Wednesday, May 11, 2016

ATV Rules and Regulations in Kentucky

By Steve Franzen, Campbell County Attorney 

Under Kentucky Revised Statute, a person shall not operate an all-terrain vehicle upon any public highway or roadway or upon the right-of-way of any public highway or roadway.  There is an exception to this law for vehicles specifically authorized to operate on public highways prior to the law’s effect on July 15, 1998.  Also public highways that the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, a City or County government may designate for use of ATVs would be exempt from this law.

Kentucky law provides that a person shall not operate an all-terrain vehicle on private property without the consent of the land owner, tenant or individual responsible for the property.  Also a person shall not operate an all-terrain vehicle on public property unless the governmental agency responsible for the property has approved the use of the ATVs on the public property.

A person operating an ATV on public property is required to wear approved protective headgear at all times the vehicle is in motion.  However, the approved headgear requirement does not apply when the operator of the ATV is engaged in farming or agricultural activities, mining activities, logging activities, or any other business, commercial or industrial activity.  Also, the use of protective headgear is not required if the ATV is being used on private property.


A person under the age of sixteen (16) years is not permitted to operate any ATV with an engine size exceeding ninety (90) cubic centimeters displacement and a person under sixteen (16) years also is not permitted to operate an ATV except under direct parental supervision.

A child under the age of twelve (12) years is not permitted to operate an ATV with an engine size exceeding seventy (70) cubic centimeters displacement and without direct parental supervision.

During daylight hours, ATVs may be operated on any two (2) lane public highway only for the purpose of crossing the highway in which case the operator must cross the highway at as close to a ninety (90) degree angle as is practical and safe and shall not travel on the highway for more than 2/10's of a mile.  Also, a person may operate an ATV on a two (2) lane public highway if the operator is engaged in farm or agricultural related activities, construction, road maintenance or snow removal.

There are criminal penalties for violation of the above noted laws concerning ATVs.  The operator may be fined up to Fifty Dollars ($50.00) plus court costs.  Of course, if someone is injured as a result of the operation of the ATV, there could also be civil law suits.

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