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 Missouri 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 Missouri define an ATV
Missouri defines an ATV or all-terrain vehicle as “any motorized vehicle manufactured and used exclusively for off-highway use which is 50 inches or less in width, with an unladen dry weight of 1,500 pounds or less, traveling on 3, 4, or more non-highway tires.”
Missouri defines a “utility vehicle” as “any motorized vehicle manufactured and used exclusively for off-highway use which is more than fifty inches but no more than sixty-seven inches in width, with an unladen dry weight of two thousand pounds or less, traveling on four or six wheels, to be used primarily for landscaping, lawn care, or maintenance purposes.”
Missouri defines a recreational off-highway vehicle as “any motorized vehicle manufactured and used exclusively for off-highway use which is more than fifty inches but no more than sixty-seven inches in width, with an unladen dry weight of two thousand pounds or less, traveling on four or more non-highway tires and which may have access to ATV trails.”
If you are curious as to what meets the dimension and weight restrictions, you should check out the following guides:
Are you Required to Title and/or Register your ATV or UTV in Missouri?
You may not own an ATV or UTV in Missouri unless a certificate of ownership (aka a title) has been issued by the Department of Revenue.
Application for a certificate of ownership must be made within 30 days after purchase of the ATV. You will receive a $25 penalty for every 30 days you wait before titling your new ATV or UTV. Certificates and their accompanying decals expire automatically when an ATV or UTV is sold.
ATV or UTV registration is not required for an ATV if it is owned and operated by the government or if it has a valid registration in another state or country so long as the ATV or UTV does not stay within Missouri for more than 30 days.
Note also that a utility vehicle or recreational off-highway vehicle, as defined above, does not meet the definition of a motor vehicle or ATV, and does not need to be titled and registered.
To title and register your ATV or UTV in the state of Missouri, you must submit the following:
- The Certificate of Title or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO), properly signed over to you;
- A signed Application for Missouri Title and License (Form 108);
- Notarized Lien Release (Form 4809), if applicable.
In order to title and register your ATV and UTV, you will have to pay the following fees:
- State sales tax of 4.225 percent and any local sales tax due on the net purchase price (the purchase price less trade-in allowance or other allowance, if any). The local sales tax is based on the rate where you live, not where you bought the ATV.
- $8.50 title fee
- $10.25 registration (decal) fee; and
- $6.00 processing fee.
After registration, you will be issued a decal that must be renewed every three years. The decal must be displayed at all times and be affixed to the right front fork or frame of your ATV where it is clearly visible.
Where are you Permitted to Ride an ATV or UTV in Missouri?
It is generally unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV on the public streets in Missouri except those used by the government or those used for agricultural use between sunrise and sunset. Local authorities can also enact ordinances or regulations permitting ATV and/or UTV use on public streets.
Those permitted to operate on public roads in Missouri must possess a valid operator’s license and refrain from exceeding 30 miles per hour.
If you are legally operating or driving an ATV upon the highways of Missouri, you are required to observe and comply with the rules of the road.
To operate an ATV or UTV on private property, you must first obtain permission from the owner of the property. When operating an ATV or UTV on someone else’s property, you must stop and identify yourself upon request of the landowner, and, if requested by the landowner, shall remove your ATV or UTV from the property.
ATV and UTV use is also prohibited in the following areas:
- in any stream or river unless the waterway is within the boundaries of land owned by the operator or permission has been granted by the property owner; and
- on or across Railroad tracks and the property on which they lie.
One key place to ride in Missouri is on certain Forest Service roads and trails, with the required permit. To learn how to determine where you can ride in the National Forests, check out this guide on riding on federal land. Where riding is permitted, you must possess a valid driver’s license, or a learner’s permit with adult supervision. Some of the more popular Forest Service roads and trails are located in the Chadwick and Sutton Bluff areas of the Mark Twain Forest.
There is no minimum age requirement to operate an ATV or UTV in Missouri, although there are some restrictions addressed below. If you have questions about when to start a kid on an ATV, you should read this guide, and check out these tips for teaching your kid.
- No person under the age of 16 shall operate an ATV or UTV in Missouri unless he or she is accompanied by or under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian or an adult who is authorized by the parent or guardian. This age restriction does not apply on private land owned by the operator’s parent or guardian.
- No person under the age of 18 is permitted to operate an ATV or UTV unless they are wearing a securely fastened helmet. If you need to pick your kid up a new helmet and want great protection and comfort at a very reasonable price, see our recommendations.
Required ATV/UTV Equipment
Every ATV or UTV in Missouri is required to be equipped with the following:
- a head lamp and tail lamp that must be illuminated whenever the ATV or UTV is operated on any street or highway;
- a slow-moving equipment emblem mounted on the rear of the ATV or UTV if it is being operated on any street or highway;
- a bicycle flag, extending at least seven feet above the ground, attached to the rear of the ATV or UTV when it is being operating on any street or highway;
- an adequate muffler system;
- a U.S. Forest Service-qualified spark arrester; and
- a brake system in good operating condition.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV in a careless way so as to endanger the person or property of another.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV or UTV while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.
- It is unlawful to operate an ATV with a passenger, except for agricultural purposes.