ATVs or All Terrain Vehicles are three or four wheeled gas-powered personal recreational vehicles. Some ATVs are also used for commercial applications such as farming and property maintenance. Property owners sometimes experience ATV riders using their private property for recreation without permission. The trespassers may cause damage to the property or incur injury and attempt to hold the owner liable. To stop ATV riders from riding on your property, there are some options.
Ask the ATV riders to stop riding on your property. Notify the ATV riders when they approach or are on the property that it is private and is not for public recreational use.
Post conspicuous signage. Post "No Trespassing" and "Private Property" signs around the perimeters of the property in conspicuous places. Take pictures of the posted signage and date them to create a record for future reference and/or use. Also capture the ATV riders on still or video camera if they continue to ride on the property.
Report the riders to the police and have the offenders trespassed. If the ATV riders continue to enter the property, ignoring the posted signage, place a call to the local police or sheriff's non-emergency line. Ask for an officer or deputy to be dispatched and cite the ATV riders with trespassing. Keep the citations for future reference. Report any repeat violations to the same law enforcement department.
Speak to the local city council. Talk to other land owners to determine if they are experiencing the same problem. If they are, speak to the city council or county commission as a group about enacting ordinances that prohibit the use of ATVs on private property.
If the ATV riders cause damage to your property such as damaging a fence or irrigation system, you may sue them and use the pictures as evidence.
If possible, put up a privacy fence, or barbed-wire or electrical fence around the property.
Do not booby trap your property with nails or concealed clotheslines. Any bodily injury and/or damage incurred by the ATV riders and/or to their machines could make you liable.
- "Private Property Rights"; Paul Ruschmann, Maryanne Nasiatka, Alan Marzilli; 2007
Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.