All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are used by hundreds of people in Colorado for both leisure and professional activities. Off-highway vehicle use is prevalent for leisure purposes in some of Colorado’s most stunning parks and trails, including national parks, while it is common for business purposes on farms and plantations. You must first familiarize yourself with state regulations if you intend to use an ATV. If not, you can run into legal issues.
Can you drive ATV on streets in Colorado?
ATVs are not considered street legal in Colorado. Except in emergency situations or for agricultural purposes, it is illegal to operate an ATV on any public roadway, highway, or street in Colorado, according to Colorado Revised Code 33-14.5-108. The sole exemption is if there are signs on the public property or road designating it for usage by ATVs or utility vehicles. Since manufacturers do not make ATVs for usage on pavement, it is risky to drive one on the road. An ATV driven on pavement is more likely to roll over and cause injuries to riders.
Do you have to register an ATV in Colorado?
According to C.R.S. 33-14.5-112, all ATV owners in Colorado are required to register and number their vehicles. It is illegal to own or even operate an unregistered ATV. With a few exceptions, Colorado requires registration for all ATVs and utility vehicles. To register your ATV in Colorado, you must provide ownership documentation, such as a bill of sale, receipt, or certificate of title. If you live in another state, plan to stay in Colorado for fewer than 30 days, plan to use your ATV exclusively for farming, racing, or on private land, you do not need to register it. When in doubt, register your ATV and you can ride it anywhere legally permitted.
Where are you allowed to ride ATVs under Colorado law?
ATVs are legal to drive in Colorado on both public and private roads and trails. ATVs are permitted in Colorado in specific locations, such as the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests. There are numerous trail riding locations, as well as some roads, in the national forest where you can drive an ATV or other off-highway vehicle. However, due to safety concerns or heavy traffic, the government may decide to ban ATVs on some highways. On the basis of environmental factors, you could also experience seasonal or brief road closures. Colorado requires all ATV users to follow the “leave no trace” maxim. For particular user information, check with your local sheriff’s department to learn where you can ride an ATV in your county.
Colorado state law also permits local governments to enact ordinances within their jurisdiction to limit where you can ride and set additional requirements to legally operate an ATV. Local ATV laws may require:
- Use of seatbelts
- Using child restraint systems
- Use eye protection
- Have a driver’s license
- Carry liability insurance
- Use a helmet for riders under 18 years of age
- Limit the number of occupants on an ATV
Before riding in public areas or off your own private property, check with the local government rules to make sure you comply with any ordinances. It is easier to follow a few basic rules than waste time stopped by law enforcement and pay a ticket. These local ordinances may also apply to utility terrain vehicles and single track motorized bikes (dirt bikes) so if you and your party have any off-highway vehicles, make sure to check local ATV rules and help everybody comply with their requirements.
How old do you have to be to drive an all terrain vehicle under Colorado ATV laws?
In Colorado, you must be at least 10 years old to drive an ATV on a public road. Private homes are exempt from this age restriction, though. Between the ages of 10 and 16, anyone using an ATV on a public road must be accompanied by a supervisor who has a driver’s license in good standing. The supervisor must always keep an eye on the ATV rider. If a kid does ride an ATV on public or private property, the vehicle needs to be designed and built with kids in mind. A child risking serious harm by attempting to run an adult-only ATV. For safe and effective operation, always adhere to the operator’s instructions. If your child intends to ride in public spaces, make sure to check local laws for requirements for minor operators.
Do you have to buy liability insurance in Colorado for an ATV?
Colorado ATV laws do not require liability coverage to operate or own an ATV. Keep in mind as we’ve discussed, local ordinances may require liability coverage for operators when ridden in public areas, even if state law does not require it.
You can purchase insurance coverage for an ATV through a homeowner’s insurance policy. Often coverage for an ATV requires a separate rider in addition to your standard insurance policy. This coverage may provide liability coverage for the ATV operation for people injured as passengers or other people injured in the event of an ATV accident. ATV coverage may also reimburse you for repair or replacement of a crashed, damaged, or stolen vehicle. Check the policy terms before purchasing this coverage to make sure it provides valuable coverage. ATV insurance may save you considerable money if you have a claim or an injured person pursues a claim against you.
Do you have to wear a helmet on an ATV in Colorado?
Colorado law does not require helmets for adults to operate most motor vehicles. On the other hand, Colorado law requires helmets for minors to ride or drive ATVs and many other vehicles. Riders under 18 years of age must wear a helmet that passes the Department of Transportation safety standards. It is a good idea for all riders to wear a helmet to avoid a brain, face, or head injury. If you operate an ATV on public roadways in Colorado, the ATV must have a head lamp, tail lamp, muffler, spark arrester and brakes. Riding without the required safety equipment may result in a ticket in addition to increasing the likelihood of an injury to you or others.
What should I do if I am in an ATV accident?
Like any motor vehicle accident, your health and safety are a priority. If the collision occurred on public roadways, you may need to contact the state or federal agency responsible for the property to report the accident. You should also exchange information with the operator of the responsible ATV and collect information from any other witness. Take photos of the scene and your injuries if possible. If you are seriously injured, you should call 911 or the number designated to reach park officials so they can contact an ambulance to take you to a hospital. If you are able to leave the scene on your own, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. An emergency physician can evaluate you and give you a treatment plan if necessary. Keep any records, bills, or receipts from your visit. Then contact an accident attorney about a potential claim. You may have the right to recover compensation for your injuries and financial losses if someone else’s negligence caused your accident.