Are ATVs Street Legal in Wisconsin?

Posted By: Mike Kunert
Post Date: 09/16/2019

In most areas, cars and motorcycles are the primary vehicles you’ll find on the road. However, in rural areas, you can find a wide variety of other vehicles sharing the road. Seeing an ATV on the road can be strange, but is it illegal? Learn about the laws governing ATV usage on public roads before taking any chances.

Is It Legal to Drive an ATV on the Road?


It is illegal to drive an ATV on an interstate highway. The legality of ATV use on other roads and roadways varies from state to state. In Wisconsin, ATVs are prohibited on most roads, but there are exceptions. It’s best to check local regulations before taking your ATV on the road.

Are ATVs Street Legal in Wisconsin?

If an ATV has headlights and taillights, there are certain streets on which ATV use is permitted. ATV’s are only permitted on state highways within municipalities that allow for their use.  

Wisconsin ATV Laws 2019

Here are a few ATV laws worth being aware of:

  •  An ATV operator must possess a proof of registration or temporary operating receipt and must display such documentation upon request from law enforcement.  

  • It is illegal to operate an unregistered ATV in Wisconsin unless displaying a non-resident trail pass or if operation takes place during the first full weekend of June. 

  • It is unlawful to operate an ATV on private property without the consent of the owner even if a piece of land is not clearly marked as privately owned. 

  • It is illegal to drive an ATV over ten mph within 150 feet of a residence unless on a designated ATV route. 

  • It is unlawful to drive an ATV while armed with a loaded firearm unless that firearm is a handgun. 

  • Minors are required to wear protective headgear while operating an ATV unless the use is for hunting, fishing, agricultural purposes or on land owned by immediate family. 

  • When driving adjacent to a motorway at night, ATV operators must operate in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic. 

  • When driving adjacent to a highway at night, an ATV must utilize a lighted headlamp and tail lamp.

  • It is illegal to use an ATV for hunting purposes. 

  • It is unlawful to operate an ATV in Wisconsin with a blood alcohol level above 0.08.  

  • It is illegal to operate an ATV that emits a sound louder than 96 decibels.  

While ATV use on roadways is sometimes permitted in Wisconsin, that is not the norm. If you intend to use an ATV on a Wisconsin road, ensure the road is within a municipality that allows for roadway ATV use. Taking your ATV on the road may be practical, but it’s best to check local regulations before taking any chances.

Mike Kunert
Mike Kunert is the general manager of Powersports Company. He is very passionate about the powersports and outdoor equipment industry. He does everything from sales to service at the store. With 23+ years in the powersports/outdoor equipment industry and many OEM factory certifications, he has a lot of knowledge about the industry.


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