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 Indiana 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.
You are Required to Register your ATV or UTV in Indiana
If you intend to operate your ATV or UTV on public lands in Indiana, you must first register it. If you are not an Indiana resident and have registered your ATV or UTV in your home state, you do not need to register your ATV or UTV in Indiana. You also do not need to register an ATV or UTV that is used solely in farming or construction
You can register your ATV or UTV at any license branch of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles or online at in.gov.bmv.
After registration, you will receive two decals, which must be applied to each side of the forward half of your ATV or UTV. The registration must also be kept on you vehicle and available for inspection upon request.
- No youth under the age of 18 is permitted to operate or be a passenger on an ATV or UTV without wearing a helmet. This applies on both private and public land, and a parent or adult that permits a youth to ride an ATV or UTV without wearing a helmet is also in violation of Indiana law. It even applies to a baby in a car seat, so you probably shouldn’t be putting a baby in your side be side. The helmet must be DOT-approved. Check out our favorite helmet here.
- Riders under 14 years of age may operate an ATV or UTV only if they are supervised by an adult or on private property owned or controlled by a parent or guardian.
Where are you Permitted to Operate an ATV or UTV in Indiana?
You may operate an ATV or UTV on private property in Indiana only with the consent of the property owner.
You may not generally operate an ATV or UTV on public streets in Indiana. You may, however, ride on the right-of-way adjacent to a public highway, except a limited access highway, so long as there is sufficient room to do so without endangering life or property.
You may also cross a public highway, other than a limited access highway, at a 90-degree angle to get from one riding area to another. Before doing so, you must first come to a complete stop and yield to all traffic.
Cities, towns, and counties in Indian have their own individual laws governing the use of ATVs or UTVs on the public streets in their jurisdiction.
You should check these before riding. The following Counties permit ATV and UTV operation on county roads:
- Wells; and
Where street-operating is permitted, a person may not operate an ATV or UTV on the street without a valid motor vehicle driver’s license.
ATV/UTV Equipment Requirements
- If operated between sunset and sunrise, your ATV or UTV must be equipped with at least one headlight and taillight.
- Your ATV or UTV must be equipped with a working brake system capable of slowing the vehicle at a rate of 14 feet per second when
operating on level ground at an initial speed of 20 miles per hour.
- A helmet must be worn by any person under the age of 18.
- Your ATV or UTV must be equipped with a muffler in good working order.
What to do if you are in an ATV or UTV Accident in Indiana?
If you are involved in an ATV or UTV accident in Indiana, you must notify the nearest law enforcement authorities as quickly as possible if the
accident resulted in serious injury or death of person or estimated property damage of $750 or more.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV at an unreasonable rate of speed or in such a manner as to endanger a person or property.
- While driving on frozen public waters, you may not exceed 5 mph within 100 feet of another person or a fishing shanty.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV within 100 feet of a slide, ski, or skating area.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV within 100 feet of a dwelling between midnight and 6 a.m., except on your own property or with the permission of a private property owner.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV on a railroad track or its right of way.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV in a cemetery.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV in a forest nursery, planting area, or public land where growing plants or animals may be damaged.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV in or on a flowing river, stream, or creek, except for the purpose of crossing by the shortest
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV while carrying a bow with an arrow nocked
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV while transporting a firearm on or in the vehicle unless the firearm is a legally possessed handgun or the firearm is unloaded and securely encased or equipped with and
made inoperative by a manufactured keylocked trigger-housing mechanism.