LEONARDTOWN, Md. – As the warm weather approaches, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office experiences increases in complaints of persons illegally operating unregistered motorcycles, dirt bikes, golf carts, off-road and all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) on roadways and private property. The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind citizens the Maryland Transportation Article prohibits the operation of an unregistered motor vehicle on a public roadway.  ATVs may only be operated on private property with the permission of the property owner.  Off- road vehicles, golf carts, and ATVs may not be operated on:

  • Public Roadways
  • Bicycle Lanes
  • Three Notch Trail
  • Sidewalks
  • Power lines/Right-of-Ways
  • St. Mary’s County Parks-except in the designated ATV area of Chaptico Park

Any vehicle that is not registered in the state of Maryland  may not be driven on Maryland highways.  Maryland vehicle law defines highways as the entire width between the boundary line of any way or thoroughfare of which any part is used by the public for vehicular travel, whether or not the way or thoroughfare has been dedicated to the public and accepted by any proper authority.  This means off-road vehicles are for use on PRIVATE PROPERTY only, with the permission of the owner/agent.  According to Maryland Vehicle Law, they cannot be operated on public sidewalks, public roads, streets, or highways.

In addition to any other traffic violations observed, the following is a list of Maryland Transportation Article charges that one could face if observed operating an off-road vehicle in violation of the law:

. 13 402- Driving unregistered motor vehicle-$290/0 points

. 16 101a (Driving, Attempting to Drive) motor vehicle on a highway without required license and
                 authorization -Must Appear Citation-5points

. 16 101b Operating a (moped, motor scooter) on the highway without required license or permit-
                 Must Appear Citation-5points … A “motor assisted” and “motor driven” moped or scooter
                 can be operated on the highway if the operator has a valid license or a moped permit
                 obtained through the MVA

.  17 107- Driving Uninsured Vehicle- Must Appear Citation/5points

* Golf carts are permitted to be operated on a county highway only in the community of Golden Beach/Patuxent Knolls with the following conditions:

       (A)  A person who operates a golf cart on a county highway in the community of Golden Beach
              Patuxent Knolls, St. Mary’s County without registration as authorized under 13-402 (C)(13)
              of this article:
               (1)  May Operate the golf cart only:
                      (I)   On a county highway on which the maximum posted speed limit does not exceed
                             35 miles per hour;
                      (II)  Between dawn and dusk; and
                     (III)  If the golf cart is equipped with lighting devices as required by the administration
              (2)  Shall keep the golf cart as far to the right of the roadway as feasible; and
              (3)  Shall possess a valid driver’s license

An individual issued a Must Appear Citation will receive a court date in the mail and must see the
judge; there is no pre-set fine.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to add the following safety tips:

1.  Ride with a partner or friend.

2.  Let someone know where you are riding and when you are expected to return.

3.  Familiarize yourself with the motor vehicle you are operating.

4.  Operate the vehicle in a ATV park or areas designated for off-road vehicles and ATVs

*  An individual driving an off-road vehicle in violation of the Maryland Transportation Article may
    face the consequence of having the vehicle towed and stored by the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s

Anyone with additional questions is asked to contact Corporal Brian Connelly at (301) 475-4200 extension * 8031 or by email at Brian.Connelly@stmarysmd.com