ATV Riding Rules and Enforcement
The Governor’s Disaster Declaration for the COVID-19 health emergency does not allow for the operation of ATVs on the roadways of Pennsylvania.
The operation of an ATV on a public road or highway is still currently illegal under Title 75, Section 7721 and 7722. The exception that allows for operation of ATVs during certain emergency situations requires the approval of the Department of Transportation and/or local authorities having jurisdiction.
Neither the Department of Transportation nor any municipalities with jurisdiction have approved the use of ATVs on streets or highways.
As a reminder, ATV riding is only permitted on designated trails in Pennsylvania state forests. State forest roads, state parks, and state game lands are not open to ATV riding.
To make the use of ATV trails safe and enjoyable for yourself and others, please know and practice the following ATV operating rules:
Do not disturb, drive, or pursue wildlife with your vehicle
Do not carry loaded firearms on your ATV
Abide by state park and forest rules and regulations and the Snowmobile/ATV law and regulations
Stay on designated trails and roadways
Operate your vehicle in a safe and responsible manner
Place all litter in waste containers, where provided; otherwise practice the “carry-in, carry-out” procedure
Wear a securely fastened helmet -- it is illegal to operate an ATV without a securely fastened helmet on the head of the operator
Any of the following activities while operating an ATV may result in a fine:
Riding at a rate of speed that is unreasonable or improper under existing conditions or in excess of the maximum limits posted for vehicular traffic
Riding in a careless way so as to endanger the person or property of another
Riding while under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or drugs
Riding in an area, trail, roadway that is not open to ATV use
Riding without a securely fastened helmet
Where You Can Ride Your ATV in Pennsylvania
Know before you go. It's important you know what lands you will be riding on and if they are open to ATV use. Contact the appropriate land management agency to find out what is open. Generally speaking, ATVs may be operated:
On private property with the consent of the owner
On state-owned property on clearly marked and designated trails
On highways and streets when necessary to cross a bridge or culvert
On highways and streets during periods of emergency when so declared by a governmental agency having jurisdiction
On highways and streets for special events of limited duration that are conducted according to a prearranged schedule under permit from the governmental unit having jurisdiction
On streets and highways that have been designated as “ATV or Snowmobile Roads” by the governmental agency having jurisdiction
An ATV may make a direct crossing of a street or two-lane highway provided:
The crossing is made at an angle of approximately 90 degrees to the direction of the highway, and at a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing
The ATV is brought to a complete stop before crossing the shoulder or highway
The driver yields the right-of-way to all oncoming traffic that constitutes an immediate hazard
In crossing a divided highway, the crossing is made only at an intersection of such highway with another public street or highway
Driver must be at least 16 years of age unless he has a safety certificate and is under the direct supervision of a person at least 18 years of age
Designated ATV Roads
State and local highways and roads may be designated and posted for ATVs by the government authority with jurisdiction over the road. Township roads designated for ATVs are posted with a green sign containing the side view silhouette of an ATV and rider in white.
Some roads may be designated and posted as joint-use roads open to both ATVs and licensed motor vehicles. Joint use roads are posted with signs stating that both types of vehicles may use the road. ATV operators on joint-use roads must be at least 16 years of age.
Municipal ordinances may further regulate the use of ATVs on roads within their jurisdiction.
ATVs may not be operated on private property without the consent of the owner. Use of ATVs on private property may be further restricted by municipal ordinance.
Operation of ATVS By Youth
Children under the age of 16 are prohibited from:
Operating an ATV anywhere other than land owned or leased by a parent or guardian unless the child has a valid safety certificate or is under the direct supervision of a certified instructor during a certified safety training course
Operating an ATV across highways or connecting streets or operate on state forest or park roads designated for joint use (use by both motor vehicles and snowmobiles or ATVs) unless the child has a valid safety certificate and is under the direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or older
Driving an ATV on state or local highways, roads, or streets designated for joint use
A child under 8 is not eligible for a safety certificate and is prohibited from operating anywhere except on private property. Age 8 and 9 year-old operators are restricted to an engine size of 70cc or less.
ATV Equipment Requirements
All ATVs operating in Pennsylvania must be equipped with:
A brake system capable of producing deceleration of 14 feet per second at a speed of 20 miles per hour
A muffler in good working order. The sound intensity produced by an ATV may not exceed 99dbA (decibels), when measured at 20 inches
An operating headlight and tail light if operating at dark or when visibility is less than 500 feet. The headlight must produce a white light sufficient to reveal persons and vehicles at a distance of 100 feet. The tail light must produce a red light plainly visible during darkness from a distance of 500 feet.
Enforcement of ATV Rules and Regulations
All law enforcement officers in the state, including local and state police, are authorized to enforce the Snowmobile/ATV Law. This includes:
State forest and state park lands -- state forest officers and DCNR rangers
State Game Lands -- wildlife conservation officers and deputy wildlife conservation officers
Municipal and state roadways -- municipal and state police
Private property -- municipal and state police
You must stop when signaled by a law enforcement officer. Failure to do so could result in fines and loss of your registration.
Failure to register your ATV or abide by the rules can be costly. First offenses range from $50 to $200 plus the cost of prosecution. A second offense carries a fine of $100 to $300 plus the cost of prosecution.
Failure to register your vehicle or failure to have liability insurance is an automatic $300 fine plus cost of prosecution.