All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Use & Misuse

North Carolina law defines an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) as a motorized off‑highway vehicle designed to travel on three or four low‑pressure tires, having a seat designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.

ATVs are not allowed to be ridden on roadways.  Weather or road conditions are not determining factors in whether or not an ATV can be used on a roadway.  They are prohibited on the roadway in dry conditions, wet conditions, and when snow/ice is present on the roadway.

You Could be charged with a Misdemeanor if:

• You injure or destroy public or private property while operating your ATV.

• You operate your ATV on the roadway.
• You damage any trees, crops, or land belonging to another person.
• You trespass on land belonging to the State of North Carolina or Town of Cramerton while operating your ATV.

North Carolina General Statute 14-159.3.

Trespass to land on motorized all terrain vehicle.
(a) No person shall operate any motorized all terrain vehicle:

     (1) On any private property not owned by the operator, without the consent of the owner; or

     (2) Within the banks of any stream or waterway, but excluding a sound or the Atlantic Ocean, the adjacent lands of which are not owned by the operator, without the consent of the owner or outside the restrictions imposed by the owner.
(b) A “motorized all terrain vehicle”, as used in this section, is a two or more wheeled vehicle designed for recreational off-road use.
(c) A violation of this section shall be a Class 2 misdemeanor.

All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Safety

ATVs have become popular for work and recreation on many farms, ranches and ATV tracks. Unfortunately, reported cases of serious injury and death have increased along with their increased use. Most of these injuries and deaths can be attributed to improper use of ATVs.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2002 and 2004, North Carolina had 77 reported ATV deaths. This number is incomplete as there are no mandatory reporting laws. In 2005, there were 136,700 reported ATV emergency room treated injuries nationwide ( And sadly, in 2007, there were 4 deaths of children in North Carolina.

State law requires that anyone born on or after Jan 1, 1990 must receive a safety certificate successfully completing a half-day, hands on ATV rider course sponsored or approved by the ATV Safety Institute before driving an ATV. For more information on available courses please go to the ATV Safety Institute website by clicking here

An ATV is not a toy. Children should not be permitted to operate ATVs without
specialized training and then they should be allowed to only operate an ATV of an appropriate size. ATVs with an engine size of 70cc to 90cc should be operated by people at least 12 years of age. ATVs with an engine size of greater than 90cc should only be operated by people at least 16 years of age.

Wear appropriate riding gear: DOT-, Snell ANSI-approved helmet, goggles, gloves, over-the-ankle boots, long-sleeve shirt and long pants.

Read owners’ manuals carefully.

ATVs are not made for multiple riders.

Never carry anyone else on the ATV.

Any added attachments affect the stability, operating and braking of the ATV. Just because an attachment is available doesn’t mean that it can be used without increasing your risk of being injured.

Do not operate the ATV under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs.