Are Side-by-Sides Street Legal in Missouri?

Are you wondering whether you can take your off-terrain vehicle for a spin in Missouri? Side-by-side rules and restrictions vary from state to state, and keeping track of them can get confusing.

However, knowing what rules apply in Missouri will make your side-by-side experience stress-free and help you abide by Missouri laws.

We’ll go over Missouri laws regulating the operation of ATVs and UTVs to see are side-by-sides street legal in Missouri.

Are Side-by-Sides Street Legal in Missouri?

In most cases, side-by-sides are not street-legal in Missouri. Chapter 304 of the state law contains sections 32 and 34, which ban people from operating a side-by-side vehicle.

According to these sections, ROVs (recreational off-highway vehicles) and UTVs can’t be driven on highways and across bodies of water like rivers or streams.

There are several exceptions, but they mainly apply to government-owned and -operated side-by-sides. The exceptions are as follows:

  • Government-owned ROVs used for official purposes.
  • ROVs operated for agricultural or industrial purposes in the appropriate areas.
  • ROVs driven within three miles of the driver’s official residence. In such cases, local authorities need to issue a special permit.
  • ROVs that people with disabilities drive to cross short distances on secondary roads.

Local authorities may grant drivers special permission to operate their vehicles on highways within city limits. These licenses cost $15, and the governing body is entitled to keep the total amount.

County entities can also give out special permits at a $15 fee. The licenses allow vehicle owners to use county roads.

Side-by-Sides According to Missouri State Law

States use a vehicle’s weight and size to lay out a clear legal definition. Although side-by-sides and ATVs might look similar, knowing their legal specifications is essential. Missouri distinguishes between ROVs, ATVs, and UTVs.

The state sees recreational off-highway vehicles as motor vehicles produced solely for off-highway operation. The minimum width of an ROV should not fall below 50 inches, while the maximum should not exceed 80 inches.

Also, the weight of the vehicle needs to stay under 3,500 pounds. An ROV needs to be equipped with four or more off-highway tires to navigate ATV pathways successfully.

According to Missouri laws, an ATV is also a motor vehicle made exclusively for off-highway usage. Its width should not exceed 50 inches, or it must have a straddle seat with handlebars, while its maximum weight should stay below 1,500 pounds.

In addition, an ATV can have three or more off-highway tires.

Missouri’s UTV definition states that a utility vehicle is a motorized machine made to be operated off the highway.

The vehicle should be between 50 and 80 inches in width, and its weight should not surpass 3,500 pounds. It works on 4 to 6 wheels and is primarily used for lawn and landscape maintenance and other similar purposes.

Before traveling on or purchasing a side-by-side in Missouri, make sure to inspect the vehicle and note down its weight and size. You’ll then know which restrictions apply to you and which steps to take to legalize your vehicle.

While Missouri law views ROVs and UTVs as side-by-sides, most of the state’s regulations also apply to ATVs.

Titling and Registering Your ATV in Missouri

Owning an ATV is illegal in Missouri unless you obtain a certificate of ownership. The document is also known as a title and is released and verified by the state’s Department of Revenue. Missouri does not require ROV and UTV owners to title and register their vehicles.

After you purchase an ATV, you have a time limit of 30 days to apply to get the ownership certificate. Failing to do so carries financial penalties.

For each month that passes, you will face a fine of $25. The maximum application failure charge is $200. Missouri’s Department of Revenue has developed an online calculator to help owners determine how much they need to pay in taxes and fees.

When you buy an ATV, its previous certificate automatically expires, so the new owner is responsible for titling the vehicle within 30 days.

However, there are some exceptions. For example, government-owned ATVs are not required to go through the registration process. Similarly, ATVs that have been properly titled in a different state or county don’t need a Missouri-issue certificate, but they are not allowed to remain within the state for more than a month.

To make their ATV legal in Missouri, owners have to turn in the following documentation to the Department of Revenue:

The Certificate of Title or Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO)

When you purchase a vehicle from a factory, they’ll give you the MSO. However, if you’ve bought the ATV or UTV from another person, they should transfer the certificate of title to you. To complete this process, you need to fill out the back of the document and have it properly notarized.

A Missouri Title Application

The application is also known as Form 108. Before submitting the paperwork, you must fill out the application’s title assignment. The information includes your name, address, the make and model of the vehicle, and its purchase date.

A Notice of Lien

Form 4809 should be completed for someone’s name to be added or removed from a vehicle title. As it’s not a mandatory registration document, owners should submit the form only if it applies to their situation.

ATV owners should be aware of the cost of registering and titling their vehicles. The are several fees, including:

  • A 4.225% sales tax
  • Local sales taxes (if applicable to the vehicle’s net price)
  • An $8.50 title charge
  • A $10.25 registration charge
  • A $6 processing rate

Local sales taxes are calculated according to where you reside and not where you purchase the ATV or UTV.

Once you have completed the registration, you’ll receive a decal for your vehicle. The decal is valid for three years. After that, you need to renew it. It should be attached to the ATV in a way that it’s visible at all times.

When renewing your registration, you should send the following documents to the Missouri license office:

  • Proof of ownership or registration
  • A Registration Renewal Notice or a copy of the previous decal notice
  • Renewing your ATV decal comes with the following fees:
  • A $10.25 registration charge
  • A $6 processing rate

Are Side-by-Sides Street Legal in Missouri

Where Can You Drive an ATV or UTV in Missouri?

Typically, driving an ATV or UTV on public streets is illegal unless government-owned and operated. However, ATVs and UTVs may travel down public roads when used for agriculture, but only from dusk until dawn. Depending on the circumstances, the local government may also rely on statutes and rulings that permit an ATV or UTV to travel down public paths.

Drivers who have permission to drive their vehicles along public pathways must have an official license and keep their speed below 30 miles per hour.

You’re obligated to respect the road signage when you have permission to operate your vehicle on Missouri state highways. Additionally, you must adhere to the state’s standard driving laws.

The property owner must first grant you permission when driving the vehicle across private land. If stopped by the property owner, you are obligated to stop the vehicle and provide proof of identification. Also, if the owner asks you to leave the property, you must comply with their request.

There are two more instances where operating ATVs and UTVs are prohibited in Missouri. You can’t drive the vehicle on waterways unless the body of water is located on your property. Additionally, side-by-sides are not allowed to travel on or across rail tracks. They also don’t have entry to properties with rail tracks.

However, owners can ride their ATVs on specific Forest Service pathways. Drivers must have a driver’s license, and those riding with a learner’s permit need to be accompanied by an adult.

UTV and ATV Age Limitations in Missouri

While Missouri has established no official state minimum for driving an ATV or UTV, there are still a few limitations:

  • No one under the age of 16 can drive an ATV or UTV unless a parent or legal guardian accompanies them. Alternatively, they may be supervised by another adult who the parent or guardian approved. This limitation doesn’t apply when operating the vehicle on property that belongs to the parent or guardian.
  • No one younger than 18 can travel on an ATV or UTV without an adequately adjusted helmet.

The Necessary Equipment for ATVs and UTVs

Before a side-by-side can be declared legal, it needs the proper equipment to become street-safe. All UTVs and ATVs operated in Missouri must have the following:

  • A Front and Back Lamp: Both lamps should be powered on when operating your vehicle on any road.
  • A Bike Flag: The flag needs to reach seven feet off ground level. Whenever the vehicle is going down any road, the flag has to be attached to the vehicle’s back-end.
  • A Slow-Moving Vehicle Sign: Any operating ATV or UTV needs a slow-moving emblem affixed to its rear.
  • A Functioning Muffling System
  • A Forest Service-approved Spark Arrestor
  • A Well-Performing Breaking System

Additional ATV and UTV Rules

A few more rules regulate how side-by-sides are operated in Missouri.

First, operating an ATV or UTV in a manner that threatens the safety and wellbeing of other people is prohibited. Careless driving that may damage others’ property is also unlawful.

Additionally, no one can ride an ATV or UTV while intoxicated or under the influence of controlled substances.

Finally, unless the vehicle is used for farming purposes, no passengers are allowed on the ATV or UTV.

Abide by the State Rules

Navigating vehicle regulations can be tricky, especially when it comes to side-by-side operation and registration.

For now, primarily government-owned side-by-sides are street-legal in Missouri. However, with an increased interest in these practical vehicles, legislative change is undoubtedly underway in many states.

However, until Missouri decides to enact any changes, it’s best to abide by the existing laws and avoid trouble.