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Off-Road Vehicle Child Helmet Law

In accordance with Indiana law, beginning July 1, 2017 all children under 18 years are required to wear a helmet on or in any Off-Road Vehicle (ORV). This applies to all ORVs, including but not limited to ATVs, UTV, side-by-side vehicles, and dirt bikes. The law applies both to public and private property. It does not apply to golf carts.

Under the law, owners of ORVs who allow children younger than age 18 to ride their ORV on public or private property without wearing an approved helmet can be charged with a Class C infraction, which carries a maximum penalty of $500.

Frequently asked questions

What type of helmet is required?

Approved helmets are those that meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards. Helmets that meet FMVSS 218 must have a sticker on the outside back of the helmet with the letters DOT, which certifies that the helmet meets or exceeds FMVSS 218. Read more detail about DOT helmets on the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration website.

What if my child is in a car seat and too small to wear a helmet?

If you, as the parent, believe your child is too small to safely ride on an off-road vehicle with a helmet, please do not permit your child to ride on the off-road vehicle.

If I place a child in a car seat, does the helmet law still apply?

Yes. The use of a car seat does not exclude a child under age 18 from being required to wear a helmet when riding on an off-road vehicle.

Does the helmet law apply to side by sides and UTVs?

The law pertains to all vehicles that are designed for cross-country travel.

Does the helmet law apply to golf carts?

Golf carts are excluded.

Does the helmet law apply to ATVs being used around the farm?

When used for farm purposes, the helmet law does not apply. However it does apply when the vehicle is used for non-farm purposes.

Does the helmet law apply to motorized mini-bike or dirt-bike?

Yes, the law applies to all vehicles specifically designed for off-road travel.

Does the helmet law apply to a go-kart?


Does the helmet law apply to battery operated toy machines?

The law applies to any machine that is designed for cross-country travel. It includes certain battery operated machines, but the common toy machines that are only capable of slow backyard travel are not considered off-road vehicles and helmets are not required for them.

Are Jeeps, trucks, crawlers, dune buggies or similar vehicles included?

If a vehicle is not registered through the BMV and used for the purpose of cross-country travel it is within the definition that requires a helmet for all occupants under the age of 18.

Does this law only apply to public property or roadways?

No. The helmet law applies on public and private property.

Who is responsible if a violation is found by a law enforcement officer?

The operator of any vehicle is ultimately responsible for any violation, including the failure of the operator to wear a helmet. However, the new law also allows the adult who is responsible for the ATV to be cited for the offense.

I have more questions. Who should I contact?

Please contact an Indiana Conservation Officer.

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