If you haven’t decided on which features to use for your ATV or UTV, our recent post might give you a hand. Furthermore, this article specifies some of the most important rules so you will have the best experience possible.
Register your ATV
You can register your ATV if it is commercially manufactured, it is driven by an engine, and weighs 900 pounds or less. Furthermore, it needs to have a seat in order to be straddled, 3 or more low-pressure tires that are in contact with the ground, and a width that isn’t bigger than 50 inches.
Except for ATVs registered for private and private-agricultural use, all ATVs should have a license plate. If you decided to register your ATV for public use, a license plate is required. You may manufacture the plate yourself or purchase it. However, it must meet the imposed criteria.
If you decide to make your own license plate, make sure to respect all regulations. The plate can be made from any kind of material, but the information presented must be clear at all times.
Register your UTV
In order to register your UTV, it has to meet the following criteria. It has to be commercially manufactured. It should have a steering wheel, at least four low-pressure tires, a brake light, a tail light, and at least two headlights.
Furthermore, its weight should not exceed 2,000 lbs and the UTV’s width should be maximum 65 inches. Each occupant of the vehicle must have an available seat belt. It is also legally required that the UTV has a roll bar or a similar structural system.
ATV and UTV riding places
When riding an ATV or a UTV stay on the signed routes. Riding in a restricted area will cause public trails to shut down due to official complaints. Usually, ATV/UTV riding should be done on marked ATV routes only. The best solution is to check with local County, State and Federal Offices for the updated regulations.
Routes designated for ATV use
In general, these are public roadways designated for ATV/UTV use. All roadways designated for ATV/UTV driving should have appropriate signaling. ATV routes will be signed at the beginning and at the end of the route. Also, signs will be displayed at regular intervals across the route so riders will have no problems following the route.
If you can’t access the ATV route from a dwelling, you will need to haul your ATV/UTV to the closest legal access zone. Driving your ATV/UTV on a roadway in order to get to the ATV route is illegal.
What you need to know about safety certificates
All ATV operators older than 12 years must have a valid ATV safety certificate issued by the state of Wisconsin or any other state or province.
Operators must have the certificate with them at all times when driving in public areas such as ATV trails. If a police officer is requesting them to present the certificate, they should be able to do so in order to avoid fines or more severe penalties.
Situations where a safety certificate is not required
If you are operating the ATV/UTV on your family’s private property, no safety certificate is required.
A child under the age of 12 can ride an ATV without a safety certificate while being closely supervised by a designated adult. The adult should have the skills and knowledge necessary for driving this type of vehicle.
If an ATV/UTV is operated during an event, no safety certification is required if the event takes place on a closed course. Take note that all ATV/UTV drivers under the age of 18 must be attended by a designated adult.
Keep in mind that operators younger than 12 years old can’t drive on a roadway, no matter the circumstances. If crossing a roadway is necessary, the ATV will be driven by an adult or it could be towed having the key off.
Driving the ATV/UTV on roadways
It is legally permitted to operate your ATV/UTV on a roadway if that roadway is designated and signed as an ATV route. Also, you may enter a roadway for agricultural purposes.
You may cross a roadway when riding on a registered ATV trail or private property if you: cross the roadway as directly as possible, make a full stop before starting to cross, give priority to all vehicles and people passing by.
It is legal to drive your ATV/UTV on the roadway or a highway’s shoulder in order to cross a bridge shorter than 1,000 feet. Before crossing the bridge, make sure that the operation is in conformity with the county ordinance for that particular bridge.
When driving on a roadway:
Use the right side of the roadway’s surface.
Be as visible as possible. Keep your headlight and taillight on.
You can make a left turn after ensuring that it’s safe.
Speed limits for ATVs and UTVs
You must lower your traveling speed to 10 mph or less when encountering one of these situations:
You are driving within 100 feet of a person who is not operating a motorized vehicle.
When coming close to joggers, horses, bicyclists, etc.
You are driving on ice and an ice fishing shanty is closer than 100 feet.
A home or dwelling is closer than 150 feet.
You must respect the speed limits imposed when you are riding on an ATV trail to keep everyone safe.
An exception to the rule
If you are riding on a legal ATV road route, there is no need to lower your speed to 10 mph unless a speed limit is established by the local authorities.
Going hunting or fishing with your ATV
Using an ATV for fishing and hunting might be of great use. Don’t forget that off-road operations are usually not permitted on publicly owned lands.
Under no circumstances, should you enter private property without checking before with the owner or the manager for regulations and permits. Also, don’t enter areas delimited by a gate, cable, or fence.
It is not permitted by law to have your crossbow cocked placed on a motorized vehicle unless it is unloaded and placed into an appropriate case.
Unload any firearm before transporting them. Only handguns can be loaded while on a motorized vehicle.
It is also forbidden to discharge any firearm (inclusive handguns) from a vehicle, no matter if the vehicle is moving or not.
Only a disabled hunter with a proper permit may be able to fire his/her weapon from a vehicle.
Hunters which are permitted to shoot from their vehicles, must their firearms unloaded while the ATV is moving. Only the handguns can be kept loaded.
Don’t use your ATV to chase any wild animal as it is illegal.
Don’t drink and drive
It is against the law to drive an ATV/UTV on any public property while being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A person under the age of 21 operating an ATV/UTV should not have any quantity of alcohol in their system.
You are bound by law to provide a sample of your urine, blood or breath if a police officer considers that you are driving an ATV/UTV while being impaired by drugs and alcohol. Refusing to comply will get you an additional violation.
If you own a rental business
Owning a rental center comes with a lot of responsibility. Since you can ride an ATV without a vehicle driver’s license in Wisconsin, the risk of getting involved in an accident is bigger. When children are operating one of these vehicles they should be closely supervised by a responsible and experienced adult.
Without proper supervision, young riders might get themselves or others involved in very dangerous situations. Keep in mind that this type of vehicle can weigh as much as 1800-2000 lbs and is capable of reaching high speeds.
Children should wear at all times when riding an ATV an appropriate helmet (not a bicycle helmet) and wear a safety belt, if possible. Furthermore, closed boots and safety goggles are strongly recommended.
You should always have clean, usable helmets available for any person willing to rent an ATV or UTV. It makes no difference if a person is driving or not. Everybody who will be on the rented vehicle should wear a helmet.
It is against the law to rent an ATV or UTV to somebody who hasn’t turned 16.
If the renter is driving this type of vehicle for the first time, you must provide the person with proper instructions on how to operate it.
It is forbidden to rent an ATV to a person that is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.