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How old do you have to be to legally drive an ATV in California?

Q: Kathleen Klotz of Alta Loma asked how old a person has to be to legally drive an ATV on public land in California.

A: The California Department of Motor Vehicles does not issue licenses to ride all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, as they are supposed to be driven off-highway only. The California Vehicle Code addresses this issue, however. CVC Section 38503 says no one under the age of age 18 can operate an ATV on public lands unless they satisfy one of the following conditions:

• The rider has taken a prescribed safety training course under the direct supervision of a certified ATV safety instructor.

• The rider has an ATV safety certificate issued by the state of California or issued under the authority of another state.

• The rider is under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian, or an adult authorized by parent or guardian, who has an appropriate ATV safety certificate.

In addition, riders under age of 14 must either have an ATV safety certificate or the adult supervising the rider has to have an ATV safety certificate. And, regardless of who has the ATV safety certificate, all riders 14 and younger must be supervised by an adult. Riders age 14-17 may ride without adult supervision but would have to possess the ATV safety certificate. If you’re over 18, there are no restrictions, but taking a safety course would be a good idea anyway.

ATV safety training courses are offered at California’s State Vehicle Recreation Areas among other places statewide. You can learn more about ATV safety and safety training courses from the California State Parks, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division webpage:

Online license renewal

Finally, time is running out for eligible drivers age 70 and older to renew their driver’s license online if they wish, and skip a field office visit. Until the end of 2022, eligible senior citizen drivers and REAL ID cardholders can still renew noncommercial driver’s licenses and ID cards at or by mail, even if the renewal notice says they have to visit a DMV office.

Remember in October 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom temporarily waived the law that requires drivers 70 and older to renew their licenses at a DMV office, to spare them the in-person trip. He signed legislation allowing online or mail renewals through Dec. 31, 2022.

The DMV is encouraging eligible Californians, including REAL ID cardholders, with driver’s licenses and ID cards expiring this year to take advantage of this temporary option before the end of the year. Those applying for a REAL ID for the first time will still have to visit the DMV in person to complete the REAL ID application.

Do you commute to work in the Inland Empire? Spend a lot of time in your vehicle? Have questions about driving, freeways, toll roads or parking? If so, write or call On the Road and we’ll try to answer your questions. Please include your question or issue, name, city of residence, phone number and email address. Write or call 951-368-9670.

Source: Orange County Register

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