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Rhode Island ATV Laws: Where & How To Ride Your ATV Legally

Rhode Island ATV Laws: Where & How To Ride Your ATV Legally

Rhode Island is officially known as the State of Rhode Island. It is the smallest state in the United States and is famous for its sandy shores and seaside and houses several large cities. There are no ATV trails in Rhode Island. However, this does not mean you cannot ride an ATV.

Some of the ATV laws in Rhode Island include: all ATVs must be registered with the state. It is unlawful to operate an ATV on private property without the landowner's written consent, and ATVs are prohibited from highways except in special situations. 

ATV laws are one of the most important things an ATV rider or operator must always be aware of. Every state and country has its ATV laws that all ATV operators must always obey; there are consequences for violating these laws.

rhode island state flag

Rhodes Island ATV Laws

Rhodes Island classifies ATVs as recreational vehicles; they are motor vehicles designed to travel over off-road terrains. As determined by the division of motor vehicles, they are unsuitable for operation on the public way. There are several ATV laws in Rhode Island; violation of these laws attracts a fine, or your ATV might be impounded. Below are the Rhode Island ATV laws:

  • All ATVs must be registered with the state at a fee of $25, which will be renewed yearly.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on private property or operate someone else's ATV without written permission from the landowner or ATV owner.
  • All operation of ATVs on the roadway shoulder, on the inside bank or slope on a highway, or anywhere else within the right of way of an interstate highway or freeway in Rhode Island is prohibited.
  • All ATVs should be equipped with 16 inches of reflectorized material on both sides in a manner that reflects light directed upon it.
  • ATVs can be used to make a direct crossing of a highway or street any time of the day as long as the crossing is made at approximately 90 degrees to the highway direction and is done at a place where no obstruction can prevent a quick and safe crossing.
  • Before crossing a street or highway with an ATV, you must first bring the ATV to a complete stop, the crossing must be done at an intersection of the highway, and you must yield to the right of way of all oncoming traffic.
  • Every ATV operating on a public highway or street must be equipped with at least one headlight and one tail light that is white or amber and can reveal a person or object 100 feet ahead or behind the ATV.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV in a tree nursery or planting area in a manner that damages the plants or affects the growth of the plants.
  • You can only ride an ATV on a public highway or street in an emergency where snow has rendered the use of automobiles useless.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV at speeds greater than reasonable, in a reckless or careless manner that can endanger a person or the property of another, and under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotics.
  • ATV riders and passengers are required to wear a helmet equipped with a faceguard approved by the division of motor vehicles.
  • All ATVs operating in Rhode Island are required to be equipped with a muffler system in good working condition at all times; the muffler system must be able to blend the exhaust noise into the overall ATV noise and prevent excess or unusual noise.
  • Operating an ATV in a manner that drives, pursues, or harasses wildlife is highly illegal.
  • Children below age 16 should not make a direct crossing of a state highway with an ATV, while children between the age of 16 and 18 can make a direct crossing only if they have a valid motor vehicle operator's license.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV while in possession of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun.
  • Violation of any ATV law will attract a fine of $100 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days.
  • All ATVs are required to have a certificate of title except ATVs owned by the United States, non-residents of Rhode Island, and used as an implement of husbandry.
  • You have to be 18 years and above to possess a valid motor vehicle operator's license before you can cross a public street with an ATV.

Where Can You Ride An ATV In Rhode Island?

Rhode Island does not have any designated ATV trail or area to ride an ATV. The operation of ATV in Rhode Island is permitted only on private property. However, it would be best if you did not operate your ATV on someone else's private property unless you have gotten permission from the landowner.

Operating an ATV on private property without permission is punishable by the law and attracts a fine of $100. However, if you have a property, you can ride your ATV there without any worries; you can even invite your friends and families to ride with you as long as you do not venture into any public land while riding.

Where Can’t You Ride An ATV In Rhode Island?

It is against the laws to operate an ATV on any public land, street, highway, or roadway. You cannot ride an ATV within the Blackstone Valley Flood Plains or Marshes (also known as Valley Marshes). Riding an ATV in this area will attract a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $500, or imprisonment for 60 days, or both.

You cannot ride your ATV on any paved road in Rhode Island. ATVs are not to be operated within the right of way, on a road shoulder, on the slope, or inside a highway.

There are some off-road trails in Rhode Island where ATVs are not allowed; this is because the trails were developed for vehicles like Motorcycles and Dirt bikes. The places where you cannot ride your ATV in Rhode Island are Wrentham State Forest, Rhode Island Trials Club, New England Dirt Riders, MX691 Motocross, and RI Pits.

Off-Road Trails In Rhode Island

Although there are no ATV trails in Rhode Island, there are few off-road trails available. These off-road trails have challenging terrains and are mostly suitable for Dirt bikes and Motorcycles. There is nothing more exciting than ripping through forests and trails on the back of a motorcycle or dirt bike. Below are the off-road trails in Rhode Island:

Wrentham State Forest

This is 1024 acres of land with suitable terrain for off-road adventure and riding; the terrains are quite rocky but not too challenging. The trails in this area are open to bikers, snowshoers, hikers, and cross-country skiers.

girl rides quad atv on forrest

Rhodes Island Trials Club

This area is a 900-acre trail that is open to members only. The terrain in this area is mainly full of ledges, steep and narrow climbs, and rocky creeks. It is open all year round and available only for motorcycles and dirt bikes.

East Bay Bike Path

This area is a 14-mile trail that features some amazing views of busy marinas, coastal wildlife, and a picturesque bay view. Along the path, you have access to different parks, including amusement parks. The terrain in this area is quite challenging; bikes are the only vehicles allowed to roam this path.

Final Thoughts

Rhode Island is a very beautiful state with varieties of terrains. It is a pity that there are no designated ATV trails in this state. However, this should not prevent you from enjoying challenging off-road riding. ATV riding on private property is not a violation, so you can do that instead. You can easily ride a dirt bike or a motorcycle and enjoy an amazing off-road experience.