Tips for Owning an ATV in Pennsylvania

The ownership and use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) is common and popular in Pennsylvania. These vehicles are used for various purposes, including farming, trail riding and sport racing. Many people enjoy ATVs all over the state, and the various models of these off-road vehicles are excellent tools on the farm as well as providers of many hours of recreational fun.

The flip side of the ATV craze, however, is that these four-wheeled powerhouses can be dangerous. Hundreds of injuries are reported each year as a result of ATV accidents. ATV fatalities, while fewer in number, also occur.

The state of Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (DOT) enforces Statute 77 Title 77 of the vehicle code (which regulates the ownership and use of snowmobiles and ATVs) in an effort to maintain regulated use of these vehicles and promote public safety. Knowledge of the regulations is an important element of owning and riding an ATV.

What does Title 77 mean to me?

In Pennsylvania, anyone who owns and uses an ATV must register it with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). In some cases, such as business or farm use only, this registration process can be eliminated, but each owner should check with DCNR to verify his or her legal obligations. Two types of registration exist in Pennsylvania: General registration allows the owner to ride the vehicle on property other than the owner’s. Limited registration is appropriate when the owner will ride the ATV only on his or her own property. There is no fee associated with limited registration.

ATVs must be titled by DCNR. Owners can obtain title for their ATVs for a fee of $22.50 through DCNR. Registration must be renewed every two years. When an ATV owner changes addresses, the owner must notify the DCNR within 15 days and must update and sign the registration certificate and return it to the DCNR.

Proper liability insurance is required on all registered ATVs.

Tips for Lawful Use of an ATV

Title 77 regulates the use of ATVs in Pennsylvania. The following rules help promote public safety and ensure that ATV riders respect private and public property.

  • ATVs can be ridden on state-designated ATV trails, on public roads during officially declared emergency periods (such as snow emergencies), and “may be operated only on streets and highways designated and posted as an ATV road by the government agency having jurisdiction over the road,” according to the Pennsylvania DOT.
  • Riders between the ages of 8 and 15 must possess a safety certificate to be permitted to ride on state-owned land.
  • Children younger than 8 are prohibited from riding on state-owned land.
  • Helmets must be worn at all times by all riders.
  • ATV riders must not ride ATVs at excessive speeds or speeds greater than acceptable for other vehicles, as posted on traffic signage.
  • ATV riders must never ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Riding on state forest roads is prohibited.
  • Damage or destruction of public or personal property as a result of riding an ATV is illegal.

What if I’ve had an ATV accident?

If you’ve been in an ATV accident, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help. Call us today to set up a consultation to discuss your case with an attorney: 215-642-2335.