Iowa ATV Laws and Regulations

Laws & Regulations

All riders in Iowa who are ages 12 through 17 are REQUIRED to complete an approved ATV Safety Course, and carry the Iowa ATV Safety Certificate with them while riding on designated public lands, designated riding areas, and public ice.

ATV Safety Gear Requirements

All ATV riders should wear an approved helmet at ALL times when riding their ATV, regardless of their age or experience level. The majority of ATV riders who were killed while riding were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. In Iowa, a helmet is MANDATORY when riding on the State's OHV parks. Helmets must bear the DOT or SNELL approval logos, and be securely fastened at all times when riding.

Ride Safe and Legal!

Before heading out on Iowa's ATV and OHV trails, please remember the following tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride:

  • Always wear appropriate safety gear when riding.
  • Ensure your ATV is properly registered in the state.
  • Always stay on designated trails. Stay off paved roads.
  • Obtain the landowner's permission before going onto private land.
  • Know before you go - contact the landowner or land management agency to find out about open ATV trails or routes.
  • Never, ever ride an ATV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Important Note

The laws and regulations on this page are meant as a quick reference for ATV riders. It is your responsibility to know ALL ATV laws before heading out on the trails. For a complete list of ATV laws and regulations in Iowa, please consult with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at