There are tons of outdoor recreations for people who are living in or visiting West Virginia. From hiking to skiing, you can get into the great outdoors with family and friends. Riding on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is one type of recreation that can let you see the sights and the wildlife. Before getting behind the wheel, you need to understand all West Virginia ATV laws to stay in compliance and to avoid getting into an accident along old country roads, fields and trails.
ATV Rider Restrictions
In West Virginia, children under the age of 18 are permitted to ride ATVs so long as they take a vehicle rider safety awareness course. Once completed, they will receive a certificate that indicates they have taken this course. Riders under 18 must also wear protective helmets that are size appropriate any time they are on an ATV. In addition, extra passengers are not permitted on the ATV unless the manufacturer states that more than one passenger can ride on it. If the extra passenger is going to be under the age of 18, they are not permitted to ride on the ATV unless the ATV driver is over the age of 18, or if they are under 18 but have a level 2 intermediate driver’s license.
ATV Road and Highway Safety Laws
No ATVs are allowed to be driven along highways and roads. The only time that an ATV is permitted on an interstate is when it is being operated by public safety personnel if they must drive one when they are responding to a nearby emergency. You can drive an ATV along the shoulder of a highway or road for up to 10 miles at a speed of 25 miles per hour or less. This law allows you to drive to another trail or field so the ATV can be operated.
The only time an ATV can be driven on a road is when crossing it to reach the other side. When crossing the highway or street, the ATV must come to a complete stop before making the crossing and yield to oncoming traffic. When the road is clear, the ATV must cross at a 90-degree angle and there should be no obstructions on the other side. Also, the ATV must have all working headlights and tail lights, if applicable, that are illuminated when making the crossing.
Additional West Virginia ATV Laws
Other laws to be aware of include certain equipment that must be available on the ATV and hours of operation. An ATV must have a muffler as well as a spark arrester. The muffler and spark arrester must be either manufacturer installed or the equivalent. Both items have to be properly connected to the ATVs exhaust system. In addition, the spark arrester and muffler should be in good working order while driving the ATV. When driving the ATV, you can only use it during the hours of sunrise and sunset when not having any illuminated tail lights, headlights or other lights.
Penalties Regarding West Virginia ATV Laws
If you should go against any of the ATV laws in West Virginia, you could face fines and community service if convicted. For adults found guilty of not following ATV laws, they will be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined $100. If it is a child under the age of 18 years of age violates West Virginia ATV laws, the parent or responsible guardian will be fined $50 for the first offense and have to serve 10 hours or less of community service. If the child violates the ATV laws a second time, the adult or legal guardian will be fined $100 and serve 20 hours or less of community service.
Staying in Compliance with West Virginia ATV Laws
Driving at safe speeds, wearing the necessary protective gear, and paying attention of your surroundings can allow you to stay in compliance with all ATV laws in West Virginia while enjoying the ride. You should also remember to avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs when operating any type of motor vehicle. You will keep not only yourself and your passengers, but also the general public safe while you are out taking a ride. You should also take extra care when driving in designated parks or trails to avoid collisions with other ATV drivers or obstacles that may appear in the path.
If you are injured in an ATV accident that was caused by someone’s negligence, you will have medical bills and lost wages to deal with. Getting compensated for your injuries will allow you to pay off your expenses and not be financially crippled due to your accident. Here at Johnstone & Gabhart, we help clients with their personal injury cases. Fill out our convenient form to set up a free initial consultation.