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

illinois atv laws

Illinois borders the Mississippi River on the west and Indiana on the east, and it is famous for its many forests, farmlands, wetlands, and rolling hills. This US state is nicknamed the prairie state. There are many areas and places to ride an ATV in Illinois.

Some of Illinois ATV laws are that every ATV owner must have a certificate of title for their ATV and must obtain an OHV usage stamp before riding on a public road. Some of the places you can ride your ATV in Illinois are Atkinson Motorsports Park, Little Egypt OHV Area, and The Bike Barn. 

If you plan on operating an ATV in Illinois, it is important to know the ATV laws and the places you can ride your ATV legally. Having knowledge of these keeps you in check and makes all your activities legal.

illinois flag

Illinois ATV State Laws

ATVs were not as popular in Illinois as they are currently. Now, there are ATVs everywhere, children, teenagers, youths, and adults enjoying a ride on ATVs. To ensure the safety of the rider and other commuters, there are ATV laws enforced. Illinois ATV state laws are:

  • Operating an ATV on the tracks or in the path of an actively functioning railroad is illegal.
  • Every ATV requires titling with the state unless they will be used for ranching, farming, or general agriculture.
  • You must never operate or ride an ATV under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • To operate an ATV on public roads or land, you must register the ATV with a Public Access Decal.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV that emits pollutants; this violates the standards of the Environmental Protection Act.
  • You must never operate an ATV in a careless manner and endanger the life or property of someone else.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on the street, roadway, or highway in Illinois.
  • Before crossing a street with an ATV, you must come to a stop and let any pedestrian or vehicle pass before you cross.
  • Crossing a roadway with an ATV should be done at a 90-degree angle where a safe and quick crossing is available.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on a railroad, within any natural preserve, or in any tree nursery.
  • Before you ride an ATV on private property, you must have obtained verbal or written consent from the owner.
  • You must not operate an ATV while possessing a firearm unless the firearm is unloaded.
  • Operating an ATV within 100 feet of dwelling areas between midnight and 6 am is illegal.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Illinois?

Illinois is a very large state that has many places you can ride an ATV. These areas are all different, and each has its laws and regulations. However, there is assurance that you will have lots of fun riding in these areas. We will look at some of the places to ride an ATV in Illinois.

The Bike Barn

The Bike Barn is a private property that is open only to members. It has 4 miles of trails and a motocross track. In this area, ATVs do not require a spark arrestor, nor do they have noise limits, unlike other ATV parks. SXSs and UTVs are prohibited in this area. However, Dirt bikes, Dune buggies, motorcycles, sand rail 4×4, and ATVs are permitted.

To ride an ATV at The Bike Barn, you will have to pay a fee of $50. The trails in this area are filled with loose dirt, berms, small jumps, trees, large jumps, mud, rocks, dust, and hard packs. Motocross, Mud bog, and hare scramble events are held occasionally in this area.

South Fork Dirt Riders

South Fork Dirt Riders is a family-owned park and are open every day from 8:30 am till dusk. It has more than 400 acres of wooded trails and many motocross tracks. Camping is one of the activities you can engage in at this park as there are adequate facilities like picnic areas, shower stalls, a repair shop, and restrooms.

To ride an ATV in South Fork Dirt Riders, you will have to get an Illinois DNR sticker, your ATV must have a spark arrestor, and the noise must not exceed 96 decibels. Dirt bikes, SXSs, UTVs, Motorcycles, and ATVs are the only vehicles permitted in this park. Occasionally, AMA sanctioned races are usually held at this park.

Atkinson Motorsports Park

Regardless of your skill level in ATV riding, Atkinson Motorsports Park provides an ATV trail suitable for you. It has over 200 acres of hill climbs, wooden trails, open valleys, and mud bogs. These trails range from narrow and twisty single tracks to wide and fast double tracks.

Before you can ride your ATV at this park, you must purchase a current Illinois DNR sticker at the entrance to the park. Atkinson Motorsports Park is open from 12 pm to 5 pm during weekdays and from 9 am to 5 pm during weekends. Every rider must always wear an MX helmet when riding an ATV. SUVs and Jeeps are the only vehicles prohibited from this park.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Illinois?

One of the main laws of ATVs in Illinois is that the movement of ATVs on public roads is illegal. You should not ride your ATV on the highway, streets, or roadway. The only exception to that rule is when you want to make a direct crossing at an angle of 90 degrees, and there must be no obstacle that could hinder that passage.

You cannot ride your ATV through or on a railroad or within any natural preserve or in any tree nursery. The government considers that action illegal, and doing so can cause an impoundment of your ATV.

Popular Places To Ride Your ATV

There are designated locations for riding ATVs in Illinois; these locations were developed as ATVs gained popularity. However, some of these locations are very popular and always filled up because of the thrilling experience the rider will get.

atv riding on a riverbed

The Cliffs Off-Road Park

The Cliffs Off-Road Park is a popular place to ride an ATV. It is open during the summer from 9 am to 5 pm from Friday to Sunday, while during the winter, it is open from 9 am to 4 pm from Fridays to Sundays. Every rider will have to purchase an Illinois DNR OHV sticker for $11 before entering with their ATV.

You can find deep water puddles, mud bogs, open fields, rock crawling sections, creek crossings, and some nice forest scenery at this off-road park. Sandrail 4×4, SUVs, Dune buggies and Jeeps are prohibited at this park.

Little Egypt OHV Area

Little Egypt OHV Area used to be an old strip mine until the Little Egypt Off Road Club developed it and made it one of the popular places to ride an ATV. This area provides roughly 50 miles of mud pits, wooden trails, 2 motocross tracks, and hill climbs. It is open only on weekends from 8 am to 5 pm.

Occasionally, special events and races are usually held at the Little Egypt OHV Area. There are some basic amenities in this OHV area, like a dump station, shower facilities, electric hookups, and a shaded picnic area. Only UTVs, Dirt bikes, SXSs, Motorcycles, and ATVs are permitted in this area.

Final Thoughts

Riding an ATV is supposed to be for fun, but where is the fun when your ride is put to an abrupt end by law enforcement agents? There is no fun in that, so you need to acquire knowledge of all the ATV laws in the state and city you want to ride an ATV. Know the designated and prohibited ATV locations before you set out to ride an ATV in Illinois.

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.