Can I Only Operate My ATV or Go-Kart on My Property or Can I Actually Ride It on the Street in Gainesville?

ATVs and go-karts are popular throughout Florida, including Gainesville. Owners need to understand where they can legally operate and ride their off-road vehicles to avoid legal problems. Learning how Florida defines these vehicles is the first step to knowing where you can ride your ATV or go-kart in Gainesville.

Florida’s Laws Defining Go-Karts and All-Terrain Vehicles

What is a Go-Kart in Florida?

Motorized go-karts fall under the category of recreational off-highway vehicles (ROV). 

Florida Statute §261.03(8) defines an ROV as a motorized vehicle that:

  • is 80 inches or less in width; 
  • has a dry weight of 2,500 pounds or less; 
  • is designed to travel on four or more nonhighway tires; and
  • was manufactured for recreational use by one or more people. 

Go-karts have non-straddled seats and also have a steering wheel.

What is an All-Terrain Vehicle in Florida?

Florida Statute §261.03(2) state that an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) is a motorized off-highway or all-terrain vehicle that:

  • is 55 inches or less in width; 
  • has a dry weight of 1,500 pounds or less, 
  • is designed to travel on three or more nonhighway wheels; and
  • is manufactured for recreational use by one or more people.

ATVs have straddled seats and handlebars. They are designed for a single rider unless you purchase an ATV specifically designed to carry two people. 

Where Can I Ride My Go-Kart or ATV in Gainesville?

These vehicles are not meant to be driven on public streets. Florida law prohibits operating ATVs and off-road vehicles on its public roads and streets. However, in some places, you can ride an ATV on an unpaved roadway during the daytime when the speed limit is less than 35 mph. 

Counties can choose to be exempt from this law after a public hearing and a majority vote of the governing body. Alachua County adopted codes that prohibit the operation of ATVs on roadways designed for motor vehicles. The ordinance includes paved and unpaved roads. 

Therefore, go-karts and ATVs are not permitted on any paved or unpaved roads meant for automobiles in Gainesville. You can ride your off-road vehicles on your property or property of another party with that party’s express permission.

Cities may enact specific ordinances regarding ATVs, go-karts, and other off-road vehicles. Before riding an ATV or go-kart anywhere other than private property or designated off-road areas, it is best to check state, county, and city ordinances to ensure you comply with all current laws. 

Are ATVs and Go-Karts Safe?

When used correctly and operated by a trained rider, off-road vehicles such as go-karts and ATVs can be safe. However, they are motorized vehicles capable of reaching speeds of 30 to 40 mph or more. It is important to remember that ATVs and go-karts are still motor vehicles capable of causing injury and death. 

Training and skill are required to operate ATVs and go-karts. Allowing children to operate off-road vehicles can be dangerous and deadly. Adults and children should wear helmets and other protective gear whenever they ride.

It is also wise to take a training course and read all of the manufacturer’s safety and operational materials before riding. Never ride more than one person per vehicle unless the vehicle is designed to seat two people. 

Also, make sure that you know the riding conditions for the area before you set out on a ride. Some off-road areas can be tricky to navigate, especially for beginners. 

ATV & Go-Kart Injuries and Accidents

The injuries caused by off-road vehicles include broken bones, brain injuries, severe burns, disfigurement, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage. For some victims, go-kart and ATV injuries can cause permanent disabilities and impairments. 

Determining who is responsible for a go-kart or ATV accident can be challenging. There could be one or more parties who might be liable for your injuries and damages.

For example, the manufacturer could be liable for personal injuries and damages if a defective part or defective vehicle caused the accident. An adult could be liable for failing to supervise children or allowing very young children to operate the vehicle. In some cases, a property owner might be liable for damages if there were dangerous or hazardous conditions on the property.

The types of damages you might receive depend upon the facts of your case. Injury victims are often entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, loss of income, and other financial damages, once they prove negligence or wrongdoing by the other party. They may also receive compensation for their non-economic damages, including pain, disfigurement, emotional suffering, and mental anguish.

A personal injury lawyer can help you with an injury claim. The lawyer investigates the accident to identify the parties responsible for causing your injuries. Then the attorney fights for maximum compensation for your damages.