ATV's are great fun and great sport. Who doesn't like to ride some trails or hit the dunes? The question that often comes up though is whether or not you can ride your ATV on the roads.
The short answer is yes, there are ATV's out there that are street legal. The long answer is much more complicated. The first thing that should be said is that you must check with your local authorities. Call your DMV so you know you have accurate and up to date information.
So on to the details. There are ATV's available that are more or less motorcycles with conversion kits. These are the "most street legal" models, and they are really cool. It's a ride guaranteed to turn some heads. Remember, even these aren't legal in every state.
If you're not looking for a specialty quad though, it's even more sticky. As I mentioned, you'd better check first with your local DMV, as they'll have the best information available. Laws vary from state to state, and sometimes from city to city, so only your local department will know for sure.
Street legal ATVs have to meet the same requirements as other vehicles. This means rear view mirrors, blinkers and brake lights, and passing safety inspections on things like the ATV shocks. Some places will also have minimum ride height restrictions and emissions tests.
Also like any other vehicle, you have to have proper credentials. Your quad will have to be licensed and registered, passing whatever restrictions are in place. You'll also have to have insurance, which can be a pain to obtain for ATVs on the highway.
Small towns often have special circumstances for riding on the street. They will allow some riding within the town, so long as it's not on a major road or highway, and there are generally requirements to yield to other traffic or similar. This is mostly to accommodate farmers and the like who are checking on different parts of their property.
Whatever your situation may be, it's important to be extremely cautious if you do venture out on the road. Remember, cars and trucks weigh a whole lot more than a quad, and travel much faster. You don't want to be in an accident with those kind of odds. The most important thing, as with all riding, is to stay safe. Keep your ATV shocks in good order, change your oil, and be careful out there.