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

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

Ohio is located in the Midwestern region of the United States; it is the 34th largest and 7th most populous state. There are several state parks, museums, gardens, and amusement parks to visit in this state; it is an excellent environment for riding ATVs.

Ohio ATV laws include: ATVs are not to be operated anywhere within the state unless registered and numbered. It is illegal to operate an ATV on a freeway or limited access highway. You can ride your ATV in Clear Fork Adventure Resort, Hanging Rock ORV Trails, and Maumee State Forest. 

ATV riding has become a very popular recreational activity lately, and there are more people riding ATVs for leisure than there ever was in the past decades. Previously, it was a sporting activity, and only professionals participated in ATV riding. However, now, you can learn how to ride an ATV, and with enough practice, you can become an expert rider.

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Ohio ATV Laws

In Ohio, an ATV is classified as a self-propelled vehicle designed for cross-country travel on water and land or other types of terrain and is controlled by caterpillar treads or wheels. ATV riding is popular in Ohio. The fact that it is a dangerous activity that must be conducted with caution, there are laws to regulate the operation.

Below are the ATV laws in Ohio.

  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on any public land in Ohio without registering the ATV with the state.
  • ATVs operated exclusively on private property or owned and used by the state do not need to be registered.
  • You must not operate an ATV on any nursery or planting area and private property without obtaining the landowner’s permission.
  • ATVs are not to be operated on any limited access highway or freeway or the right of way unless for emergency travel.
  • Any land or water controlled by the state is closed to the operation of ATVs unless there is a sign that says otherwise.
  • It is illegal to ride an ATV on the right of way or the tracks of an operating railroad.
  • No ATV must be used to pursue, chase, kill, or capture any animal or bird.
  • You must not use an ATV to transport a loaded firearm or a bow and other hunting tools that are not securely enclosed.
  • You can use an ATV to cross a highway as long as the crossing is made in a safe manner and does not interfere with other vehicles’ movement.
  • Every ATV rider must have a valid current motor vehicle driver’s license or a commercial driver’s license.
  • Children below the age of 16 are only allowed to ride an ATV on private property and must do so under the supervision of an adult who has a valid driver’s license.
  • You must not operate an ATV within the period from sunset to sunrise without displaying any lighted lights.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Ohio?

Ohio is a large state with several off-road parks, designated trails, and OHV areas that provide an excellent place for muddy trails, lakes, and hills. Regardless of your riding skill, there is a perfect and appropriate off-road destination in Ohio for you.

Every designated area has its specialty and the things they permit; so, one of the best places to ride your ATV without any problems is on private property. Nevertheless, we will look at the public places to ride your ATV.

Clear Fork Adventure Resort

Clear Fork Adventure Resort is a 13-mile resort with rugged and rough terrain. It is open from Monday to Wednesday from 9 am to 3 pm while from Thursday till Sunday it is open from 12 pm to 10 pm. Besides ATV riding, this park has other activities, such as rock climbing, bungy jumping, wakeboarding, sand volleyball, and knocker balls.

The trail at this resort has varieties of terrain ranging from light and moderate hill climbs, open grassy fields, and rugged hardpack. The terrain consists of loose dirt, berms, large jumps, water crossings, small jumps, steep hills, trees, rocks, mud, and dust, suitable for riders of all levels.

The off-road vehicles permitted at Clear Fork Adventure Resort are ATVs, Dirt bikes, Motorcycles, SXSs, and UTVs. Others like dune buggies, Sand rail 4x4s, SUVs, and Jeeps are prohibited. All riders must wear a helmet when riding. Camping and campfires are allowed in certain areas of this resort.

atv muddy trail

Hanging Rock ORV Trails

Hanging Rock ORV Trails is a part of The Wayne National Forest; it is open from April 15 till December 15. A Wayne NF Trail permit and Ohio APV tag are required to ride at this trail. It is open to motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, UTVs, and SXSs; others like dune buggies, SUVs, sand rail 4x4s, and Jeeps are prohibited.

This trail offers 26 miles of challenging loops that consist of water crossings, steep hills, hardpack, loose dirt, mud, rocks, dust, trees, small jumps, and berms. All vehicles entering this trail must have a spark arrestor and must not exceed 50 inches in width. All riders at this area must wear a helmet when riding; night riding is allowed.

Riding on this trail costs $20 per rider; there is no fee for entry and parking. Camping is not allowed at the main staging area in Hanging Rock ORV Trails, but you can camp in other areas. The noise limit for vehicles at this ORV trail is 99 decibels. Campfires are allowed on this trail, while trailblazing is prohibited. All riders are required to always stay on the trail.

Maumee State Forest

Maumee State Forest offers 8 miles of trail for off-road vehicles; it is open all year round from sunrise to sunset. Night riding is not allowed in this area. The terrain at the trail is mostly smooth and flat with slight elevation; it also contains sand, loose dirt, mud, hard pack, rocks, dust, trees, and berms. There are few shades on the trail.

This area is mostly suitable for beginners, but experienced riders can also ride without experiencing any issues. A staging area that provides direct access to the trail is available in this area. The staging area has amenities like an informational kiosk, restrooms, trash receptacles, and picnic tables. All vehicles entering this area are required to have an Ohio APV Tag.

The vehicles allowed at Maumee State Forest are ATVs, SXSs, Motorcycles, UTVs, and Dirt bikes; other off-road vehicles like Sand rail 4x4s, Jeeps, Dune buggies, and SUVs are prohibited. All vehicles must have a spark arrestor and not exceed the noise limit of 96 decibels. The maximum vehicle width in this area is 62 inches. All riders must wear a helmet when riding.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Ohio?

As much as there are places where ATV riding is allowed, there are also places where ATV riding is prohibited. Whether amateur or expert, you are expected to know where you can and cannot operate an ATV as an ATV rider.

You cannot ride an ATV on a public highway and roadway. It is illegal to ride an ATV in a nursery or planting area. You cannot ride an ATV in any wildlife habitat. Also, it is illegal to ride an ATV in a non-designated area or on a street closed to ATV operations.

Final Thoughts

We cannot deny the fact that ATV riding is a fun activity that you will enjoy alone or in a company; although, it is more fun in a company. Since ATV riding requires extreme caution, there are laws that ensure the safety of all riders and other people around. You need to comply with these laws so you can ride your ATV legally.

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