Guide to ATV Laws in New York City

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    As ATVs continue to be prevalent on New York City streets, it is important to understand the legality of these vehicles and what might happen if a rider is injured in a crash.

    An ATV is defined by New York law as any all-terrain vehicle, apart from those intended for agricultural use or use on snow, that is for recreational or competitive purposes. Despite the fact that ATVs are not used for transportation, they must be registered with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. Registration must be renewed annually and comes with a yearly fee of $12.50. ATVs also need to be covered by liability insurance unless they are only ridden on an owner’s private property. ATVs can only be operated on approved lands, not New York City’s public roads. If you are hurt by a negligent party in an ATV accident, you may be able to sue for compensation.

    To schedule a free case evaluation with our New York City personal injury lawyers, call The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083.

    What is Defined as an ATV in New York City?

    In order to learn the various requirements and laws surrounding ATV use in New York City, it is important first to understand the definition of this type of vehicle.

    V.A.T. Law § 2281(a) defines all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, as any self-propelled vehicle that does not exceed 1,000 pounds or 70 inches in width and is intended for use on off-highway paths or in competitions. Snowmobiles or other similar vehicles designed for use on snow or ice are not considered ATVs in New York City. Similar vehicles used for agricultural purposes are also not considered ATVs and instead are utility task vehicles, or UTVs.

    ATVs are typically four-wheeled vehicles, smaller than cars, powered by gasoline. They’re generally purchased for recreational use or competitive racing. These vehicles typically only seat one person, the driver. Despite their registration and insurance requirements in New York City, ATVs are not street-legal vehicles.

    How to Register an ATV in New York City

    Registering an ATV is necessary upon purchase in New York City. Even when riding recreationally, it is illegal to use an ATV if it is not properly registered with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles.

    Proof of Ownership

    Before you can ride your ATV, you must properly register it in New York City. To do so, you must be able to provide proof of ownership. This includes a certificate or statement of origin from a manufacturer, a certificate of sale or transfer, a statement of ownership, an out-of-state title certificate, or an out-of-state registration certificate.

    Proof of Sales Tax Payment

    Part of the registration process for an ATV in New York City includes providing a proof of sales tax payment. To show you paid sales tax on your ATV, you can provide the bill of sale from the dealer or a receipt of the sales tax payment.

    Proof of Identity and Date of Birth

    In order to register your ATV with the Department of Motor Vehicles, you must confirm your identity. To achieve this, you have to provide six documents that show proof of name in addition to documents that prove your date of birth. Documents that are acceptable for proving identity to register an ATV include a New York driver’s license, learner’s permit, or state ID. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles provides a complete list of acceptable documents to show proof of identity.

    Fees to Register an ATV

    Registration for ATVs must be done annually. You must pay an initial fee of $12.50 to register your ATV. This fee will be applied yearly each time you renew your registration. There will also be a $12.50 fee to get a license plate when you first register your vehicle in New York City.

    Does New York Require Insurance for ATVs?

    New York City does require insurance for ATVs. If you do not have the minimum liability insurance for your vehicle, you cannot ride it anywhere in the state apart from your own property.

    In New York City, ATV owners must get liability insurance. The minimum coverage requirements for ATVs are $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for death, $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for injury, and $10,000 per accident for property damage. It is wise to get insurance for your ATV, even if you only plan on operating it on your own property, in case an accident occurs.

    Your liability insurance will cover an injured party if you cause an accident while riding your ATV anywhere in New York. It will not, however, cover your injuries if you are struck by a negligent driver while operating your ATV.

    Where Can I Drive an ATV in New York City?

    In all likelihood, you will have to go outside of New York City to ride your ATV. ATV use is prohibited on public roads and parks unless specifically designated for ATV use. You can ride your ATV on your own property whenever you like. You can also visit a private property that is specifically for riding ATVs, like trails and courses.


    New York City streets are congested, high-traffic places. Because ATVs do not meet the safety standards of cars and do not have airbags, turn signals, or other forms of protection, you cannot ride them on roadways in New York City. You also cannot ride an ATV on a road anywhere in the state unless that road has specifically been designated for ATV use. ATVs may also not be ridden on sidewalks in New York City. ATVs may be ridden to cross highways in certain situations, provided operators do so in accordance with the Department of Motor Vehicles’ guidelines.


    You can only ride ATVs in public parks designated for ATV use. Such parks are virtually nonexistent in New York City. For example, you can’t ride your ATV in Central Park. However, many parks and trails throughout the state allow ATV use. Be sure to confirm that the park you wish to operate your ATV in allows such vehicles. You may receive a fine for illegally riding your vehicle in those areas if they do not allow ATVs.

    Private Land

    There are no restrictions on operating ATVs on land you own in New York City. That said, there are few properties in New York City large enough to ride an ATV on. Private ATV courses, trails, and clubs in the greater area just outside of the city may allow ATV use. Even when riding your vehicle on private land, you must follow the safety guidelines laid out by the New York Department of Motor Vehicles.

    Who Can Legally Operate an ATV in New York City?

    While there is no age limit or license requirement to operate an ATV in New York City or throughout the state, there are special provisions in place for operators of a certain age.


    Adults, meaning those 18 and older, do not need a driver’s license to operate an ATV in New York City. That said, all ATV riders, regardless of age, must wear a helmet. The New York Department of Transportation also recommends that rides of all ages wear eye protection and protective clothing while operating these vehicles.

    Minors Under 16

    Minors between the ages of 10 and 16 can operate an ATV under certain circumstances, such as under adult supervision. Children of these ages can also operate an ATV without parental supervision provided they are doing so on property owned or leased by their parents. Children between 10 and 16 can also ride ATVs on lands where use is permitted without supervision if they have completed DMV-approved safety courses specific to ATV use.

    Minors Under 10

    Even minors under the age of 10 can sometimes operate an ATV in New York. Children under 10 years old may ride an ATV if they have adult supervision or do so on property leased or owned by their parents. A guardian or ATV owner is responsible for ensuring that a child under the age of 16 adheres to state and local ATV operation laws and provisions, according to V.A.T. Law § 2288.

    What to Do After an ATV Accident in New York City

    After an ATV accident in New York City, riders should follow certain steps carefully. In addition to filing a police report and a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles, operators should seek medical attention.

    File a Police Report

    Because ATVs offer little protection to riders, operators might be seriously injured in an accident. Whether you are hurt on a trail or illegally riding on a street in New York City, call the police. Documenting your accident and the identity of the person who caused your injuries is important. ATV accidents resulting in death, injury, or over $600 in property damage must be reported to the authorities.

    File a Report with the DMV

    Reporting an ATV accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles is also necessary in cases of death, injury, or over $1,000 in property damage. Our Long Island personal injury lawyers can help you file form MV-104 within 10 days of a crash resulting in injury. Failure to properly report an incident to the necessary agencies might result in misdemeanor charges or suspension or revocation of ATV registration or safety training certificates.

    Go to the Hospital

    Though not required by law, it is crucial to go to the hospital after an ATV accident in New York City. In doing so, victims can confirm their injuries and create documentation of them so that they can more easily recover compensation from an at-fault party. It’s best to seek medical attention immediately after an ATV accident.

    Can You File a Lawsuit After an ATV Accident in New York City?

    You may be able to file a lawsuit if you are injured in an ATV accident in New York City. In all likelihood, you will not have to meet New York’s serious injury threshold in order to sue a negligent party.

    ATV riders are not considered covered persons under personal injury protection insurance (PIP) in New York. This means that the PIP insurance you may have in case you get into a car accident as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian may not cover your injuries if you are hurt while riding your ATV.

    Because of this, ATV riders injured in accidents may not have to meet the serious injury threshold that car accident victims do in order to sue. If you are injured while riding your ATV, you can likely file a lawsuit against a negligent driver without meeting additional criteria. You will still have to abide by the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which is three years in New York.

    Compensation from New York City ATV Accident Claims

    Compensation for ATV accidents in New York City varies. If a victim is hurt while riding their ATV on streets not intended for ATV use, their damages might be reduced.

    Victims can often recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages if they are hurt by a negligent party while operating their ATV in New York City. This includes compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To recover compensation, you will have to meet the burden of proof, demonstrate a defendant’s fault for your injuries, and provide proof of damages.

    However, it is important to note that New York is a pure comparative fault state. This means that if you are hurt while riding your ATV on public streets in New York City, your damages might be reduced in proportion to your liability. That’s because it is illegal to ride ATVs on streets in New York City. The same can be said for ATV riders whose injuries are partially due to the fact that they did not follow other state and local safety requirements for riding ATVs.

    Talk to Our New York City ATV Accident Lawyers

    For a free case review with the Brooklyn personal injury lawyers, call The Carrion Law Firm today at (718) 841-0083.