NYS VTL Law
Vehicle and Traffic Law
New York State Consolidated Laws
Article 48C - NY Vehicle and Traffic Law
RULES FOR OPERATION OF ALL TERRAIN VEHICLES
|2402||Rules and regulations.|
|2403||Operation of ATVs; where permitted.|
|2405||Designation of highways and public lands for travel by ATVs.|
|2409||ATV safety course and safety certificate.|
|2410||Operation by minors.|
|2411||Liability for negligence.|
|2412||Service on nonresidents and certain residents, administrators or executors.|
S 2400. Legislative purpose. It is the purpose of this article to
promote the safe and proper use of ATVs for recreation and commerce in
this state, to ensure the safety and well-being of all persons
concerning the use of ATVs, to minimize detrimental effects of such use
upon the environment, and to provide a method whereby municipalities
shall consider the designation of appropriate public lands for ATV use
and regulation thereof.
S 2401. Definitions. As used in this article, unless the context
1. "Governmental agency" means any agency of the state of New York and
all municipalities within the state.
2. "All terrain vehicle" or "ATV" means an all terrain vehicle or ATV
as defined in section twenty-two hundred eighty-one of this chapter.
3. "Owner" means any person having a title to an ATV. If an ATV is
sold under a contract of conditional sale whereby the title remains in
the vendor, such vendor or his assignee shall not, after delivery of
such ATV, be deemed an owner within the provisions of this section, but
the vendee or his assignee, upon receipt of possession thereof, shall be
deemed such owner notwithstanding the terms of such contract, until the
vendor or his assignee shall retake possession. A person holding only a
security interest in an ATV shall not be deemed an owner unless such
person also has possession of such ATV.
4. "Operate" means to ride in or on, other than as a passenger, or use
or control the operation of an ATV in any manner, whether or not said
ATV is under way.
5. "Operator" means every person who operates or is in actual physical
control of an ATV.
6. "Special event" shall mean an organized rally, race, exhibition or
demonstration of limited duration which is conducted according to a
prearranged schedule and in which general public interest is manifested.
7. "Authorized emergency ATV" shall mean an ATV designated as such in
writing by the chief executive officer of any duly organized volunteer
ambulance company, fire department, or paid fire department, operated by
a member thereof and equipped with emergency lights as provided in
section twenty-four hundred six of this article.
8. "Authorized police ATV" shall mean an ATV operated by a police or
other peace officer while engaged in the performance of his official
duties within the area of his territorial jurisdiction.
9. "Authorized civil defense ATV" shall mean an ATV designated as such
in writing by the chief executive officer of a municipality and operated
by a member of a civil defense organization of the municipality and
equipped with emergency lights as provided in section twenty-four
hundred six of this article.
10. "Operation as emergency vehicle" shall mean the operation or
parking of an authorized emergency ATV, police or civil defense ATV,
including attendant equipment, displaying emergency lights as provided
in section twenty-four hundred six of this article and which ATV is
engaged in transporting a sick or injured person to the nearest medical
facility or appropriate site for transfer to an ambulance as defined in
article thirty of the public health law, transporting emergency medical
services, personnel and equipment to sick or injured persons, pursuing
an actual or suspected violator of the law or responding to, or working
or assisting at the scene of an accident, disaster, police call, alarm
or other emergency but shall not include returning from such service.
S 2402. Rules and regulations. With a view of achieving enjoyable and
proper use of ATVs and minimizing the detrimental effect thereof upon
the environment, rules and regulations relating to, but not limited to,
the following may be adopted and promulgated as herein provided.
1. The commissioner may adopt rules and regulations:
(a) for conducting special events as provided in section twenty-four
hundred eight of this article;
(b) for the administration and enforcement of the provisions of
section twenty-four hundred seven of this article relating to liability
(c) establishing a comprehensive ATV information and safety education
and training program or programs including provision for issuance of ATV
safety certificates for operation of ATVs by youthful operators;
(d) with respect to uniform signs or markers to be used by
governmental agencies which are necessary or desirable to control,
direct or regulate the operation and use of ATVs. Such signs as may be
designated for use on highways shall also be approved by the
commissioner of transportation; and
(e) with respect to such other matters as may be necessary or
desirable to provide for the effective administration and enforcement of
the provisions of this article.
2. Any state agency may adopt rules and regulations not inconsistent
with the provisions of the vehicle and traffic law in a manner
appropriate to such agency to permit or regulate the use of ATVs on
specifically designated land, including highways, under its
S 2403. Operation of ATVs; where permitted. 1. Highways. No person
shall operate an ATV on a highway except as provided herein.
(a) An ATV may make a direct crossing on a highway other than an
interstate highway or a controlled access highway, provided:
(i) the crossing is made at an angle of approximately ninety degrees
to the direction of the highway and at a place where no obstruction
prevents a quick and safe crossing;
(ii) the vehicle is brought to a complete stop before crossing the
shoulder or main travelled way of the highway;
(iii) the driver yields the right-of-way to all oncoming traffic that
constitutes an immediate hazard;
(iv) in crossing a divided highway, the crossing is made only at an
intersection of the highway with another public street or highway, and
(v) if the crossing is made between the hours of one-half hour after
sunset to one-half hour before sunrise or in conditions of reduced
visibility, only if both front and rear lights are lighted.
(b) An ATV may be operated on any highway which has been designated
and posted as open for travel by ATVs in accordance with the provisions
of section twenty-four hundred five of this article.
2. Public lands other than highways. No person shall operate an ATV on
any public lands, waters and property other than a highway, except that
an ATV may be operated on any such lands which have been designated and
posted for travel by ATVs in accordance with the provisions of section
twenty-four hundred five of this article.
3. Private property. No person shall operate an ATV on the private
property of another without the consent of the owner or lessee thereof.
3-a. Real property of a farm operation. No person shall operate an ATV
on the real property of a farm operation, as defined in subdivision
eleven of section three hundred one of the agriculture and markets law,
without the consent of the owner or lessee thereof, where such owner or
lessee has erected or maintained any sign, structure, display, or device
prohibiting the trespass thereon, and which shall include a sign
stating: "No Trespassing". A violation of this subdivision shall be a
traffic infraction, and shall, upon a conviction of a first violation be
punishable by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars or by
imprisonment for not more than fifteen days or by both such fine and
imprisonment; upon a conviction of a second violation, both of which
were committed within a period of eighteen months, shall be punishable
by a fine of not more than four hundred dollars or by imprisonment for
not more than forty-five days or by both such fine and imprisonment;
upon a conviction of a third or subsequent violation, all of which were
committed within a period of eighteen months, shall be punishable by a
fine of not more than five hundred fifty dollars or by imprisonment for
not more than ninety days or by both such fine and imprisonment.
4. Emergency vehicle. The provisions of subdivisions one, two and
three of this section shall not apply to operation as emergency vehicle
by any authorized emergency, police or civil defense all terrain
S 2404. Operating rules. 1. No person shall operate an ATV:
(a) at a rate of speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under
the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards
(b) in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to unreasonably
endanger the person or property of another or cause injury or damage
(c) on the tracks or right-of-way of an operating railroad;
(d) in any tree nursery or planting in a manner that damages or
destroys growing stock, or creates a substantial risk thereto;
(e) while pulling a person on skis or drawing or towing a sleigh,
sled, toboggan, inflatable device or trailer which carries or transports
any person unless attached by a rigid support, connection or towbar;
(f) on the frozen surface of public waters: within one hundred feet of
any person other than a person riding on an ATV except at the minimum
speed required to maintain forward movement of the ATV, nor within one
hundred feet of a fishing shanty or shelter except at the minimum speed
required to maintain forward movement of the ATV nor on an area which
has been cleared of snow for skating purposes unless the area is
necessary for access to the public water;
(g) within one hundred feet of a dwelling between midnight and six
a.m., at a speed greater than minimum required to maintain forward
movement of the ATV;
(h) on public lands, other than highways, or on private property of
another while in an intoxicated condition or under the influence of
narcotics or drugs.
2. The operator of an ATV shall:
(a) stop and yield to an authorized ambulance, civil defense, or
police ATV or police vehicle being operated as an emergency vehicle and
approaching from any direction;
(b) comply with any lawful order or direction of any police officer or
other person duly empowered to enforce the laws relating to ATVs.
3. No person shall ride on or in a sleigh, sled, toboggan, inflatable
device or trailer which is being towed or trailed by an ATV unless
attached by a rigid support, connection or towbar.
4. A person operating an ATV shall ride only upon the permanent and
regular seat attached thereto, and such operator shall not carry any
other person nor shall any other person ride on an ATV unless such ATV
is designed to carry more than one person, in which event a passenger
may ride upon the permanent and regular seat if designed for two
persons, or upon another seat firmly attached to the ATV at the rear or
side of the operator.
5. For the purposes of title seven of this chapter, an ATV shall be a
motor vehicle and the provisions of such title shall be applicable to
6. Local laws and ordinances. Nothing contained in this article shall
be deemed to limit the authority of a county, city, town or village from
adopting or amending a local law or ordinance which imposes stricter
restrictions and conditions on the operation of ATVs than are provided
or authorized by this section so long as such local law or ordinance is
consistent with its authority to protect the order, conduct, health,
safety and general welfare of persons or property.
S 2405. Designation of highways and public lands for travel by ATVs.
1. Highways. Except with respect to interstate highways or controlled
access highways, the department of transportation with respect to state
highways, maintained by the state and any other governmental agency with
respect to highways, including bridge and culvert crossings, under its
jurisdiction may designate and post any such public highway or portion
thereof as open for travel by ATVs when in the determination of the
governmental agency concerned, it is otherwise impossible for ATVs to
gain access to areas or trails adjacent to the highway. Such
designations by a state agency shall be by rule or regulation, and such
designations by any municipality other than a state agency shall be by
local law or ordinance.
2. Public lands other than highways. A governmental agency other than
a municipality, by regulation or order, and a municipality, by ordinance
or local law, may designate any appropriate public lands, waters and
properties other than highways under its jurisdiction as a place open
for travel by ATVs upon written request for such designation by any
person, and may impose restrictions and conditions for the regulation
and safe operation of ATVs on such public property, such as travel on
designated trails and hours of operation. In addition thereto, such
agency or municipality may not require the operator of an ATV to possess
a motor vehicle operator's license. A municipality may charge a fee for
use of ATVs on such public lands.
3. Signs and markers. (a) Such designated highways or portions thereof
or designated lands shall be identified by markers in such manner as may
be provided by rules and regulations of the commissioner.
(b) All signs or markers shall be erected at the expense of the state
or municipality, provided, however, that the municipality may accept
funds or contributions therefor from private persons, clubs or
associations interested in the promotion of ATVs.
4. Any regulation, order, local law or ordinance which designates a
highway or portion thereof or designated lands which may be used for ATV
operations may include rules and impose restrictions and conditions for
the regulation and safe operation of ATVs on the highways and lands so
designated, such as travel on designated trails and hours of operation.
Any restriction or condition not contained in this chapter must be
5. Copies of orders, regulations, local laws or ordinances adopted by
governmental agencies pursuant to this section shall be filed with the
S 2406. Equipment. 1. No person shall operate an ATV unless it is
(a) brakes in good operating condition;
(b) a muffler system in good operating condition which meets federal
standards as established in 40 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part
205.166, sub Part E;
(c) a spark arrester approved by the United States Forest Service;
(d) tires having at least two-thirty seconds of an inch of tread with
no visible breaks, cuts, exposed cords, bumps or bulges;
(e) a lighted white headlight approved by the commissioner and a
lighted red taillight approved by the commissioner when operated for
one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.
2. No person shall operate an ATV or ride as a passenger on an ATV
unless he is wearing a protective helmet of a type approved by the
commissioner pursuant to subdivision six of section three hundred
eighty-one of this chapter.
3. No person shall operate an ATV:
(a) on a highway with tires equipped with any studs other than
(b) except as an authorized emergency ATV, police, or civil defense
ATV as an emergency vehicle, while displaying one or more lighted red or
a combination red or white lights which are revolving, rotating,
flashing, oscillating or constantly moving;
(c) as an authorized emergency ATV or civil defense ATV, as an
emergency vehicle unless it is equipped with one or more lighted, red or
combination red or white light or lights which is or are revolving,
rotating, flashing, oscillating or constantly moving and which has or
have minimum candle power of sufficient intensity to be plainly visible
from a distance of five hundred feet in all directions under normal
S 2407. Liability insurance. 1. An ATV which is operated anywhere in
this state other than on lands of the owner of the ATV shall be covered
by a policy of insurance, in such language and form as shall be
determined and established by the superintendent of financial services,
issued by an insurance carrier authorized to do business in this state.
Such policy shall provide for coverages required of an "owner's policy
of liability insurance" as set forth in paragraph (a) of subdivision
four of section three hundred eleven of this chapter. In lieu of such
insurance coverage as hereinabove provided, the commissioner, in his
discretion and upon application of a governmental agency having
registered in its name one or more ATVs, may waive the requirement of
insurance by a private insurance carrier and issue a certificate of
self-insurance, when he is satisfied that such governmental agency is
possessed of financial ability to respond to judgments obtained against
it, arising out of the ownership, use or operation of such ATVs. The
commissioner may also waive the requirement of insurance by a private
insurance carrier and issue a certificate of self-insurance upon
application of any person or any other corporation, having registered in
its name, one or more ATVs and furnishing of proof that a certificate of
self-insurance has been issued and is in effect pursuant to the
provisions of section three hundred sixteen of this chapter.
2. Proof of insurance as required by this section shall be produced
and displayed by the owner or operator of such ATV upon the request of
any magistrate or any person having authority to enforce the provisions
of this chapter. The failure to produce such proof upon the request of
any such person shall not be an offense but shall be presumptive
evidence that the ATV is being operated without having such insurance in
force and effect.
3. Proof of insurance as required by this section shall be produced
and displayed by the owner or operator of such ATV to any person who has
suffered or claims to have suffered either personal injury or property
damage as a result of the operation of such ATV by the owner or
operator, if such insurance coverage was required under the
circumstances of such operation. It shall be an affirmative defense to
any prosecution for a violation of this subdivision that such proof was
so produced or displayed within twenty-four hours of receiving notice of
such injury or damage, or the claim of such injury or damage.
4. No owner of an ATV shall operate or permit the same to be operated
anywhere in this state other than on lands of the owner of the ATV
without having in full force and effect the liability insurance coverage
required by this section, and no person shall operate an ATV anywhere in
this state other than on lands of the owner of the ATV with the
knowledge that such insurance is not in full force and effect.
S 2408. Special events. 1. The commissioner shall adopt and may, from
time to time, amend rules and regulations determining the special events
which shall be subject to permit and designating the equipment and
facilities necessary for safe operation of ATVs and for the safety of
operators, participants, and observers in such special events. Copies of
such regulations shall be furnished by the commissioner to any person
making an application therefor.
2. Whenever a special event is proposed to be held, the person in
charge thereof shall, at least thirty days prior thereto, file an
application with appropriate governmental agencies having jurisdiction
over the site of such event to hold such special event. The application
shall set forth the date and location of the proposed special event and
such other information as the governmental agencies may require, and
such event shall not be conducted without written authorization from
such governmental agencies. Governmental agencies shall either grant or
deny authorization to hold a special event within thirty days after
receipt of an application for authorization. The commissioner shall be
furnished with a copy of all such applications. No permit shall be
required for a closed-circuit special event held entirely on private
property, but appropriate governmental agencies shall be notified of
such event at least thirty days prior thereto.
3. ATVs operated at special events shall be exempted from the
provisions of this article concerning mufflers, lights and tires during
the time of such event, including all pre-race practice at the location
of said event.
S 2409. ATV safety course and safety certificate. 1. Safety course or
courses. The commissioner shall establish a curriculum or curricula for
an ATV safety training course or courses. Any such curriculum may
include, but not be limited to, on-vehicle training and safe riding
practices. The commissioner may establish different courses and
curricula for different types of all terrain vehicles. The commissioner
may permit any such safety training course to be given by any private
person, club, association or municipality which meets standards
established by the commissioner. The commissioner may establish a
reasonable fee which any such person or entity may charge for such
course or courses.
2. Safety certificate. Upon successful completion of a safety course
given in conformity with subdivision one of this section by a person ten
years of age or over, the person or entity which gave the course shall
notify the commissioner of such completion in a manner prescribed by the
commissioner, The commissioner shall, upon receipt of such information,
issue an ATV safety certificate to the person who has successfully
completed the course. Such certificate may be limited to the type of
vehicle for which the course was given.
S 2410. Operation by minors. 1. Except as provided by subdivision two
of this section, no person under the age of sixteen years shall operate
an ATV except upon lands owned or leased by his parent or guardian,
unless he is under general supervision of a person eighteen years of age
or over or a person sixteen years of age or over who holds an ATV safety
certificate. "Leased lands" as herein used shall not include lands
leased by an organization of which said operator or his parent or
guardian is a member.
2. A person ten years of age but less than sixteen years of age who
has received safety training as prescribed by the commissioner and has
received the appropriate ATV safety certificate issued by the
commissioner may operate an ATV in the same manner as a person who is
sixteen years of age or older.
3. The failure of a person to exhibit an ATV safety certificate upon
demand to any magistrate or any other officer having authority to
enforce the provisions of this article shall not be an offense, but
shall be presumptive evidence that such person is not the holder of such
4. No parent or guardian shall authorize or knowingly permit his child
or ward, if under sixteen years of age, to operate an ATV in violation
of any provision of this article, any rules or regulations promulgated
thereunder, or the provisions of any local law or ordinance.
5. No owner or other person in possession of any ATV shall authorize
or knowingly permit any person under sixteen years of age to operate
such an ATV in violation of any provision of this article, any rules or
regulations promulgated thereunder, or the provisions of any local law
S 2411. Liability for negligence. Negligence in the use of operation
of an ATV shall be attributable to the owner. Every owner of an ATV used
or operated in this state shall be liable and responsible for death or
injury to person or damage to property resulting from negligence in the
use or operation of such ATV by any person using or operating the same
with the permission, express or implied, of such owner, provided,
however, that such operator's negligence shall not be attributed to the
owner as to any claim or cause of action accruing to the operator or his
legal representative for such injuries or death.
S 2412. Service on nonresidents and certain residents, administrators
or executors. For the purposes of section two hundred fifty-two of this
chapter, an ATV shall be a vehicle and the provisions of that section
and section two hundred fifty-three of this chapter shall apply to ATVs.
S 2413. Accidents; reports. 1. The operator of any ATV involved in any
accident resulting in injuries to or death of any person or in which
property damage in the estimated amount of six hundred dollars or more
is sustained, shall immediately notify the nearest law enforcement
agency and shall within ten days after such accident report the matter
in writing to the department, with a copy thereof to the sheriff or
police commissioner of the county in which said accident occurred. If
such operator is physically incapable of making such report and there is
another participant in the accident not so incapacitated such
participant shall make the report within the allotted time after such
accident. In the event that there is no other participant and the
operator is other than the owner, then the owner shall within the
prescribed period of time, after learning of the facts of such accident,
report the matter to the department, together with such information as
may have come to his knowledge relating to such accident. Every such
operator of an ATV, or participant of any such accident, or the owner,
of the ATV involved in any such accident, shall make such other and
additional reports as the commissioner shall require.
2. Whenever any ATV meets with an accident involving a loss of life,
personal injury or damage to property and the operator thereof has
knowledge of such accident, he shall stop and give his name and address,
the name and address of the owner thereof and the registration number
assigned to said ATV to the injured person or the person sustaining the
damage, or to a peace or police officer. In the event the person
sustaining the damage is not present at the place where the damage
occurred, the operator shall, as soon as physically able, report the
same to the nearest law enforcement agency.
3. A peace, police, or judicial officer who investigates or receives
information of an accident involving an ATV shall make a written report
of the investigation or information received, and such additional facts
relating to the accident as may come to his knowledge and mail the same
within forty-eight hours to the department and keep a record thereof in
4. Failure of any person to report an accident as herein provided or
failure to give correctly the information required of him by the
commissioner in connection with such report shall be a misdemeanor and
shall constitute a ground for suspension or revocation of the ATV safety
certificate of any person or the certificate of registration of any ATV
involved in the accident. The commissioner may temporarily suspend the
ATV safety certificate of the person failing to make such report or the
certificate of registration of the ATV involved in the accident until
such report has been filed.
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