Are ATVs Street Legal in Virginia? (ATV, UTV Law To Know!)

Are ATVs Street Legal in Virginia

Have you ever wondered if ATVs are street legal in Virginia? Well, look no further as we have in one place all the answers you are looking for. And some that you probably weren’t aware that you could need.

By the Code of Virginia, ATVs are not allowed to be operated on any public street, road, or highway, unless they are specifically designated, for the purpose of crossing them, or they are part of the Pocahontas Trail.

There are many areas in Virginia that are designated for use by all-terrain vehicles, and other regulations must be obeyed when riding on them. So, let’s discuss them in further detail, as these are things you must know before setting off on an ATV adventure.

Are ATVs street legal in Virginia?

The Virginia State laws forbid the use of ATVs on any public land, street, road, or highway, except in several cases. If such roads are specifically designated for ATV use, which is the case with all ATV trails within the state parks. For crossing them by the most direct route.

It is also allowed to travel the Pocahontas trail on an ATV, including the sections of state highways that are part of it. You are allowed on Virginia Route 635 in Buchanan County, and Virginia Routes 644, 663, 659, 627, 734, and 747; in Tazewell County.

While using any of these public roads, you must obey the speed limit of 25mph, wear a helmet approved for motorcycle use, travel on the highway for no more than 1 mile between two off-roading trails, ride only solo unless the ATV has a separate passenger seat, ride only during daylight hours, and respect age and engine size restriction, and other laws of the road.

The above rules do not apply if you are riding on private property. And also when an ATV is used in connection to farming activities, when it is treated as a farm implement, and rules regulating such use must be obeyed.

Read also: Are ATVs Street Legal in Arizona? (OHV Laws To Know!)

Can I ride an ATV on public lands in Virginia?

In general, riding ATVs on public lands in Virginia is prohibited. Unless the public land in question is designated as allowed for such use.

Public lands that are allowed for use by ATV riders are organized in several large systems of trails. Here you will find some of the best places for experiencing the open nature on four wheels.

The rules that apply to ATV use on public roads must also be respected when riding on any of these trails. Along with the other rules of state parks or trail systems.

The trail length ranges between 2 miles and 600 miles of complex trail networks, such as the Spearhead Trails system.

Many of them require a daily pass to be purchased, but the largest ones offer annual permits.

Can I ride an ATV on private lands in Virginia?

It is legal to ride an ATV on private property. If the operator is a member of a household or an employee of the owner or the leaseholder of the property, they can ride on it with no restrictions.

This also applies to the owner of the said property.

When riding on a property that is not owned by a member of your household, nor you are in their employment, you need by the law written permission to ride an ATV on their property unless some law prescribes you such right.

Read also: Are ATVs Street Legal in Missouri? (ATV + UTV Laws To Know)

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

Registering an ATV in Virginia is not possible, but all new ATVs that have an engine displacement larger than 50cc must be titled with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

To title your ATV you need to submit the following documents to a DMV customer service center :

  • completed Application for Certificate of Titling and Registration,
  • the Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin, either with a motorcycle dealer license number on it,
  • optionally, in case of purchasing a used ATV which are not required to be titled, Virginia or out-of-state title certificate signed over to you,
  • the Bill of Sale,
  • proof of address, one from this list of acceptable documents.

Once you have these documents, you will be required to pay the titling fee of $15 and the motor vehicle sales and use tax:

  • 7% – if a resident of the Historic Triangle (City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County),
  • 6% – if a resident of Hampton Roads, Central Virginia, or Northern Virginia,
  • 5.3% – if a resident of any other area in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The minimum payable amount for this tax is $75. In case you do not provide proof of the sale price, it will be calculated from the official NADA average retail price, at the above rates.

When titling a vehicle, you can, instead of requesting a printed certificate of title, request that DMV stores an electronic copy of it.

In the future, if you need a printed copy, you can request one time without any fee. While for any next copy you will have to pay a substitute title fee of $15.

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

No, you do not need to have a driver’s license, but some other age-related requirements exist for riding an ATV. For operating adult-size ATVs, you must be at least 16 years of age.

Children between 12 and 15 years of age can operate ATVs with the engine’s displacement no larger than 90cc, while younger than 12 no larger than 70cc.

Are helmets mandatory in Virginia?

Yes, helmets are mandatory for all ATV riders, and they must be of a type approved by the Superintendent of State Police for use by motorcycle riders.

Also, an ATV can have occupants only as many as there are seats for them.


When it comes to the question are ATVs street legal in Virginia, the answer is not really.

All-terrain vehicles are allowed only on specifically designated off-road trails and some sections of the state roads which are part of the Pochahontas Trail.

All ATV riders must wear proper helmets, and age-related limits on engine capacity exist, but a driver’s license is not required.



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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