OHV regulations for youth riders

Youth under age 18 who are operating an ATV or as a passenger on an ATV must wear a DOT certified Helmet.  

Class 1 ATV operation for youth

Under age 10

  • May operate an ATV only on private property with permission of the owner.
  • Parent or guardian must be present at hands-on ATV safety training.

Age 10 & 11

  • May operate an ATV only on private property with permission of the owner.
  • May operate an ATV up to 90cc on public lands and frozen waters if accompanied by parent or legal guardian.
  • May operate an ATV up to 110cc with straddle-style seating on public lands or frozen waters if accompanied by parent or legal guardian.
  • May operate an ATV up to 170cc with side-by-side-style seating and equipped with steering wheel on public lands or frozen waters if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Age 12 to 15

  • May operate an ATV on public lands and frozen waters and make direct crossing of roadways with a valid safety certificate is accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older who holds a valid driver's license.
  • On the bank, slope, ditch of a public road right-of-way or roadway open by local ordinance with a valid ATV Safety Certification when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian on a separate ATV.

Age 16 & 17

  • Must have a valid driver’s license and ATV Safety Certification to make a direct crossing of a roadway or operate on road right-of-way or roadway open by local ordinance

Youth Operators with Passengers

As an operator 12 to 17 years of age, you may carry one passenger on a Class 1 ATV only if the passenger is your parent or legal guardian.

Class 2 ATV Operation

Anyone under the age of 15 may NOT operate a Class 2 ATV anywhere.  15 year olds with a valid ATV Safety Certificate may operate a Class 2 on the right shoulder or the extreme right-hand side of public road when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian on a separate ATV.

ATV Fit Requirement for Youth

If you are under 16, you must be able to properly reach and control the handlebars and reach the foot pegs while sitting upright on the machine to operate an ATV on public lands or water, or on state or grant-in-aid trails.

Seat clearance:    

A minimum of 3 inches of clearance between the seat and the top inseam of the pants when standing on the foot rests is required to enable the operator to maintain balance when turning and riding over obstacles and rough terrain.

Upper legs:   

While seated, the operator’s upper legs should be horizontal (parallel to the ground).

Arm length:

While seated and gripping the handle bar, there should be a distinct bend in the arm at the elbow.

Hand size:

With the hand gripping the handle bar, extend the fingers to the brake lever. The first joint of the index finger should extend beyond the brake lever. If it doesn’t, then the hand is too small to safely operate the brake. Also, check to see that the arm length is sufficient to properly operate the brake lever and throttle while the handlebars are turned to the far left and right.

Nonresident Youth and ATV Operation in Minnesota

Nonresident youth has in possession evidence of completing an ATV safety course offered by the ATV Safety Institute or another state’s ATV Safety training program which is similar to Minnesota ATV safety training course.

Nonresident youth is accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older who holds a valid driver's license