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Operator Age Restrictions

Restrictions are in effect on the operation of ORVs by children under the age of 16, including a safety education requirement. There also are specific obligations that fall upon the parents or legal guardians of ORV riders under the age of 16 and upon the owners of ORVs.

Operation of 3-Wheel ATVs

No one under the age of 16 may operate any 3‑wheel ATV.

Operation of 4-Wheel ATVs

No one under the age of 10 may operate any 4-wheel ATV except on private land while performing farm-related work operations.

Children 10 and 11 years old may operate a 4‑wheel ATV only when all of the following conditions are met.

  • The ATV is being operated on land owned by the child's parent or guardian and…
  • The operator is under the direct visual supervision (see definition below) of an adult and…
  • The operator possesses a valid ORV safety certificate.

Children 12 to 15 years old may operate a 4-wheel ATV only when both of the following conditions are met.

  • The operator is under the direct visual supervision of an adult and…
  • The operator possesses a valid ORV safety certificate.

Direct Visual Supervision: having direct observation with the unaided or normally corrected eye and being close enough to come to the immediate aid of a youthful ORV operator

Operation of Other ORVs

Children under 16 years old may operate other ORVs (trail bikes, for example) only when both of the following conditions are met.

  • The operator is under the direct visual supervision of an adult and…
  • The operator possesses a valid ORV safety certificate.

Remember ...

The parents or legal guardians of a child under the age of 16 are legally responsible if they permit the child under their care to violate any of the ORV laws. The owner (or person in control) of an ORV is also responsible if his or her ORV is operated by a youngster.

Restrictions on Crossing Roads

No child under the age of 12 may cross any street, highway, or county road while operating any ORV.

Children who are at least 12 years old may cross streets and roads (only at right angles) if they are under the direct visual supervision of an adult and have a valid ORV safety certificate.

Summary of Young Operator Regulations

Age of ORV Operator (years)
  Under 10 10-11 12-15 16 or older
Allowed to operate a 3‑wheel ATV? No No No Yes
Allowed to operate a 4‑wheel ATV? No 
except on private land while performing farm-related work operations
No
except on land owned by the parent or guardian, under visual supervision, and with ORV certificate
Yes
if under visual supervision and with ORV certificate
Yes
Allowed to operate other ORVs (trail bikes, etc.)? Yes
if under visual supervision and with ORV certificate
Yes
if under visual supervision and with ORV certificate
Yes
if under visual supervision and with ORV certificate
Yes
Allowed to cross street or highway? No No Yes
if under visual supervision and with ORV certificate
Yes
Age and Engine Size: For your child's safety and comfort, you must match your child with an ORV that is appropriate for his or her size and experience level.