The Atlanta City Council passed legislation that increases the minimum fines and penalties for operating an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on a public road or highway within the city.

The amended ordinance, introduced by Councilmember Joyce Sheperd, received unanimous support during the July 5 meeting.

“The operation of an ATV is currently prohibited on city-owned property, parks and residential city streets, but we are still witnessing an alarming amount of violations,” Sheperd said. “Not only are ATV drivers risking their own lives by driving recklessly and performing dangerous stunts, they are also risking the lives of other drivers and even pedestrians.”

Violators of the city’s all-terrain vehicle ordinance could be subject to the following fines or penalties:

$750 fine for the first violation (up from $250)
$1,000 fine for a second violation (up from $500)
30 days to 6 months in jail for a third violation
60 days to 6 months in jail for all subsequent violations

The amended ordinance gives Atlanta Municipal Court judges some level of discretion in sentencing.

In the 2015-2016 legislative session, the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 579, which gives municipalities the ability to prohibit or limit the operation of ATVs or personal transportation vehicles on public roads and highways within their jurisdictions if it is determined that such operation endangers the safety of the traveling public.

The increase in Atlanta’s penalty for operating such vehicles in the city right-of-way comes after a recent proliferation of ATVs on Atlanta public streets.

Section 150-1 of Article III of Chapter 150 of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances defines ATVs as “any motorized vehicle designed for off-road use which is equipped with four low-pressure tires, a seat designed to be straddled by the operator, and handlebars for steering”. The use of go-karts and golf carts are not impacted by the legislation.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.