Are ATVs Street Legal in Maryland? (ATV, UTV Laws To Know)

Are ATVs Street Legal in Maryland

Have you ever wondered are ATVs Street legal in Maryland? Well, look no more, because we have all the answers about ATV and OHV street legality in Maryland and where you can ride them.

All off-road recreational vehicles, ATVs, and other OHVs are illegal to be driven on any street, road, parking lots, sidewalks, and all other public properties outside the ORV trails designated by the Department of Natural Resources.

In other words, ATVs are completely banned from all public roads in Maryland, and it is impossible for them to be street legal.

But, that doesn’t mean that there are no places where ATVs are allowed in the Chesapeake Bay State. So, let’s get into more details.

Are ATVs Street legal in Maryland?

As I’ve said above, in Maryland ATVs are illegal on all public roads, streets, and other public areas accessible by either vehicular or pedestrian traffic. This means that ATVs can’t be road legal.

The reason behind this prohibition is traffic safety, first and foremost the ATV drivers.

These vehicles, because they are purpose-built for off-road driving, do not have any safety features that will protect a rider, and have tires that are unsafe on paved roads.

But, this doesn’t make owning an ATV illegal, and there are many designated off-road trails that are open for them, but certain requirements apply for riding them on these trails.

Read also: Are ATVs Street Legal in Arkansas? (UTV Laws To Know)

Can I ride an ATV on public lands in Maryland?

Riding an ATV on public lands in Maryland is subject to strict state-wide regulations. ATVs and other ORVs are not allowed on public lands, except on the ORV trails designated and managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and agencies in charge of the state parks and forests.

For an ATV to be allowed on these lands, such a vehicle must be properly registered with Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and titled, but also registered with DNR, and the ORV decal properly displayed.

You can register your ATV at any DNR Regional Service Center, or online.

If you register online, you will receive the ORV permit that you can print and carry with you when riding instead of the ORV decal, until they arrive by snail mail.

Can I ride an ATV on private lands in Maryland?

Riding an ATV on private property in Maryland is allowed, but also comes with some limitations and you must abide by certain rules.

The first regulation you should be aware of is that the ATV must be titled even for riding on private property.

Also, you must have permission from the owner or their legal representative/agent, unless you are the owner of the property. But, counties have the right to institute an ordinance that is more stringent than state law.

One such is Montgomery County, where it is also required that you carry written permission from the owner, but also have proper D.O.T. approved helmet and eye protection. Because ATVs can’t have windshields, you must wear goggles.

Read also: Are ATVs Street Legal in Alaska? (Yes, Here Is Why)

Do I have to register or title an ATV in Maryland?

Titling and registering are required for all ATVs in Maryland, and they are done at the same time. To complete this procedure you will need:

  • proof of ownership – the original Certificate of Origin for a new or existing title for a used vehicle, in case of the private sale of never before titled vehicle a bill of sale is required while a signed affidavit can be used as proof of ownership,
  • filled out forms for the certificate of title and for title decal application, 
  • proof of the purchase price
  • $100 Maryland titling fee, and a $5 title decal fee
  • 6% of the purchase price for excise tax, or $19.20 if the vehicle is older than 7 years and the purchase price is under $320.

Do I need a driver’s license to operate an ATV in Maryland?

When riding an ATV on public lands, it is required that you have a driver’s license if you are 18 and older. If you are 16 or 17 years of age, you can ride with a learner permit if you are accompanied by an adult with a driver’s license.

The minimum age for riding an ATV in Maryland is 12 when a person must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, who must have a valid driver’s license.

For riding on private property, you do not need a driver’s license.

Are helmets mandatory in Maryland?

When riding an ATV, State law requires that a D.O.T. approved helmet be worn on both public and private properties, but on public lands goggles are also required if the ATV doesn’t have a windshield..

Beside these two items, your ATV also must have:

  • at least one headlight and one red taillight if riding between sunset and sunrise,
  • a muffler that decreases the noise level of the engine to 86 decibels at a distance of 50 feet,
  • a spark arrestor.

Where to ride an ATV in Maryland

Besides the private properties, in Maryland, you can ride an ATV on several ORV trails located in state parks and natural reserves. They are:

  • Garrett State Forest in Garrett County – Piney Mountain Trail and Garrett Trail,
  • Potomac State Forest in Garrett County – Potomac River Trail and Backbone Mountain Trail,
  • Savage River State Forest in Garrett County – Meadow Mountain Trail, Poplar Lick Trail, Markgraf Plantation Trail, Negro Mountain Trail, 
  • Green Ridge State Forest in Allegany County – East Valley Trail and Town Hill Trail,
  • Pocomoke State Forest in Worcester County – Chandler Trail.


Maryland is one of the states where ATVs and other OHVs are completely banned from public roads and streets.

But, they are allowed on certain public off-road trails in state forests. TO be able to ride on them, your ATV must be titled and registered with Motor Vehicle Administration but also registered with the Department of Natural Resources.

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Jeff is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Reatta. Jeff has been creating written and video content about transportation, automotive, electric cars, future vehicles as well as new, used for more than 18 years. Jeff is based in Boulder, Colorado.

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