State of Georgia
*** NOTICE ***
This page includes a brief summary of provincial/state laws regulating ATV / Off-highway vehicle use current to April 2012. It is not intended as an absolute reference as laws are subject to change without notice and many potential prohibited acts may be covered by other legislation or statutes. It is recommended that you consult with the latest version of state statutes or provincial legislation.
General prohibited acts that may not be covered by specific OHV legislation include trespassing on private property, unlawful use of OHV on public highways, reckless use of off-highway vehicles, operation of off-highway vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, damage to public or private property or damage to natural habitats or protected areas which are all unlawful in every province and state.

ATV's and other off-highway vehicles are regulated in the state of Georgia under Title 40 of Georgia statutes. These statutes cover use of off-highway vehicles on public and private lands.

For more information on Georgia ATV/OHV regulations, please download a copy of the Georgia OHV Act.

Summary of legislation regulating ATV use
Operation on public beaches prohibited
Operation of off-highway vehicles on public beaches anywhere in the state of Georgia is prohibited unless specifically exempted.

Permits required in some areas
Georgia does not currently require registration of off-highway vehicles, however some locals areas such as designated ATV/OHV trails and parks do require a permit to be purchased. Non-residents are recommended to possess valid out-of-state registration and decals on the vehicle.

Regulations for riding on Georgia designated OHV trails
OHV users riding in Georgia state forests and state designated OHV trails must purchase a OHV permit. Permits are available on a daily or annual basis. Off highway vehicles must remain on designated roads, trails or in designated areas marked specifically for off road vehicle use.

Some trails are restricted for a certain type of use such as only motorbikes or only four-wheel drive vehicles. These restrictions are set for safety reasons and to meet the special needs of each type of vehicle.

Anyone operating an off road vehicle on a Forest Service road (including dirt/gravel roads) must follow all State vehicle laws and must have a valid driver's license. There are opportunities on the National Forests for off road vehicle users who do not have a valid driver's license.

To ensure the driver's safety, these areas are specially designated and the driver must be accompanied by a licensed adult. Unlicensed vehicles may also be operated on certain trails and in designated areas, however, these vehicles should not be driven on any public or Forest Service road.

Off road vehicles may not be operated in a manner which damages or unreasonably disturbs the land, wildlife, or vegetation.

Violators of these restrictions are subject to fines of up to $500 and/or up to six months in prison.

Rules are necessary to make sure your riding adventure on the National Forest is fun, safe, and will continue to provide a quality riding experience. Please help by obeying these rules.

1) Stay on OHV designated trails, roads and areas.

2) Make sure your vehicle has an operating and effective spark arresting device.

3) Vehicle must not omit a noise while traveling 35 miles per hour or less in excess of 86 decibels at 50 feet or 90 decibels at 50 feet traveling over 35 miles per hour.

4) Conform with State laws and regulations regarding safety equipment for operating vehicles on public roads and highways.

5) Operate vehicle on forest roads safely and cautiously, respecting the rights of others.

6) Operate motor vehicle on a forest road with a valid driver's license.

7) Do not operate motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

8) Do not shortcut or switch-back on roads or trails.

9) Operate motor vehicle in designated OHV area or trail ONLY if of legal age to obtain a state drivers license or accompanied by a legally licensed driver.

10) Make sure vehicle has operable braking system.

11) Do not operate vehicle from one half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise unless equipped with working head and tail lights.

12) Do not create excessive smoke.

13) Do not operate in a manner which damages or unreasonably disturbs the land, wildlife or vegetation.

OHV Trail at Dukes Creek
Off Highway Vehicles are defined as any motorized vehicle that travels off paved roads for recreational purposes. OHV's include motorbikes such as mini-bikes, dirt bikes, enduros and motor cross bikes; 4-wheel drive vehicles, jeeps, land rovers, and pickups; all-terrain vehicles such as the popular 4-wheelers and dune buggies.The forest may be your fun place, but it is also home to wildlife.Please respect their needs. Also, by not observing these simple rules,these trails will be closed.

1) Stay on the trail. Riding off the trail can destroy animal burrows and kill vegetation animals need for food.
2) Some animals need to store water and energy in their bodies for hot summers or long winters. If you chase or scare animals, it can force them to use up valuable reserves.

3) Keep your noise level down. Revving engines may frighten animals. Maintain your exhaust system. A properly packed muffler is as important to performance as it is to sound control.
4) Noise doesn't equal horsepower. In fact, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, not enough exhaust back-pressure can mean less power and can cause engine damage.

5) Cross streams only at designated spots. Crossing elsewhere can stir up silt, and that's bad for fish.
6) Always be courteous when you pass hikers, fishermen, hunters, campers, or horseback riders in the forest. One little blip of the throttle can leave a shower of gravel, cloud of dust and an enemy behind you.

Avoid Wetlands and protect your right to ride. Ground always covered by shallow water or with saturated soil is generally considered a wetland. Certain types of vegetation (cattails or marsh grass, for example) adapted to life in wet conditions are indicators of a wetland area.

Most of the ATV trails on the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests bypass wetlands or have been designed to bridge sensitive areas. Avoid low spots and watercourses that could lead to wetlands. Stay on the designated trails to help protect the wetland resource.

Please visit our U.S. land use forums for discussions regarding land use and legal issues.

OHV Registration / Permit
OHV registration is not required, however some local areas do require a OHV permit, such as ATV/OHV trails and parks and state forests. In most cases, the permit can be purchased at the administration/forest office where you will be riding. Permits can be purchased at local administration/forest offices where you will be riding and are available on a daily basis or an annual pass. Non-residents are also recommended to possess valid out-of-state registration and decals on the vehicle.

For More Information
This page represents a general summary of applicable state laws which apply to the operation of an off-highway vehicle. Laws are subject to change and laws other than specific off-highway vehicle related laws may be in place which may directly or indirectly apply to the operation of a off-highway vehicle in certain circumstances. Please consult with your state statutes if you have any questions.

For more information on Georgia ATV/OHV regulations, please download a copy of the Georgia OHV Act.