Have you ever wondered if ATVs are Street legal in New Mexico? Well, look no further as we have all the answers you are looking for. And maybe even answers to questions you didn’t know you should be asking about ATVs’ street legality in NM.
In New Mexico, it is not allowed to ride ATVs on streets and roads, except if they are maintained by a city or municipality, and a proper authority has designated them for ATV use.
Per state law, it is only allowed to cross streets and roads on an ATV, if they are not limited-access highways or freeways. So, let’s explain this in further detail. And also cover the other information you must have if planning on riding an ATV in New Mexico.
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Are ATVs Street legal in New Mexico?
Per the New Mexico Statutes, ATVs are allowed only to cross streets and roads that are not limited-access highways or freeways. But the law also allows the local municipalities, cities, and counties; to designate streets and roads in their jurisdiction that are permitted for ATV and OHV use.
In such case the State law prescribes the conditions that must be met, for an ATV to be legally on such road:
- ATV must have at least one headlight and one taillight,
- ATV must have a brake, mirrors, and muffler,
- ATV must be properly registered and permitted,
- the operator must have a valid driver’s license or permit,
- the operator must be insured in accordance with the Mandatory Financial Responsibility Act,
- the operator must wear eye protection and if under 18 also a safety helmet
Local authorities and agencies in charge of various public lands are allowed to enforce other limits and regulations if they are not in conflict with the above requirements.
Also, they can institute separate speed limits for ATVs, that are lower than the posted speed limits for other vehicles.
When the state highways are in question, you are allowed to drive on the side of them only for the purpose of reaching an area adjacent to them where ATVs are permitted, or to return from such an area.
Can I ride an ATV on public lands in New Mexico?
Yes, but only on the public lands and roads that are designated for use by ATVs and other OHVs, and only if your vehicle satisfies the above requirements. Keep in mind that proper agencies can enforce additional requirements.
In other words, an ATV must be properly registered and permitted, and has headlights and taillights, brakes, mirrors, and muffler; to be driven on public lands and roads where ATV traffic is allowed.
Because it is in the jurisdiction of individual local municipalities to designate streets, roads, and public lands allowed for ATVs, you must inform yourself about it at the proper authority.
Usually, you can get all info at the Sheriff’s office. Or consult the NM Game and Fish Department’s list of local OHV rules.
When it comes to public lands under the authority of the state and federal agencies, some are designated for use by ATVs and OHVs.
Precise information you can get from their respective field offices in charge of specific lands and trails.
Can I ride an ATV on private lands in New Mexico?
Yes, it is perfectly legal to drive on private property in New Mexico, given that you have permission from the owner of such property.
In addition, there are no other legal requirements to ride an ATV on private land concerning registration or permits and licenses.
Do I have to register or title an ATV in New Mexico?
All New Mexico residents must title and register their ATVs, and also purchase Paved Road use decals that allow you to ride their vehicles on public roads and lands where they are allowed.
The initial registration fee is $53 and has a validity period of 2 years. Subsequent renewals are $50.
To register your vehicle, you need to contact any local New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department office.
The Paved Road permit, which you can purchase online at the NM Department of Game and Fish website, they are $48 for a two-year permit and $18 for a 90-day permit.
Non-residents that wish to ride their ATVs in New Mexico can do so on the same roads and public lands as residents if their ATVs are registered in states that have registration requirements.
But, they must purchase a Paved Road permit if they come from the following states that don’t have registration programs and no use fee schemes:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Do I need a driver’s license to operate an ATV in New Mexico?
For riding an ATV on private land you do not need a driver’s license. But, to be able to drive it on public roads and lands, you must have one. If a rider is 13 and older, a motorcycle license is valid, while for 15 and older a driver’s license is also valid.
If riders between 13 and 17 years do not have a license, they must be under the supervision of an adult with a driver’s license.
Certain age-related limits are in force in New Mexico:
- riders of 16 and above age – are allowed to ride ATVs with engines of 250cc or larger,
- riders under the age of 16 – are allowed to ride ATVs with engines up to 250cc,
- riders under the age of 11 – are allowed to ride ATVs with engines up to 110cc,
- riders under the age of 6 – are not allowed to ride ATVs on public land.
Are helmets mandatory in New Mexico?
Helmets and goggles are required for riding ATVs on public roads and public lands for riders under 18, while for adult riders only eye protection is mandated.
Hopefully, this answers your question about if ATVs are Street legal in New Mexico.
They are only on the streets and roads designated by local municipalities and agencies that are managing the public lands.
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