Riding along side of road - ATVConnection.com ATV Enthusiast Community

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Old 12-13-2008, 01:41 PM
Weekend Warrior
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1
Default Riding along side of road

Can anyone tell me how the law looks at riding along the side of a road/highway in North Carolina. The law I found regarding roads states;

(e) Except as otherwise permitted by law, no person shall operate an all-terrain vehicle on
any public street, road, or highway except for purposes of crossing that street, road, or highway.
(f) Except as otherwise permitted by law, no person shall operate an all-terrain vehicle at
anytime on an interstate or limited-access highway.

I live way out in the country and want to ride to some family owned land to go hunting, and the chance of even seeing a vehicle of any type is slim on the route I plan to take. It is about 6 miles from my house and the shoulders are plenty wide enough to not have to hit the pavement. Also, I assume I would ride on the right, with traffic, not against it. Correct?
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:50 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 338
Default Riding along side of road

Unless someone on here can show you a particular statute allowing this, my advice would be not to do anything based on what someone tells you. I worked with state, county and municipal cops all my life and my son is a Police Officer, so I would advise you to go to the source which would be your county Sheriff's Office and discuss it with someone there. There is often a difference between what is "legal" and what is "allowed". Until this year a UTV was classified as an ORV and could not be operated on roadways under any circumstances although ATV's could be used for agricultural purposes and counties could give permits to ride ATV's on county roadways. Many farmers use UTV's and since I am a retired LEO I contacted the Highway Patrol and Sheriff's Office for clarification and was told that while it was not "legal", no one was going to issue a citation. The law was finally changed this year. Also in my state, unless a county issues ATV permits, you can only "legally" operate an ATV for agricultural purposes, if you are disabled and for short distances or if you are working for a government body. My county does not issue these, but unless you are doing wheelies down the road or operating one in a careless manner, no one will give you a citation.

By law, there really is no difference between the maintained (graveled/paved) portion of the roadway and side of the road as a set distance from the center line is considered the roadway and then it becomes private property on which you cannot ride without permission.
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Old 12-13-2008, 08:58 PM
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Sound advice there. "Hey, watch this........"
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Posts: 2,000
Default Riding along side of road

There's a KQ owner in the Suzuki forums that has run across this as he lives in NC. When thay say that you can only cross the street, they mean that you can only cross the street - no riding along the right-of-way on the shoulders, even if there is room. It's the same way in Tennessee. One way that it can be legal is that ATV and road usage can have a local modification to the state laws. For example, if you ride near the Brimstone ORV area near Huntsville, TN, it is legal to ride on the roads as some of the back roads are between parking areas and the trailheads. It's a local ordinance that came about due to the large numbers (and dollars) of ATV's in the riding area. I've riden in some places in Wisconsin that also allows some travel on roads - these are designated routes and you do NOT want to ride on any non-ATV route roads.

I'd say that it's doubtful that it is legal to ride 6 miles alongside your road, but it's worth a check with your local law enforcment - many local law enforcements will not care as long as you are riding at a slow speed and in a responsible manner. But you really need to ask about this first.

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Old 12-14-2008, 06:42 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 73
Default Riding along side of road

dude your fine i live by a cop and i ride pass his house like every weekend ive even past him in his police car before and he did nothing and i dont know him so its not like i get a special treatment or anything either as long as your not going to fast and acting foolish youll be fine
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Old 12-15-2008, 07:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 45
Default Riding along side of road

until the cop is having a bad day. Best bet is to use the slogan closed unless marked open.

Sample Sign[img][/img]
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Old 12-29-2008, 08:50 PM
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Is old enough to know better, but too young to stop.
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Default Riding along side of road

Triple R is right. Go to teh local authorities and ask. You may be surprised to find the local police very cooperative. It is good that you ask first, spreading good will is always a good thing and may get you out of a jam at some point down the road. You might just find that they ride as well. Invite them over for a spin... making friends with local cops is a GOOD thing. I have found that most are decent people that will work with you
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Old 02-14-2009, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 63
Default Riding along side of road

I know here in PA you can only cross a road strait across and no more than that. But the sport of ATVing has become so popular here, the local and state law enforcement are great. We have to use the shoulders of on and off ramps of a few major highways/interstates and just last weekend we had a state trooper escort us being he was a fellow ATVer, he understood. Safety, lights, helmets and there usually isnt a problem.
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:44 PM
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Urges all riders to join ATV clubs and become part of a united front to maintain and expand trail systems.
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 362
Default Riding along side of road

Interesting topic. I'd be careful about riding along side a road. Several communities around here have passed laws against it after seeing shoulders torn up and erosion in the ditches. My town requires ATV's to stay on the road. I should have gotten a picture of a sign I saw last summer in a county just south of here. It said something to the effect, "ATV's Stay on the Road!" I guess you could get arrested if they caught you riding on the shoulder. Next time I go that way I'll get a picture to post here, just to give people on this site a few grins.
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Old 02-16-2009, 09:54 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Midcoast Maine
Posts: 251
Default Riding along side of road

I've seen signs that say to ride in the road. It causes damage to the soft shoulder if you ride there, so it's easier to just let em ride on the pavement. Some towns have even made it legal to ride down the streets.
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Old 05-17-2011, 04:24 PM
Weekend Warrior
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 13

We ride locally around the house in gaston county NC. We have all had encounters with police at some point as we ride short distances on the rural roads to get to the trails. Most of it has been good. They have waved as we passed, stopped and talked to us etc... We have State Hwy Patrol - County Police and Sheriff's Dept. on the rural roads. This is where it is tricky. One rider stopped on the road by a state trooper and ask how far he was going, which was not far. The trooper noted the slow moving vehicle warning triangle on his UTV and told him to be careful and have a nice day. Another rider turned into his road to find a county officer sitting near his driveway. He stopped and spoke with the officer and was basically told unless he received a complaint he did not care he had an atv and like to ride too. NOW, I myself have a UTV and was on the way home just this past Saturday about 3/4 mile from home and was passed by Sheriff Deputy. He turned around pulled me over informed me I could NOT ride on road and followed me home ran a check on my license told me he could write me about five tickets. He did NOT write me a ticket and did not say why? I have a request in to the State Police for information on the use of a "slow moving vehicle sign" I had been told UTV could travel within three miles of residence and no faster than 35 mph with the SMV sign, and the trooper incident seem to back this up. However, the Deputy that stopped me did not seem to care about my SMV sign.
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