Since snowmobile season was a bit of a flop here in Central New York, we’re expecting an off trail frenzy on ATVs this spring and summer. Zipping through the woods and fields on a powerful 3 or 4 wheeler is as much fun as snowmobiling, though many say you can’t beat the beauty of a sparkling, snowy woods.
So what exactly is an ATV, anyways? New York State Department of Motor Vehicles defines an all-terrain vehicle as “any self-propelled vehicle with two or more wheels that is manufactured for sale to be used primarily off-highway or in off-road competitions, and that is no wider than 70 inches and weighs no more than 1,000 pounds.”
This does not include vehicles designed for snow and ice, ie snowmobiles. New York State also tells us that ATVs must be registered at DMV if they are operated anywhere in the state. That includes operated on the owner’s property. There are a few exemptions and your ATV dealer will know what they are. In fact, it’s the dealer who must register every ATV they sell.
You don’t need a driver license to operate an ATV but if you’re under age 16, there are some restrictions. But believe it or not, you can operate an ATV if you’re under 10 with an adult’s supervision or on land owned or leased by your parent or guardian.
So that got us thinking about ATV safety and insurance. First off, insurance. For all intents and purposes, ATV insurance is mandatory. The deal is that if you operate an ATV anywhere in New York State, except on your own property, you must have insurance. You might think you can get away from purchasing insurance because you “only drive on your property.” But just one drive onto a roadway and you’re no longer on your property.
We can help you with the insurance. We’ve got some great companies that offer ATV insurance at a good price. The minimum required coverage in NYS is $50,000/$100,000 for Death, $25,000/$50,000 for Injury, and $10,000 for Property Damage in any one accident. Don’t worry, we can explain it all to you when you call or stop in our office.
As to safety, a few tips…
- Wear a helmet. In New York State you must wear a USDOT-approved helmet. But it’s also recommended that you wear eye protection, boots, gloves, long pants, and a long sleeved shirt.
- Never allow more riders than the ATV was designed for. Sit only in the designated seat and no more than one passenger on a two-person ATV.
- Do not ride on paved roads. ATVs are designed for off road use, and that’s really where the fun of it is. You could easily get hit by a car or truck on the road, so only cross when necessary.
- ATVs can go up to 65 mph (or more) so DON”T DRIVE AN ATV UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS!!!!
- Use the right machine for the right age. Kids under 16 should not be driving adult ATVs.
You must immediately report to the police any accident that involves death, personal injury or damage that you estimate at $600 or more to the property of any one person. Also, if we have your insurance, give our office a call. We have our own, in-house claims manager, Cathy LeTray, who will help you through the process.
So enjoy your ride this year and have fun. But please, drive carefully and with the right safety equipment. How about an injury free 2016 here in the Mohawk Valley.
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc. is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.