Delaware ATV Laws: Where And How To Ride Your ATV Legally

delaware atv laws

Delaware is the second smallest state in the United States; it has several beaches, parks, restaurants, and boutiques. Although there are a limited number of ATV trails available, you can still enjoy your ATV ride in the designated trails available. The fact that a state has a small landmass does not mean ATV operations will be boring.

Delaware ATV laws are: all ATVs must be registered with the state for a fee of $6 every three years before they are operated, and ATVs should not be operated on any public highway or street. You can ride your ATV on Maple Run ATV Trail, Burnt Mills ATV Trail, and Dixon R. Miller Recreation Area. 

The excitement associated with riding an ATV makes it more interesting and fun, but you can have better fun by riding in the right place. It will be a disappointment if your fun is cut short because you got in trouble with the law. Hence, knowledge of the law is imperative.

welcome to delaware sign

Delaware ATV Laws

In Delaware, there are several ATV laws on both the registration and operation of ATVs. These laws are strictly enforced, and violating them has consequences; you might be fined, your ATV seized, or in some cases, you will serve a jail term. Below are Delaware ATV laws:

  • All ATVs in Delaware must be registered with the state before use regardless of if they will be operated on private or public land; registration takes place in any Division of Motor Vehicles Office.
  • When registering your ATV, you must provide an accurate description of the vehicle, its make, serial number, and year of production.
  • Applicants registering an ATV must be aged 18 and above; if they are below 18, they must come with at least a parent or guardian that must provide written consent to the application.
  • ATVs in Delaware do not need to be titled.
  • Before operating an ATV on private property, you must have the property owner’s permission or the person in charge of the property.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on any public highway or street.
  • Every ATV rider or operator and passenger must always wear a helmet with the chinstrap fastened when riding an ATV.
  • You must not operate your ATV after sunset without displaying working head and tail lights.
  • ATVs of non-residents in Delaware do not need to register their ATV in Delaware before operating it as long as it has been registered with their residence state and must not be operated for more than 15 days.
  • You must not operate an ATV at an uncontrolled speed to avoid colliding with a vehicle or a person.
  • Children below age 12 must not operate an ATV on public land without adult supervision but can ride on private property.
  • All ATVs operating in Delaware must have a functioning brake and a muffler system that reduces the noise level by 60 percent.
  • As an ATV owner, you must renew your ATV’s registration every three years.
  • It is highly illegal to operate an ATV under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Delaware?

Delaware is located on the mid-Atlantic coast; so, there are many beaches, coves, and bays. There are also some state parks and coastal areas in this state. It is one of the best getaway countrysides to visit for holidays or vacation. Let us look at some of the places to ride an ATV in Delaware.

Maple Run ATV Trail

Maple Run ATV Trail is a part of Delaware State Forest and is open from the Friday before Memorial Day till the last weekend in September. It is an eight-mile trail that is mostly hard-packed and consists of trees, loose dirt, rocks, dust, and mud. This trail is a good choice for beginner riders as it has light elevation changes and the trails are easy.

The vehicles allowed at this trail are ATVs, SXSs, and UTVs; others like Motorcycles, Dune buggies, SUVs, Dirt bikes, Jeeps, and Sand rail 4x4s are prohibited. Your vehicle has to be 58 inches or less in width before it is allowed into this trail. The main staging area is available; there is also a vault toilet and a map kiosk.

Maple Run ATV Trail is open only during daylight hours; so, night riding and overnight parking are prohibited. All vehicles in this area must have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer or an end cap and must not exceed the noise level of 99 decibels.

Burnt Mills ATV Trail

Burnt Mills ATV Trail is another portion of the Delaware State Forest. This trail is open for the summer from the Friday before Memorial Day till the last weekend in September and then reopens for the winter after the deer hunting season till April 1. The terrain at this trail is mostly hard-packed with occasional gravel sections and some loose chunk rocks.

ATVs operating on this trail must be registered, have proof of liability insurance, and not exceed 58 inches in width. All vehicles allowed on this trail have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer or an end cap. Night riding and trail blazing are prohibited; all riders must wear an MX helmet while riding.

UTVs, ATVs, and SXSs are the only off-road vehicles permitted on the Burnt Mills ATV Trail. Other off-road vehicles like Dune buggies, Dirt bikes, Jeeps, Sandrail 4x4s, SUVs, and motorcycles are prohibited. This trail is about 7 miles and is mostly suitable for novice and amateur riders.

quad riding in the snow

Dixon R. Miller Recreation Area

Dixon R. Miller Recreation Area located in Monroe County, is a trail in Delaware State Forest. It offers about 15 miles of trail for ATV riders. While riding on this trail, you will have a scenic view of Pocono Mountain. The terrain on this trail is mostly hard-packed but also contains loose dirt, trees, dust, mud, and water crossings, rocks, and steep hills.

This recreation area has no campground; so, camping and open campfires are prohibited. All riders in this area are required to wear an MX helmet while riding. Before you can ride your ATV on this trail, you must have registered it and have proof of liability insurance. Riding in this area is allowed only during daylight, so night riding is prohibited.

SXSs, UTVs, and ATVs are the only off-road vehicles allowed at Dixon R. Miller Recreation Area. Only vehicles under 2000 pounds and with a width of 58 inches or less are allowed in this area. All vehicles at this recreation area must have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer and not exceed the noise limit of 99 decibels.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Delaware?

In Delaware, there are places you cannot ride your ATV, especially areas that are prohibited by the law. Riding an ATV in a place that the government prohibits can attract a hefty fine. You cannot ride your ATV on a public highway, street, sidewalk, and right of way. Snake Creek Motocross Park is one of the off-road parks in Delaware; however, you cannot ride your ATV in this park because ATVs are prohibited.

Final Thoughts

ATV riding is one of the best off-road activities you can engage in to have fun and let off some steam. You might be lucky to reside in a state with lots of ATV-designated trails; you have the opportunity to ride on a different trail every time.

Moreover, if you reside in a state with a limited number of ATV trails, this does not mean the fun associated with ATV riding will be cut short. You can create your trail if you have the resources. The most important thing to take note of is the ATV laws of the state.

By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher loves to play with new toys and dive into new hobbies. As a serial entrepreneur, work definitely comes first but there is always room for hobbies.

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