Are ATVs Street Legal in Texas? (ATV + UTV Law To Know!)


Are ATVs Street Legal in texas

Did you ever wonder if ATVs Street are legal in Texas? You should not be looking further, as we have all of the information you are looking for. And probably some you are not aware you could need.

The Texas Statutes prescribe that you can legally ride an ATV only on a road with a posted speed limit of 35mph, and only 2 miles away from a place where it is regularly stored or parked.

There are also some other exemptions, such as for farming, but also some other regulations you must obey. So, let’s get on with them.

Are ATVs Street legal in Texas?

As I’ve said above, riding an ATV, and any other type of off-road vehicle such as UTVs, ROVs, or SxS, in Texas, is legal only within two miles from the place where it is parked. Which is in most cases, the owner’s residence. You can do so only on public roads and streets with a speed limit of 35mph.

Also, it can be done only during the day, and the vehicle must be titled.

While riding on these public roads, you are allowed to cross a road with a speed limit higher than 35mph at n intersection. If the vehicle is operated by a rancher or a farmer, they are allowed to travel 25 miles for farming-related work.

And also, the vehicle doesn’t need to be titled or display a license plate.

But then it must have an orang triangular flag affixed at least 6 feet above the ground. The so-called “slow-moving emblem”.

Vehicles that are operated on public roads in Texas must have:

  • brakes,
  • muffler,
  • US Forest Service approved spark arrestor,
  • headlights and backlights.

State law also leaves an option for most cities and counties to pass ordinances that allow ATVs and other OHVs on some or all reads and streets in their jurisdiction.

But such roads can be only those with a speed limit of 35mph or lower.

Another case where an authority can allow ATVs or OHVs on their roads is the master-planned communities.

Read also: Do ATVs Have Titles in Texas (ATV and UTV Registration Laws in Texas)

Can I ride an ATV on public lands in Texas?

On public lands in Texas, you are allowed to ride an ATV and other OHVs only on the designated trails and designated areas.

To be able to do so, your vehicle must have the Off-Highway Decal issued by Texas Park and Wildlife Department.

There are around 25 designated OHV areas and trails. Some of them are public lands in state parks, while some are developed as part of the Texas Park and Wildlife Department’s OHV grant program.

The OHV Decal can be purchased at TPWD locations or online. To be able to ride on public OHV designated lands, you must have it on your vehicle.

But if you buy it online, it can take up to 15 days until you get it. Because of this, you can print the receipt and carry it instead.

The OHV Decal costs $16 and it is valid during the fiscal year when it was bought. In other words, until the next August 31.

Can I ride an ATV on private lands in Texas?

Yes, you can perfectly legally ride ATVs and OHVs on private lands in Texas if you have permission from the owner of that private land or you are the owner.

But, there are some exceptions. Master-planned communities and homeowner associations. Both MPCs and HOAs have legal rights to impose strict regulations within them.

Same as they can allow ATVs and other OHVs on their roads because their whole area is actually private property, they can also ban them.

If you live in one of these, MPC or HOA, you should make sure that you are informed of what its regulations say about ATVs.

Read also: Are ATVs Street Legal in Utah? (ATV + UTV Low To Know!)

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

No, registering an ATV is not possible in Texas, but titling is required for riding in anywhere in Texas. To title it, you will need to provide a completed Application for Texas Title and/or Registration Form 130-U, provide proof that you have paid 6.25% Off-Highway use tax and an additional 2% where it applies, and pay a $28 to $33 titling fee.

For proof of paid taxes, you can either pay them online, when you will receive a receipt, or submit form 01-163. All these you need to submit to a county tax assessor collector office.

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

Yes, to be able to drive the ATV on the public roads, and also various authorities, such as MCPs and HOAs can require it on the private lands under their management.

To be able to ride on public lands that are designated for OHV use, in case you do not have a driver’s license, an OHV or ATV safety certificate is required. Certificates acquired out-of-state are valid too.

For children younger than 14, a safety certificate is not required in case they are riding under direct supervision by an adult that has such a certificate.

Are helmets mandatory in Texas?

Yes, any person that operates an ATV or other off-highway vehicle must wear a proper safety helmet and safety goggles. 

Conclusion

If you are still wondering are ATVS street legal in Texas, let’s recap. ATVs are legal to be driven up to 2 miles of distance from your residence, and only on the roads with a speed limit of 35mph or less. If you are engaged in farming activity, then up to 25 miles distance.

Local governments and MCPs have the right to permit or ban ATVs on roads in their territories.

References

https://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/buying-or-selling-a-vehicle/unique-vehicles

https://atvman.com/texas/

Jeff

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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