Continuing in our series of articles analyzing the ATV laws in every state, which stemmed from this article, we are addressing the ATV laws in Connecticut in this article. It should also be noted that, while I am an attorney, I am not your attorney and am not giving legal advice. If you have questions, you should consult a local attorney.
How does Connecticut Define an ATV?
Connecticut defines an ATV as a motorized vehicle not suitable for operation on a highway that:
(1) is not more than 50 inches wide,
(2) has a dry weight of no more than 600 pounds,
(3) travels on two or more tires specifically designed for unimproved terrain,
(4) has a seat or saddle designed to be straddled by the operator, and
(5) has an engine with a piston displacement of more than 50 cubic centimeters (cc).
Are you Required to Register and ATV or UTV in Connecticut?
If you intend to operate your ATV or UTV on public land in Connecticut, you are required to register the vehicle. The total expected fee to register an ATV is $35, and you will need to complete the following steps:
- Be current on all property taxes;
- Have no outstanding parking tickets;
- Pass emissions testing requirements;
- Present proof of identification;
- Complete an application for registration;
- Have insurance on the vehicle;
- If vehicle was purchased in CT and it is newer than 20 years old, you will need a title. Otherwise, you will need the registration from the prior owner; and
- Have a bill of sale.
An ATV or UTV registered in another state may be operated in Connecticut if the state in which the ATV or UTV is registered grants similar privileges to residents of Connecticut. As of the writing of this article, only Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida grant reciprocity to Connecticut. Others may register an ATV or UTV in Connecticut by presenting the following documents at a DMV Hub or Limited Service Office:
- Out-of-State registration; and
- Out-of-State Operator License(s), which must list the same name(s) as on the registration certificate.
The registration plate for your ATV or UTV must be affixed to the rear of the vehicle. Additionally, you must display the registration number on each side of the vehicle’s front section, midway between the top and bottom of the front section, in letters or numbers at least three inches high and made of reflective material. You must also carry the registration on the ATV or UTV whenever the vehicle is being operated.
The owner of a registered ATV must notify the commissioner in writing within 48 hours after changing his or her address. The owner must also notify the commissioner in writing within 24 hours, and surrender the registration certificate and plate, after either of the following:
(1) transferring all or part of his or her interest in the ATV, other than the creation of a security interest; or
(2) destroying or abandoning the ATV.
If you transfers ownership of an ATV or UTV and surrender its registration certificate and plate, you may register another ATV in your name for the remainder of the registration period. The fee for transferring a registration is $3.50
Note that you must also obtain a certificate form the environmental protection commissioner before riding an ATV or UTV on state land. This certificate is required for each operator, regardless of who owns the ATV or UTV.
What Age Restrictions are there for ATV/UTV Operation in Connecticut?
Any person under the age of 18 wishing to operate an ATV or UTV in Connecticut must first complete a safety education course. Without the completion of a safety course, the commissioner will not issue the required certificate to a minor.
Any person under the age of 16, in addition to completing the safety education course and obtaining the certificate, must be supervised by someone who is at least 18 years of age and has also completed the safety course.
Finally, no one under age of 12 may operate an ATV or UTV on state land.
Where are you Permitted to Ride an ATV or UTV in Connecticut?
You may operate an ATV or UTV in Connecticut primarily only where it is specifically designated.
You are not permitted to operate an ATV or UTV on a public highway in Connecticut. If you are a licensed motor vehicle operator, you may, however, cross a public highway (as long as it is not a limited-access highway) at a 90 degree angle, after coming to a complete stop and yielding theright of way to motor vehicles using the highway.
You are also not permitted to operate an ATV or UTV on any fenced agricultural land or posted land without the written permission of the land owner, which includes any state, county or city land or any railroad right of way, unless a railroad right of way has been abandoned.
What Equipment is Required for an ATV or UTV in Connecticut?
You must have the following equipment to operate an ATV or UTV in Connecticut:
- An operational muffler;
- Operational brakes; and
- Sufficient and adequate front and rear lighting and reflecting devices, unless the ATV has an engine size of 90 cc or less, in which case it is not permitted to be equipped with front or rear lighting and cannot be operated at night.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV at an unreasonable or imprudent rate of speed for existing conditions.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV in a negligent manner so as to endanger any person or property.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV in a manner where the exhaust makes an excessive or unusual noise.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV in a manner that would cause harassment of any game or domestic animal.