All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Laws and Rules
§13157-A – Operation of ATVs.
1-A. Updated law in 2021: Permission required. A person may not operate an ATV on the land of another without the permission of the landowner or lessee. Permission is presumed on designated state-approved ATV trails or in areas open to ATVs by landowner policy. A landowner or lessee may limit the use of a designated state-approved ATV trail on that landowner’s or lessee’s property through agreements with the State or an ATV club to address environmental, public safety or management concerns, including by limiting the type, size and weight of ATVs permitted on the landowner’s or lessee’s property. A person operating an ATV, including an oversized ATV, on designated state-approved ATV trails shall adhere to limitations imposed by a landowner or lessee and the State on that part of the designated state-approved ATV trail on the landowner’s or lessee’s property in accordance with this subsection. Written permission of the landowner or lessee is required for use of an ATV on cropland or pasture land or in an orchard. As used in this subsection, “cropland” means acreage in tillage rotation, land being cropped and land in bush fruits and “pasture land” means acreage devoted to the production of forage plants used for animal production. For purposes of this subsection, “oversized ATV” has the same meaning as defined in section 13155, subsection 5-B. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to limit or expand a landowner’s or lessee’s property rights.
2. Stop and identify requirement. Persons operating ATVs upon the land of another shall stop and identify themselves upon the request of the landowner or the landowner’s duly authorized representative.
3. Operating ATV upon controlled access highway. The following provisions govern the operation of ATVs on controlled access highways.
A. A person may not operate an ATV upon a controlled access highway or within the right-of-way limits of a controlled access highway, except that:
(1) A person on a properly registered ATV may cross controlled access highways by use of bridges over or roads under those highways or by use of roads crossing controlled access highways at grade;
(2) The Commissioner of Transportation may issue special permits for designated crossings of controlled access highways.
(3) A person on a properly registered ATV may operate the ATV within the right-of-way limits of a controlled access highway on a trail segment approved by the Commissioner of Transportation or the board of directors of the Maine Turnpike Authority, as applicable. At the request of the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Commissioner of Transportation or the board of directors of the Maine Turnpike Authority, as applicable, may permit construction of an ATV trail within the right-of-way of a controlled access highway under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation or the Maine Turnpike Authority being constructed on or after January 2, 2016 when there is an ability to provide for the continuity of a state-owned or state controlled network of ATV trails. Funds for the construction of an ATV trail under this paragraph may not be provided from the Highway Fund.
4. Unlawfully operating ATV on snowmobile trail. A person may not operate any 4-wheel-drive vehicle, dune buggy, all-terrain vehicle, motorcycle or any other motor vehicle, other than a snowmobile and appurtenant equipment, on snowmobile trails that are financed in whole or in part with funds from the Snowmobile Trail Fund, unless that use has been authorized by the landowner or the landowner’s agent, or unless the use is necessitated by an emergency involving safety of persons or property.
Exception: ATV’s with tracks, registered as snowmobiles can be operated on a snowmobile trail.
5-A. Operating a motor vehicle on an ATV trail. A person may not operate a truck, pickup truck, or passenger vehicle on a designated ATV trail that is not on a gravel road system unless authorized by the landowner or landowner’s agent, or in an emergency involving the safety of a person or property. For purposes of this law, “pickup truck” and “truck” have the same meaning as in Title 29-A section 101, subsections 55 and 88 and “passenger vehicle” means a self-propelled 4-wheel motor vehicle designed primarily to carry passengers on public roads.
6. Operating ATV on public way. Except as provided in this subsection, a person may not operate an ATV, other than an ATV registered with the Secretary of State under Title 29-A, on any portion of a public way maintained or used for the operation of conventional motor vehicles or on the sidewalks of any public way.
A. A properly registered ATV may be operated on a public way only the distance necessary, but in no case to exceed 500 yards, on the extreme right of the traveled way for the purpose of crossing, as directly as possible, a public way, bridge, overpass, underpass, sidewalk or culvert as long as that operation can be made safely and does not interfere with traffic approaching from either direction on the public way.
C. An ATV may be operated on any portion of a public way when the public way has been closed in accordance with Title 23, section 2953.
D. An ATV may be operated on a public way that is not maintained or used for the operation of conventional motor vehicles, except that operation on the left side of the way is prohibited prohibited during the hours from sunset to sunrise.
E. An ATV may be operated on streets and public ways during a period of emergency when the emergency has been so declared by a police agency having jurisdiction and when travel by conventional motor vehicles is not practicable.
F. An ATV may be operated on streets and public ways in special events of limited duration conducted according to a prearranged schedule under a permit from the governmental unit having jurisdiction. G. An ATV may be operated on a public way on the extreme right of the traveled way by a law enforcement officer for the sole purpose of traveling between the place where the ATV is usually stored and an area to be patrolled by the law enforcement officer.
G. An ATV may be operated on a public way on the extreme right of the traveled way by a law enforcement officer for the sole purpose of traveling between the place where the ATV is usually stored and an area to be patrolled by the law enforcement officer.
H. Notwithstanding paragraphs A to G, an ATV may be operated on the extreme right of a public way, or as directed by the appropriate governmental unit within the public way, of a municipality or an unorganized or unincorporated township if the appropriate governmental unit has designated the public way as an ATV-access route. An ATV must travel in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic on a public way designated as an ATV access route. A public way designated by an appropriate governmental unit as an ATV-access route must be posted conspicuously at regular intervals by that governmental unit with highly visible signs designating the ATV-access route. Before designating a public way as an ATV-access route, the appropriate governmental unit shall make appropriate determinations that ATV travel on the extreme right of the public way, or as directed by the appropriate governmental unit within the public way may be conducted safely and will not interfere with vehicular traffic on the public way. For purposes of this paragraph, “appropriate governmental unit” means the Department of Transportation, county commissioners or municipal officers within their respective jurisdictions. The jurisdiction of each appropriate governmental unit over public ways pursuant to this paragraph is the same as its jurisdiction over the passage of vehicles on public ways pursuant to Title 29-A, section 2395. Municipal or county law enforcement officials having jurisdiction have primary enforcement authority over any route established under this paragraph.
7. Failing to stop ATV before entering public way. A person shall bring an ATV to a complete stop before entering a public way.
8. Failing to yield right-of-way while operating ATV. A person shall yield the right-of-way to all other types of vehicular traffic while operating an ATV on a public way.
9. Crossing closed bridge, culvert, overpass or underpass with ATV. A person may not cross with an ATV a bridge, culvert, overpass or underpass closed to ATVs by the Commissioner of Transportation pursuant to this subsection. The Commissioner of Transportation may, following a public hearing, prohibit the crossing by an ATV of an individual bridge, culvert, overpass or underpass if the commissioner determines that that crossing or use of a public way is hazardous. Any bridge, culvert, overpass or underpass closed by the commissioner must be posted by appropriate notices.
10. Reckless operating on ATV. A person may not operate an ATV in such a way as to recklessly create a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person.
11. Operating ATV to endanger. A person may not operate an ATV so as to endanger any person or property.
12. Operating ATV at greater than reasonable and prudent speed. A person may not operate an ATV except at a reasonable and prudent speed for the existing conditions.
13. Operating ATV without protective headgear. A person under 18 years of age may not operate an ATV without protective headgear.
14. Carrying passenger on ATV without headgear. A person may not carry a passenger under 18 years of age on an ATV unless the passenger is wearing protective headgear.
16. ATV headlight and taillight requirements. This subsection establishes light equipment requirements for the operation of an ATV.
A. Except as provided in this subsection and section 13159, a person may not operate an ATV in the State, regardless of where purchased, unless equipped with front and rear lights as follows.
(1) The ATV must have mounted on the front at least one headlight capable of casting a white beam for a distance of at least 100 feet directly ahead of the ATV.
(2) The ATV must have mounted on the rear at least one taillight capable of displaying a light that must be visible at a distance of at least 100 feet behind the ATV.
B. The following are exceptions to the requirements of paragraph A.
(2) A person may operate an ATV including a 2-wheel off-road motorcycle without a headlight and taillight between sunrise and sunset.
17. Required use of ATV lights. Except as provided in section 13159, the following provisions govern the use of ATV lights.
A. A person shall use the lights required under subsection 16 as follows:
(1) During the period from ½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise; and
(2) At any time when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions caused by fog or otherwise, other persons, vehicles and other objects are not clearly discernible for a distance of 500 feet ahead.
18. Unlawfully operating ATV on railroad tracks. This subsection governs operation of an ATV on railroad tracks.
A. A person may not:
(1) Operate an ATV along or adjacent and parallel to the tracks of a railroad within the limits of the railroad right-of-way without written permission from the railroad owning the right-of- way; or
(2) Operate an ATV across the tracks of a railroad after having been forbidden to do so by the railroad owning the railroad right-of- way or by an agent of that railroad, either personally or by appropriate notices posted conspicuously along the railroad right-of-way.
B. Notwithstanding paragraph A, a person may operate within the right-of-way of a portion of railroad line that has been officially abandoned under the authority of the Interstate Commerce Commission.
19. Operating too close to certain buildings. person may not operate an ATV within 200 feet of a dwelling, hospital, nursing home, convalescent home, or church.
A. This subsection does not apply when a person is operating an ATV on:
(1) Public ways in accordance with subsections 6 and 9 or on controlled access highways in accordance with subsection 3, paragraph A;
(2) The frozen surface of any body of water; or
(3) Land that the operator owns or is permitted to use.
22. Abuse of another person’s property. A person may not while operating an ATV:
A. Tear down or destroy a fence or wall on another person’s land;
B. Leave open a gate or bars on another person’s land;
C. Trample or destroy crops on another person’s land; or
D. Remove or destroy signs or posted notices.
24. Operation of ATV on temporarily closed trail. A person may not operate an ATV on any section of a trail posted with a notice of temporary closure in accordance with this subsection. The notice must specify the section of trail that is closed and the period of the closure and must be conspicuously posted at each end of the closed section of the trail.
25. ATV noise and fire control devices. The following provisions pertain to ATV muffling and fire control devices and noise level limits.
A. Except as provided in section 13159, a person may not:
(1) Operate an ATV that is not equipped at all times with an effective and suitable muffling device on its engine to effectively deaden or muffle the noise of the exhaust;
(2) Operate or modify an ATV with an exhaust system that has been modified in any manner that will increase the noise emitted above the following emission standard:
(a) Each ATV must meet noise emission standards of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and in no case exceed 96 decibels of sound pressure when measured from a distance of 20 inches using test procedures established by the commissioner; or
(3) Operate an ATV without a working spark arrester.
B. In addition to any penalties imposed under this subsection, the court may, subject to section 9321 and Title 17-A, chapter 54, order restitution for fire suppression costs incurred by state or municipal government entities in suppressing a fire caused by an ATV operating without a working spark arrester.
26. Prohibited equipment. A person may not operate an ATV that is equipped with a snorkel kit or other equipment designed to allow the ATV to be used in deep water except with the permission of the owner of the land on which the ATV is operated or as provided in section 13159.
27. Operation of ATV in prohibited area. The following provisions establish areas where the operation of an ATV is prohibited.
A. A person may not operate an ATV:
(1) On a salt marsh, intertidal zone, marine sand beach, sand dune or any cemetery, burial place or burying ground; or
(2) When the ground is not frozen and sufficiently covered with snow to prevent direct damage to the vegetation:
(a) On alpine tundra;
(b) On a freshwater marsh or bog, river, brook, stream, great pond, nonforested wetland or vernal pool; or
(c) In a source water protection area as defined in Title 30-A, section 2001, subsection 20-A. The provisions of this subparagraph do not apply to a trail designated for ATV use by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The provisions of this subparagraph also do not apply to a person accessing land for maintenance or inspection purposes with the landowner’s permission or to local, state, or federal government personnel in the performance of official duties, provided there is no significant ground disturbance or sedimentation of water bodies.
Where to Ride ATVs, UTVs and/ or Side by Sides in Maine
Please Note: While searching for locations to ride ATVs, UTVs, and/or Side x Sides in Maine we came across the following places. The following places to ride all terrain vehicles, utility vehicles, and side by sides in Maine is a list we have come up with by researching, we are not affiliated with any of these places and/or locations and highly recommend contacting and confirming information before planning a ride. We make every effort to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and true. However, we cannot be held responsible for inaccurate information provided by outside sources.
Pulpit Rock Trail Blazah’s ATV Club
Located in North Waterford Maine with trails reaching Waterford, Stoneham, Sweden, Lovell and connecting to the Norway trail system.
They have a great network of trails to keep you exploring for hours on end. Set your route to visit any of the destinations along the way, they have Patterson Mountain scenic lookout, Pie Tree Orchard in Sweden for donuts, apples and many other baked goods plus a brick oven Pizza, Enjoy a nice refreshing ice cream and a wonderful and filling meal at Melby’s Eatery in North Waterford and AJ’s Everything in Stoneham. Gas is available. They also have annual ride events such as an animal shelter benefit ride, famous Allies for Autism benefit ride for Pine Tree Camp and a Fall Foliage Ride to end the riding season! For more information or to become a member visit their website!
The Moose Loop Trail
7 clubs, 138 miles, 1 amazing adventure!
If you enjoy family trails, mud holes, rock climbing, beautiful scenic overlooks, lakes and streams you’ve got to experience the Moose Trail in Maine. Franklin County’s 520 + miles of trail connects 16 towns to give you some of the BEST riding you have ever had in Maine. Not only can you ride a great trail system but you can enjoy a wide variety of accommodations to fit every ATV vacation dream – from rustic cabins to luxury inn rooms. Their trail side restaurants have something for everyone serving everything from burgers to Duck and Venison. You can enjoy entertainment after your ride such as concerts, bands, karaoke, museums, craft shows and seasonal town events. Unique shops offer local handmade products, antiques, clothing, gifts and much more.
Four Seasons Adventure Trail
The Four Seasons Adventure Trail skirts several scenic lakes as it passes through forests and farmland, linking Newport, Corinna, Dexter, and Dover-Foxcroft in central Maine. The trail experiences frequent ATV use on summer weekends, mountain bikers and horseback riders share the trail in warmer months, and snowmobilers and cross-country skiers appear when the snow flies. Snowshoeing and dogsledding are also permitted. Both ends of the trail tie into the 1,000-mile-plus-long Maine Interconnected Trail System. When enjoying the trail please remember it is multi-use; motorized users must yield to non-motorized and please demonstrate courtesy and ethics to all trail users as well as abutting landowners.
Down East Sunrise Trail
The 87-mile Down East Sunrise Trail passes through the woods, marshlands, and coastal villages of southern Maine. It takes its name from its location in Down East Maine, dubbed by early mariners for being “downwind” from more western ports such as Boston. Also, it’s one of the first trails to experience sunrise in the United States. ATV riders are the most frequent trail users and maintain the crushed stone and gravel trail surface. It’s also a major off-road component on the East Coast Greenway, a future Calais, Maine–to–Key West, Florida, route for bicyclists, hikers, and equestrians.
Sanford-Springvale Rail Trail
The Sanford-Springvale Rail Trail (also known as Railroad Trail) traverses the woods on either side of Sanford’s scenic Springvale community in southern Maine.The gravel trail runs for nearly 6 miles as it links a shady brook in the east to a woodsy property line in the west. A couple of segments meander off the historic rail corridor onto private easements. Its gravel surface ranges from firm to loose and is best suited to bicycles with wide tires; ATVs, snowmobiles, and horses also use this Maine trail.
Whistle Stop Rail Trail
A former Maine Central Railroad line provides a year-round playground for motorized and nonmotorized trail users to explore the western hills of Maine. The long, flat, mostly straight stretches of the Whistle Stop Rail-Trail, running from Farmington to Livermore Falls, primarily serve ATVs and off-road vehicles in warmer months and snowmobiles in winter, but the trail is also accessible to mountain bikers, hikers, dog walkers, horseback riders, cross-country skiers, and snowshoers. Hybrid cyclists will find sandy sections passable but difficult.
Kennebec Valley Trail
ATVs and mountain bike travel this remote Maine rail-trail until the first snowfall, which brings out snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. Snowshoeing and dogsledding are also permitted. Mountain bikes are recommended for cycling, as parts of the trail suffer rough conditions. In Bingham, the trail links to more than a thousand miles of trail in Maine’s Interconnected Trail System.
Saint John Valley Heritage Trail
This gravel Maine trail rolls along the south bank of the Saint John River for nearly 17 miles between two towns and offers clear views of forests and farmland across the river in New Brunswick. It’s used primarily by mountain bikers, ATV riders, and snowmobilers who can connect to more than a thousand miles of off-roading on Maine’s Interconnected Trail System. (In the winter, snowshoeing and dogsledding are also permitted.)
Sherman to Patten Trail
The Sherman to Patten Trail in Maine occupies a former Bangor and Aroostook Railroad spur off the main line that once ran from Bangor to Millinocket to Houlton. The state of Maine acquired the corridor running north from Millinocket. Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. currently operates rail service on the main line. Patten was once a center for lumbering and agriculture. The Patten Lumberman’s Museum is now a regional attraction, located at 61 Shin Pond Road. The rail-trail covers 4.5 miles along the approximately 7-mile corridor between Patten and Sherman. There is no access to the trail from the Sherman end, where the spur joins the main line. The surface is stone and gravel and is suitable for mountain bikes, ATVs and snowmobiles.
Lagrange to Medford Trail
The Lagrange to Medford Trail in Maine fills the bill if you’re looking for a remote trail experience. The gravel rail-trail runs for 11.4 miles from Lagrange to Medford Center, where it crosses a 100-year-old railroad trestle across the Piscataquis River. An ATV and snowmobile route continues north on the old railroad bed to remote Schoodic Lake at Lake View Plantation. You’re as likely to see evidence of beavers and moose as people along the out-of-the-way route.
Coburn Mountain ATV Riders
This large Maine trail system is open to ATV’s during the summer and to snowmobiles in the winter. There are several lodging accommodations that provide direct trail access. Maine Outdoor sports offers ate rentals and tours and has access to over 250 miles of trails.
This Maine lodge is open year round and offers direct access to hundreds of miles of maintained ATV trails that wind through forests, streams, waterfalls, gravel pits, and dirt roads. These Maine trails eventually connect to the Aroostook Country ATV Trail System. The Trails are open to ATVs from May – late fall.
Rocky Mountain Terrain Park
The Rocky Mountain Terrain Park (RMTP) is located on ITS 89 and ITS 84 of the Maine trail system. There you will find miles of scenic trails. On those trails there’s a vehicle width restriction of 64”. Inside the RMTP there are no restrictions. They have an off-road playground featuring bumps, jumps, deep bogs, some mud runs and various trails that lead up the mountain. You will encounter all types of terrain, many trails are rocky. All off-road vehicles allowed.