized vehicle with a width of 50 inches or less and below 1,200 pounds in dry weight. The vehicle should bear three or more tires and is designed to be operated by a single person with no passenger. The definition also refers to two-rider vehicles specially designed to carry passengers.
Florida’s Requirement to Title & Register an ATV
An ATV owned by a Florida resident must be titled. Similarly, an assignment of title needs to be delivered with the sale of a vehicle. You can apply with your county’s tax collector to get a title. To get the title, you must give proof of ownership by submitting an executed bill of sale with your application, a statement of origin from the manufacturer, and other supporting documents that the department accepts. You will get a validation sticker along with your title that you have to place on your ATV as proof of title issuance.
Where Can You Operate Your ATV?
In the Sunshine State, you can operate an ATV on an unpaved public road, with a posted speed limit of fewer than 35 miles per hour in the daytime. However, you can not operate an ATV on a highway, public road, or street.
ATV and UTV Regulations in Florida for Youths
- Any individual below the age of 16, who is riding or operating an ATV, must wear eye protection and a helmet that meets the safety standards of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
- Any individual below the age of 16 must wear over-the-ankle boots when operating an ATV.
- Any individual below the age of 16 must operate an ATV under the supervision of an adult.
- Any individual below the age of 16 operating an ATV must possess a certificate as proof of completing an approved OHV safety course; unless they are not a Florida resident for less than 30 days.
Other ATV Regulations in Florida
- It is illegal to damage public lands when operating an ATV. This may include damaging flora, trees, dunes, or any other eco-sensitive lands, trails, roads, drainage systems, wildlife resources, natural water sources or courses, gates or fences, or agricultural lands or crops.
- It is illegal to carry a passenger on an ATV unless designed by the manufacturer to carry the same.
- It is illegal to operate an ATV (or any other vehicle) under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- It is illegal to operate an ATV recklessly that could risk injury or damage to other persons or someone else’s properties.
ATVs are Essentially Not a Toy
Whether ATVs are used just for fun or for some sports, they are popular in the whole United States, particularly during the balmy months in Florida. Unfortunately, people often forget how risky riding an ATV could be. It is important to remember that an ATV is strictly a vehicle and should not be treated as a simple toy.
While anyone can enjoy riding an ATV, one should never forget that serious injuries may happen if safety precautions are not followed when riding this vehicle. Remember that the State of Florida doesn’t require you to register and insure your ATV.
ATV Riding Safety Tips
The following safety tips must be taken whenever a person rides an ATV:
- Never Ride the Vehicle Alone: This doesn’t mean you should be with a passenger on your vehicle, but it is good to have at least one individual riding along with you. This is because if you run out of gas, get stuck in a ditch, or hit something, there should be someone to help you.
- Always Ride the Right Vehicle: Similar to other vehicles, ATVs are available in many sizes and types. So, before picking an ATV, consider the purpose of buying the vehicle. Is it for trail riding, racing, or towing? Also, consider your level of skill and strength. In general, larger ATVs require more strength to manage and control, whereas smaller ATVs are less powerful, so they require less physical effort. Remember that kids below 16 should not operate an ATV with an engine bigger than 90cc.
- Stay Away from Public Roads: Riding an ATV onto paved or public roads can be as risky as riding it through areas unknown to you. The reason is that public roads are almost always full of vehicles, and drivers may run into your ATV.
- Never Go beyond What You Are Capable of: Never try to perform stunts that require the experience or special skills you possess. Also, altogether avoid riding in areas that are tough for you to navigate through. Although ATVs are designed for off-roading, riding on already established trails is best.
What to do if you are involved in an ATV Accident in Florida
If you or your loved one has been injured in an ATV accident in Florida, you should immediately contact a personal injury attorney in Florida specializing in handling ATV accident cases in the state; MANGAL, PLLC – Clermont Personal Injury Law Firm is one of them. This is important to understand your legal options and obtain the maximum compensation to cover your losses.