Frequently Asked Questions - ATV/ROV's

What are ATV's and ROV's? An ATV - sometimes called "three-wheeler" or "four-wheeler" - is a motor vehicle, equipped with a saddle seat, designed to propel itself with three or four wheels on the ground and manufactured for off-highway use. An ROV - sometimes referred to as a "mule" - is the same as an ATV except that it is equipped with a non-saddle (bench or bucket) seats.

Aren't ROV's the same as a golf cart?
No. There are separate laws that regulate the operation of golf carts on beaches and roadways.

Can I drive my ATV or ROV on the beach?
Yes. ATV's and ROV's may be operated on any public beach on Bolivar Peninsula except for any area closed to vehicular traffic or on any sand dune.

There are some laws that say I can operate an ATV on a road. Why can't I drive to the beach?
ATV's and ROV's may be driven on a roadway only by police officers or during certain agricultural and utility service activities

I have a house close to the beach. Am I allowed to ride my ATV or ROV to the beach?
NO. State law prohibits driving any ATV or ROV on any public roadway, which includes all roadways anywhere on Bolivar Peninsula. Also, it's illegal to cross a sand dune to access the beach.

If I can't drive my ATV or ROV to the beach, how do I get it there?
The only way is to bring the ATV or ROV to the beach using a road-legal motor vehicle (in the bed of a pickup truck, as an example) or using a road-legal trailer. "Road-legal" means that the vehicle and/or trailer is in full compliance with statutes regulating operation of a motor vehicle on a public roadway (license, insurance, lighting, etc.).

Do I have to have a driver's license to operate an ATV or ROV on the beach?
A valid State issued driver's license IS required to operate an ATV or ROV on the beach.

How many passengers can ride on/in an ATV or ROV?
Each passenger shall occupy a seat.  The number of passengers shall not exceed the number of passengers recommended by the manufacturer of the ATV or ROV.  Passengers shall not ride on a step, rail, tank or luggage rack of the ATV or ROV.

How fast can I drive my ATV or ROV on the beach?
The speed limit for all vehicles on Bolivar Peninsula beaches is 15 MPH.

May I ride my ATV or ROV on private property?
Yes, providing it is your property or you've been given permission from the property owner.

Are there other laws that apply to operation of an ATV or ROV on the beach?
Laws such driving while intoxicated or reckless driving, among others, apply to ATV's and ROV's. The specific application of law varies on the facts of each situation. ATV and ROV operators following safe and courteous driving habits - much like those that should be followed driving any vehicle on a public roadway - should be able to enjoy a ride along the beach without endangering themselves or others.

What if I have questions about laws dealing with driving my ATV or ROV?
Ask any Galveston County Sheriff's deputy, and they can help you through the maze of laws dealing with an ATV or ROV. Also, you may choose to attend an all-terrain vehicle safety education course where you can learn more about safely driving your ATV or ROV.