How to Legally and Safely Ride Your ATV in New York

Lever & Ecker, PLLC August 25, 2022 Car Accidents,Personal injury

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are motorized light utility vehicles designed primarily for off-road use. Also known as quads or four-wheelers, they are ideal for getting work done on farms and ranches. However, more and more people have begun to purchase them purely for recreational use. And with that has come an inevitable rise in accidents arising from ATV use, including people injured while riding ATVs and those injured when hit by ATVs being operated negligently or recklessly.

If you own an ATV in New York, you might be tempted to take it for a spin on your property or up to the local grocery store to pick up a few things. These compact vehicles might be convenient and fun, but before you hop on, there are a few things you should know about riding an ATV in New York, for the safety of both yourself and others.

New York Rules and Regulations Regarding ATV Use

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV),  states that an ATV is:

“Any self-propelled vehicle with two or more wheels that is manufactured for sale to be used primarily off-highway or in off-road competitions, and that is no wider than 70 inches and weighs no more than 1,000 pounds.”

Any vehicle meeting these characteristics must be registered with the DMV before you can legally operate it within New York state lines, even if you only want to use it on your own property.

The State of New York requires all ATV owners to hold liability insurance if they plan to ride the vehicle on any property they do not own. Minimum coverage for ATVs in New York is as follows:

  • $10,000 for property damage per occurrence
  • $25,000 for injury
  • $50,000 for death

ATV operators in New York are not required to possess a driver’s license. However, there are some restrictions for younger drivers. Children can legally operate an ATV in New York by satisfying the following conditions:

  • They are under adult supervision
  • They are operating it on lands owned or leased by a parent or guardian, or
  • They are operating it on lands where ATV use is permitted, and they have successfully finished an ATV safety course approved by the DMV (if the child is under 10, they must be accompanied by an adult or person 16 or 17 years of age who has proof of course completion)

Legally operating an ATV in New York also means always being equipped with a helmet approved by the United States Department of Transportation. As for the ATV itself, the vehicle  must have the following:

  • A muffler that meets federal standards
  • A U.S. Forest Service approved spark arrestor
  • Brakes in good working condition
  • No visible breaks, cuts, exposed cords, bumps or bulges in the tires
  • Red taillights
  • Tires that have at least 2/32nds of an inch tread
  • White headlights

ATVs are not permitted on New York highways unless the road is specifically designated and posted for ATV use by a state or local authority.

File a Personal Injury Claim for Injuries Suffered in a New York ATV Accident

Notwithstanding the above important requirements, ATV accidents have become far too common in New York. ATV accident injuries can significantly and permanently impact your life. If you or someone you care about suffered an injury in an accident while riding an ATV in New York, or while hit by an ATV being driven by someone else, you could be entitled to monetary compensation. Injured victims have the right to seek a settlement from negligent parties who cause ATV accidents by:

  • Driving on ice within 100 feet of a person
  • Driving on railroad tracks
  • Driving carelessly or recklessly
  • Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs
  • Pulling a person on a sleigh, skis, toboggan, sled or trailer with a rope or chain
  • Speeding

Who Should You Call If You Suffer an Injury While Riding an ATV in New York?

At Lever & Ecker, PLLC, we boast 60+ years of combined legal experience advocating for New Yorkers’ rights. When you work with our personal injury team, we will work in your stead and on your behalf. We are prepared to go to trial to get you the settlement you deserve. For a free consultation, call our office today at (914) 288-9191 or fill out our online contact form. For help in the Bronx, you may call our Bronx office at (718) 933-3632.

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