Understanding Operator Requirements

Age Restrictions

Persons under the age of 16½ may operate a recreation vehicle across a public way only if the operator is directly supervised by an adult. The public way and the crossing must be marked and approved for recreation vehicle use.

A supervising adult must be at least 18 years of age and sufficiently close to the operator at all times to maintain both visual contact and verbal communications with the operator. Supervising adults will be held responsible for any operational offenses by the person they are supervising.

Persons 14 to 16 years of age may operate an all-terrain or recreation utility vehicle only if:

  • The engine capacity is no greater than 90 cubic centimeters and…
  • The operator is directly supervised by an adult.

Persons 10 to 14 years of age may operate an OHV only if participating in a sanctioned race, rally, or organized event.

  • The engine capacity of the OHV must be no greater than 90 cubic centimeters.
  • The race, rally, or organized event must be approved by a municipal permitting authority.
  • OHV operation in preparation for the sanctioned event is allowed up to 21 days prior to the event.
  • During preparation and at the event, persons 10 to 14 years of age must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Persons under 10 years of age:

  • May not operate a recreation vehicle, other than a dirt bike, under any circumstances.
  • May operate a dirt bike that is appropriate for the child's size and age only if the child is participating in a sanctioned race, rally, or organized event.
    • The race, rally, or organized event must be approved by a municipal permitting authority.
    • For persons under 10 years of age, dirt bike operation in preparation for the sanctioned event must take place on private property.
    • During preparation and at the event, persons under 10 years of age must be supervised by an adult at all times.

Example Off-Highway Certificate

A municipal permitting authority is:

  • The chief of a municipal police department or…
  • A designee of the chief or…
  • The municipal official responsible for public safety.

Safety Education Requirements

All recreation vehicle operators under 18 years of age must complete an approved recreation vehicle safety and responsibility course.

Operators required to take a safety course must carry proof of successful completion of the course.

  • The course includes one mandatory, in-person session.
  • If the recreation vehicle operator is under 16 years of age, the parent or guardian must attend this session also.

To find out more about the education requirements, visit: www.mass.gov/ole

Safety Education and Registration Exemptions

The Director of the Office of Law Enforcement, Massachusetts Environmental Police, may exempt a participant of a sanctioned event who is not a resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from the recreation vehicle safety education and registration requirements.

To find out more about the non-resident exemption process contact the Massachusetts Environmental Police Boat & Recreation Vehicle Safety Bureau at 508-564-4961.