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Massachusetts Law Regarding the Operation of ATVs

All-terrain vehicles, much like motorcycles and cars, are governed by many laws relating to driver training, registration and safety. It is important for the safety of ATV operators and those around them that the rules governing ATV use in Massachusetts are always upheld. ATV and other recreational vehicle violations may result in fines and even imprisonment. ATV operators of all ages should familiarize themselves with Massachusetts and federal laws regarding the use of ATVs in order to avoid accidents and injuries.

Massachusetts Registration of ATV’s

Owners of Massachusetts ATVs are required to register their vehicles with the Division of Law Enforcement of the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Environmental Law Enforcement. ATV owners can purchase a two-year registration for $40.

Massachusetts ATV operators must always carry their registration certificate and be able to produce it should they be stopped by Massachusetts law enforcement or the property owner of the land on which the vehicle is operating. In addition, the registration plate must be secured and visible on the back of the ATV.

Unregistered recreational vehicles can only legally be operated on the ATV owner’s personal property. In order to operate a dirt bike, four-wheeler, three-wheeler or any other recreational vehicle on public property or another person’s private property, the vehicle must be registered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


All Massachusetts recreational vehicles must have certain equipment, including:

  • At least one white headlight
  • A red tail light
  • A red rear reflector
  • A muffler designed to decrease the noise of the engine and reduce noxious fumes
  • Adequate brakes
Safety Gear

All Massachusetts ATV operators, regardless of age or experience, are required by Massachusetts law to wear a helmet. Other safety gear such as goggles, pads and face shields are strongly recommended to prevent injuries.

Firearm Restrictions

It is illegal to operate or ride on a recreational vehicle with a loaded or uncased rifle, firearm or shotgun.

Operation on Massachusetts Public Property

ATV operators may not travel on or across Massachusetts public roadways or Massachusetts highways that are unauthorized for recreational vehicle use or have restricted access. ATVs are also prohibited on or around train tracks. When approaching traffic, ATV operators should always yield the right of way to other vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. Before a group of ATVs crosses a public road, all ATVs should come to a complete stop and cross one by one as safely instructed by a group leader.

Operation on Massachusetts Private Property

ATV operators must ask the permission of a Massachusetts property owner before riding on privately owned land. Trespassing, even with a registered vehicle, is illegal. In addition, Massachusetts ATV operators are liable for any damages that they cause to the property.

Environmental Protections

As bulky vehicles that are designed to operate on all types of rough terrain, ATVs have the potential to cause serious damage to the environment. ATVs are not permitted to destroy, damage or break down a beach or sand dune. In order to protect delicate environments, Massachusetts recreational vehicles are not permitted on wetlands, such as swamps, marshes or bogs. ATVs may not be operated on land used for the public water supply, or land that has historic or archeological significance. Additionally, ATV operators may not harass or otherwise disturb wild animals while operating their vehicle.

If You or Someone Close to You Has Been Injured in a Massachusetts ATV Accident, Contact Our Expert Massachusetts ATV Accident Personal Injury Attorney Experts Today at 617-787-3700 or Email Us at Our Boston, MA ATV Accident Lawyer Specialists Are Available 24/7.