Operation of ATV's and Snowmobiles

This summer has brought about numerous inquires and complaints involving the use and operation of All Terrain Vehicles (ATV's), upon the roadway. The State of Ohio ranks 15th in the nation for ATV accidents. Yearly, an estimated 40,000 emergency-room cases are reported nationwide; one third of all injuries are to children less than 16 years of age. It is my intention, to provide useful information that will help you understand exactly what the laws are and how to operate these vehicles safely.

What Ohio Law Requires:

  • ATV's and snowmobiles operated on lands other than those owned by the operator or their family are required to be titled, display the registration number, and the driver is required to posses a valid driver license.
  • ATV's and snowmobiles are required to be equipped with headlights and taillights.
  • No ATV's or snowmobiles may be operated on any limited access highway or portion of the highway's right-of-way
  • ATV's or snowmobiles operated on the berms or shoulders of any roadway may never enter the roadway or interfere with the movement of vehicular traffic, approaching from any direction. The terrain must permit such operation to be undertaken safely and without the necessity of entering any portion of a traffic lane. This action becomes virtually impossible on Chester Township roads, due to mailboxes, ditches, traffic signs, walkers, joggers and bicycle riders.
  • ATV's and snowmobiles are not permitted to travel on or along private property without the expressed permission of the individual property owner.
  • Chester Township Officers who observe operators in violation of Ohio laws will take appropriate enforcement action.
  • An ATV or snowmobile may cross the roadway in a perpendicular fashion, but the ATV or snowmobile must always yield the right-of-way to all vehicular traffic.
  • ATV's or snowmobiles may only be operated on the roadways within the county or township, when the local authority permits it. Chester Township and Geauga County do not permit it.
  • Make sure your vehicle is safety-ready and that you have appropriate training to operate it.
  • It is recommended to always wear a helmet and recommended riding gear; including a long sleeve shirt or jacket, long pants, goggles (if the helmet does not provide face protection), boots, and gloves.
  • Check on the conditions of the trails you will be traveling.
  • In order to operate an ATV or snowmobile on any public land, waters or highways, operators must hold a current motor vehicle driver or commercial driver license, motorcycle operator's endorsement or probationary license.
  • No person under 16 years of age can operate an ATV or snowmobile on any land other than private property unless accompanied by a parent or guardian who is a licensed driver 18 years of age or older.

Remember that to ride safely & obey the Laws

Captain Mark A. Purchase
Acting Chief of Police
Chester Twp. Police Department