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Rules of the open road for ATV riders

When driving our automobiles, we have to follow certain laws. There are signs telling us which direction we must take, where we can park and even where we are not allowed to go. Being respectful on the roadways prevents violations and accidents. But what about when you hop on your ATV-how do the laws differ?

Parks and trails are not a free-for-all for ATV enthusiasts. Someone owns that land, whether publicly or privately, and being respectful and considerate of it will ensure that it remains available for use. There will be restrictions that you'll need to respect. Look for maps that list the trails available to ATV use and then stay on the trail. Obey all trail markers and if a trail is closed, respect that you could be endangering yourself and others if you ignore potential safety hazards.

Excessive noise from your ATV is, frankly, obnoxious. Noise pollution can have a negative impact on any wildlife in the area, people who live nearby or folks enjoying the park or a hike. ATV tires are large and can do a lot of damage. This is why not every trail is open to riders. Too many complaints could be the end of being allowed to ride your ATV – anywhere.

Keep the roads clean. Littering is illegal everywhere. Keep an extra plastic bag for your trash and be responsible where you throw it away.

Be polite to others on the trail. If you meet hikers or other riders, give them the right of way. If you happen upon any livestock or wildlife, slow down and give them time to move. Try not to startle them as you could be endangering them and yourself.

And it is always proper etiquette to remove your helmet when talking to a landowner or someone you meet along the way. A helmet can appear intimidating and you will always want to appear polite and friendly. Try to remember that your behavior dictates the way all ATV riders are regarded.

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