Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Content

Can I Ride My ATV/UTV on the Road?


Wondering if you can drive your ATV/UTV on public roads and streets? Unfortunately, the answer to that question isn’t so clear cut. The laws surrounding safe ATV or UTV operation differ from state to state, and in many cases, the laws don’t apply uniformly in all locations or for all types of streets within a state.

Whether you want to drive your side-by-side to work or to your favorite restaurant, here’s where you can and can’t take to the city streets in your UTV:

Front View Of All-terrain Vehicle Or ATV Parked In Street.
Front View Of All-terrain Vehicle Or ATV Parked In Street.

States where driving off-road vehicles on public roads is illegal

Unfortunately, hitting the pavement in your ATV or UTV is illegal in certain states throughout the country—under any circumstance. In these states, driving a side-by-side or ATV is limited to private roads; private property or certain portions of state parks or other public lands. They include:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Wyoming

There are some unique exceptions to these rules. In Alaska, off-highway vehicles like ATVs and UTVs can be driven on regular roads if they’re completely snow-packed or otherwise inaccessible to regular vehicles.

In Texas, you can drive a side-by-side on public roads only if you’re a farmer driving 25 miles or less. If you live or drive off-road vehicles in any of the states listed above, look for loopholes in regulations if you have specific situations in mind where you’d like to take to public streets in your ATV or UTV.

States where driving off-road vehicles on public roads may be legal

So, how do the remaining 41 states stack up in terms of whether ATVs or UTVs can legally be driven on public streets? This is where things can get complicated. You’ll need to research your state’s laws, loopholes and details. Some states require certain accessories on your off-road vehicle, such as mirrors and headlights. Others require an orange triangle attached to the back of the vehicle.

In some states, operators must be at least 16 years old and fully licensed to operate a motor vehicle on public streets. Other states look at the length of your trip to determine whether it’s legal to drive your off-road vehicle on city streets, with some states allowing very short trips of under three miles on public roads.

The above criteria can change when you make modifications to your vehicle. Depending on the state where you live and/or drive in, all it takes is adding some basic safety features to make your ATV or UTV street legal. These can include speedometers, mirrors, blinkers and a horn. Most municipalities are also concerned with the noise associated with operating an off-road vehicle, requiring the installation of a muffler. Generally, if your state doesn’t explicitly ban the use of UTVs on public roads, you can make your off-road vehicle street legal with these modifications.

How to find information related to your state

It can be challenging to find out whether you can legally operate your off-road vehicle on public roads. Not only are there state laws to consider, but also city, county and local government regulations regarding rules of operation. Here’s how you can find out whether your off-road vehicle is street legal:

  • Check the DMV: When it comes to statewide laws, the DMV is the best place to check regarding how to make your UTV legal and how to get it registered (if registration is required in your state). Call them, visit their website or stop by to ask about registration requirements, and be thorough in your research to make sure you’re following all state laws.
  • Check city regulations: Cities and counties have more to do with regulations regarding the use of off-road vehicles on public roads. Generally, almost every municipality has some sort of ordinance governing the use of UTVs or ATVs in public. Check local government websites for the regulations that apply to your area. You could also contact your local police department—they’ll be happy to outline all regulations involving the use of off-road vehicles on public roads.

In short, taking to the public roadways in your UTV is legal only in certain states and under certain conditions. If you’re wondering whether your state has banned UTVs on the roads, the best place to start is at the state level. Regardless of where and how you drive your UTV, make sure you have the right gear to make every ride safe and exhilarating. Black Widow Pro is happy to assist with all your standard UTV needs, from ramps to accessories, we’ve got you covered.

More in ATV