Off-road and recreational vehicle use and laws ATVs, ROVs, OHMs | Meldon Law
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The ABCs of Off-road and Recreational Vehicle Use

Florida law distinguishes several types of off-highway and recreational vehicles: ATVs, ROVs, OHMs, low-speed vehicles and golf carts. In this library article, personal injury attorney, Jeffrey Meldon, defines the various categories of off-road vehicles and gives the rules regarding their operation, according to Florida Law.

The Definitions:

Florida law distinguishes several types of off-highway and recreational vehicles: ATVs, ROVs, OHMs, low-speed vehicles, and golf carts. In this library article, personal injury attorney Jeffrey Meldon defines the various categories of off-road vehicles and gives the rules regarding their operation, according to Florida Law.

The Definitions

All-terrain vehicle (ATV) is defined by Florida Statute §317.0003(1) as any motorized off-highway or all-terrain vehicle 50 inches or less in width, weighing less than 1,200 pounds, designed to travel on three or more tires with a seat designed to be straddled and handlebars for steering control, intended for use by a single operator with no passenger. There are also two-rider ATVs, which are specifically designed by the manufacturer for a single operator and one passenger.

Recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV) is any motorized recreational off-highway vehicle 60 inches or less in width, with a dry weight of 1,500 pounds or less, designed to travel on four or more non-highway tires, and, unlike an ATV, having non-straddle seating and a steering wheel (261.03 (9)). Motorized go-karts also fall into this category.

Off-highway motorcycle (OHM) is any motorized vehicle used off the road/highway with a seat or saddle for the rider’s use and designed to travel with not more than two wheels in contact with the ground, excluding a tractor or moped.

Low-speed vehicle is any four-wheeled electric vehicle whose top speed is between 20 to 25 miles per hour.

Golf cart is a motor vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.

The Laws

In Florida, an ATV, ROV, and OHM cannot be operated on a public road, street, or highway. The only exception is that they may be operated on an unpaved public roadway where the posted speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour and only during daytime (Florida Statute §316.2123).

An ATV, OHM, or ROV operator under 16 years of age must be supervised by a licensed driver and must wear a helmet and eye protection. In addition to direct supervision, eye protection, over-the-ankle boots, and a safety helmet, those under 16 who want to operate the off-highway vehicle on public land must also pass a safety course (Florida Statute §261.20(3)).

An off-highway vehicle operator may not carry a passenger unless a vehicle is specifically designed by the manufacturer to carry an operator and a single passenger (i.e., two-rider ATV).

Anyone who violates the laws mentioned above commits a noncriminal infraction and is subject to a fine of not less than $100. In addition, he or she might be prohibited from operating an off-highway vehicle on public lands. The fine for a second or subsequent violation or a violation with intent to defraud is not less than $500 (Florida Statute 261.20(6)).

A low-speed vehicle may be operated on the streets only if the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less (Florida Statute §316.2122). However, the rider of a low-speed vehicle may cross a road or street at an intersection where that road or street has a higher speed limit. A low-speed vehicle must be equipped with headlamps, stop lamps, turn signal lamps, tail lamps, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields, seat belts, and vehicle identification numbers. It must also be registered and insured, and its operator must always have a valid driver’s license in their possession.

A golf cart may not be operated on public roads or streets, except on roads designated explicitly by a county for golf cart use. A golf cart is also prohibited on roads that are part of the State Park Road System if the posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less, or when the appropriate sign on the road indicates that such golf cart operation is allowed (Florida Statute §316.212). A person under 14 may not operate a golf cart on public roads or streets.

Meldon Law Is Here for You

At Meldon Law, we strongly believe that public education is the first step in preventing an accident or the recovery from one.

We are experienced personal injury attorneys, trial lawyers, negotiators, litigators, paralegals, and staff who have proudly fought to get accident victims the justice they deserve for over 40 years in Florida. Our practice handles all manner of accidents, including car crashes, truck wrecks, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents, dog bites, and slip and fall, medical malpractice, and criminal defense cases.

Our Meldon Law founder, Jeffrey Meldon, has over 40 years of helping accident victims get justice and a fair shake from insurance companies. He has drawn on his many decades of legal experience to write the consumer guide book, Seven Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case. You can request your free, no-obligation copy right now, or contact our office to have your complimentary copy sent to you today.

Contact Meldon Law immediately at 800-373-8000 if you have been involved in a serious auto, truck, or motorcycle accident. We are in your community and have the experience and resources required to obtain a fair settlement for you – we are here to help you.

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