Accidents involving recreational vehicles differ from car accidents, even when they involve other cars. The victim may have more severe injuries due to the lack of protection in an ATV accident, and the victim may be found liable if he or she was riding in an area where that type of vehicle is restricted.
If the rider wasn't following Florida road rules pertaining to ATV operation, he or she can be found negligent, and may not be eligible for injury compensation.
With that in mind, it's important to know where and when operators of off-road vehicles may ride.
Florida Laws on the Use of ATVs and Other Off-Road Vehicles
Just as there are Florida laws regarding different types of motorcycles, the state also has regulations on operation of the many types of off-road vehicles, including:
- All-terrain vehicle (ATV). Florida classifies an ATV as any motorized off-highway vehicle that travels on three or more tires and is designed for use by a single operator or a single operator and one passenger. In Florida, an ATV may be operated on a public roadway only during the day, if the roadway is unpaved, and the posted speed limit is less than 35 mph.
- Recreational off-highway vehicle (ROV). Florida law considers an ROV to be a motorized recreational off-highway vehicle under 60 inches in width that travels on four or more non-highway tires, and has non-straddle seating and a steering wheel, such as a motorized go-kart. Like ATVs, these vehicles are forbidden to ride on public streets or highway unless it's during the day on an unpaved road with a speed limit less than 35 mph.
- Off-highway motorcycle (OHM). An OHM similarly can only be ridden on public roads on an unpaved road with a speed limit less than 35 mph during daylight hours. These vehicles are motorized bikes with a seat or saddle for the rider and travel with not more than two wheels in contact with the ground. It's also illegal to carry a passenger on am OHM unless the vehicle has been specifically designed by the manufacturer to carry both an operator and a single passenger.
- Low-speed vehicles. Florida laws are more generous regarding the use of low-speed vehicles, which include four-wheeled electric vehicles with top speeds between 20–to– 25 mph. Low-speed vehicles may be operated only on roads where the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less. Operators of low-speed vehicles are required to carry a valid driver’s license and to register and insure their vehicles.
- Golf carts. Sporting or recreational golf carts may only be operated on public roads with a posted speed limit under 35 mph; roads that are specifically designated for golf cart use; or roads that are part of the State Park Road System (and only if the operator is over 14 years old).
We can help you determine who was at fault, whether defects in the ATV manufacturing or design led to the crash, and how much you could be owed for your injury. Contact the injury attorneys at Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. by filling out the quick contact form on this page and scheduling your free case evaluation.