- Marine & Environmental Affairs
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- Off-Highway Vehicle Information
Off-Highway Vehicle Information
The information listed on this page are excerpts from the Massachusetts Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Laws. Prior to operating an off-highway vehicle (ATV, ORV, UTV, 4-by-4 motor vehicles, dirt bikes, "mule"-type vehicles, off-highway motorcycles, etc.) please read the State Rules and Regulations and the MA Handbook Laws and Safe Operating Procedures.
Please note: outside of private property with the below stipulations, there is nowhere in Plymouth that is open for riding. This includes power-line and gas-line easements, Myles Standish State Forest, and all federal, state, and municipally owned conservation areas, preserves, parks, open space, and beaches in Plymouth.
Operating on Roads & Public Property
OHVs may not be operated on:
- Any public way or land unless marked and approved for use by OHVs, even for crossing
- A controlled-access highway, even for crossing
Operating on Private Property
It is illegal to operate and OHV on Private Property unless:
- The operator has written permission from the property owner or
- The operator has valid proof of current membership that has permission from the property owner or
- The property owner has posted notices of areas designated for use or
- The property is owned by an immediate family member of the operator
Designated OHV Parks & Trails
Please visit the Off-Road Vehicle website for areas where it is legal to utilize off-highway vehicles.
Protecting the Environment
It is illegal to operate an OHV in a way that causes damage to the environment, public or private, including operating on or in the following areas:
- A reforested or planted area in a way that damages growing stock
- An ocean beach or sand dune in a way that destroys, damages, or breaks down the beach, dune or dune grass
- A wetland (such as a bog, marsh, or swamp) in a way that damages wetland plants
- Waters of the Commonwealth
- Designated priority habitats
- Land used for public water supply purposes
- Historic or archeological sites
Sean's Law & Operator Requirements
Persons Under the age of 16 ½ may operate a recreational vehicle across a public way only if:
- The operator is directly supervised by an adult, and
- The public way and the crossing are marked and approved for recreational vehicle use, and
- The supervising adult is at least 18 years of age and sufficiently close to the operator at all times to maintain both visual contact and verbal communications with the operator. Supervising adults will be held responsible for any operational offenses by the person they are supervising
Persons 14 to 16 years of age may operate an all-terrain or recreational utility vehicle only if:
- The engine capacity is no greater than 90cc, and
- The operator is directly supervised by an adult
Persons 10 to 14 years of age may operate an OHV only if:
- Participating in a sanctioned race, rally or organized event, and
- The engine capacity is no greater than 90 cubic centimeters, and
- The race, rally, or organized event is be approved by a municipal permitting authority, and
- OHV operation in preparation for the sanctioned event is up to 21 days prior to the event, and
- During preparation and at the event, persons 10 to 14 years of age are supervised by an adult at all times
Persons under 10 years of age may not operate a recreational vehicle, other than a dirt bike, under any circumstances. They may operate a dirt bike that is appropriate for the child's size and age only if:
- The child is participating in a sanctioned race, rally, or organized event, and
- The race, rally, or organized event is approved by a municipal permitting authority, and
- Dirt bike operation in preparation for the sanctioned even takes place on private property, and
- During preparation and at the event, the child is supervised by an adult at all times
Safety Education Requirements
All recreational vehicle operators under 18 years of age must complete an approved recreational vehicle safety course and responsibility course. Operators required to take a safety course must carry proof of successful completion of the course. This course includes one mandatory, in-person session. If the recreational vehicle operator is under 16 years of age, a parent or guardian must attend this session also.
- Operating under the influence of drugs/alcohol
- Operating across a public way unless it is marked and approved for recreational vehicles
- Operating on unapproved public ways or upon or across a controlled access highway
- Failure to come to a complete stop when crossing an approved public way (must yield to traffic).
- Operating to endanger or at speeds that are unsafe for conditions.
- Operating a snow or recreational vehicle in a manner that causes damage to public or private property, including lands owned or managed by DCR, DFW, wetlands or other waters of the Commonwealth including lands used for public water supply purposes or historic or archaeological sites.
- Operating a snow or recreational vehicle in a reforested or planted area in a manner that causes damage to growing stock.
- Operating a snow or recreational vehicle on an ocean beach or sand dune in a manner so as to destroy, damage, or break down any beach, dune, or dune grass.
- Operating on the land of another without written permission of the owner.
- Operating within 150 feet of an occupied residence without permission of the owner.
- No person having control of a snow or recreational vehicle shall refuse to stop after having been requested or signaled to do so by a law enforcement officer.
- No person shall refuse to give their correct name, address, and registration number to a law enforcement officer.
- Operating in a manner to harass or chase wildlife or domestic animals.
- Operating a snow or recreational vehicle which emits noxious fumes or makes excessive noise.
- Operating with a loaded firearm, rifle, or shotgun.
To report illegal OHV operation activity, please contact the Massachusetts Environmental Police at 800-632-8075 or Plymouth Police at 508-830-4218