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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Planned a gravel route on my Garmin and headed out. Several of the roads were marked "Private road."

Thoughts on this? Go ahead or turn around?

I'm in Massachusetts.

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And how much the landowner values and protects their privacy. I've both turned around and barreled through. Only been escorted off private property at gunpoint once. NorCal pot growers, I suspect, back in the day when the consequences of being discovered were quite high. The guy holding the gun was pissed and twitchy. Not a good combo.
 

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"Private road." Barrel on through or turn back?

I've seen "private road" signs placed by homeowners on county roads.

It's a common tactic from assholes who don't want outsiders on "their" road.

There are a couple of billionaire brothers buying up land in MT and ID around public land. Putting up signs on roads that have long standing easements to the public land, trying to deny people entry. Armed guards, etc. Super shitty.

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Private road usually means it's not owned or maintained by the city/town/county/state/feds. It doesn't mean you can't use it unless it says something like "Residents only", "no trespassing", "no thoroughfare" or otherwise excludes the general public. I lived on a couple of private roads and regularly ride on a few.
 

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Locally, the popular thing is for the rich people in the hills to have a road declared 'private' to keep outsiders off. Then they fail to maintain it for 2-3 decades, then petition to have the road declared a public thoroughfare when they need to be resurfaced. **** em.

Also residents will post their own shitty signs on public roads. **** em.

I respect real private roads as much as i can, and try to be nice and respectful when i've accidentally created a route that incorporates one and it's unavoidable if i want to get home.
 

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look on openstreetmap
 

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Do the private roads actually go anywhere? In my experience they’re just dead ends. That said, I’m not averse to riding on them if there’s not a “no trespassing” sign. Up here there are a lot of roads with signs erected by the town that have the road name followed by “pvt”. I figure the taxpayers paid for the sign, so it’s ok for me to ride there - but I rarely do because they don’t go through.
 

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Private roads and closed roads are two different things.
If it’s just marked private, and I can see it comes out somewhere else I’m trying to get, I’m proceeding, and treading lightly, of course.
 

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Cycologist
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Private road usually means it's not owned or maintained by the city/town/county/state/feds. It doesn't mean you can't use it unless it says something like "Residents only", "no trespassing", "no thoroughfare" or otherwise excludes the general public. I lived on a couple of private roads and regularly ride on a few.
That's how it is around me as well. My parents used to live on a private road. It was a dead end though.

Now if it says "Private Drive" I would take it to be someone's driveway and not ride it.
 

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I never thought much of it, so I did some research on the internets. Seems to be some contradictory explanations of it...
 

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Private roads and closed roads are two different things.
If it's just marked private, and I can see it comes out somewhere else I'm trying to get, I'm proceeding, and treading lightly, of course.
It's marked "private" because it is not open to the "public". That it some where you want to get is not relevant. Most homeowners do not welcome strangers to come traveling through their back yard the principle is the same regardless of the size of the property. Respect the property rights of others as you would want your own respected.
 

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look on openstreetmap
Openstreetmap is great advice! I have found that there are significant problems with Apple & Google Maps showing "roads" that are gravel/dirt farm lanes on private property. I have seen both Google & Apple mapping remove some of those errors, likely due to complaints from land owners. As an example, three years ago either Google or Apple Maps application on my phone showed Camp Caroldale Road (Boy Scout Rd. in Google) connecting to Pine Hall Road to the south east. Willing to grind gravel to trim time and distance to get home I took the "road". Passed land owner cutting timber who a short time later caught up to me in his pick-up truck asking where I was going. I told him and he informed me I that I was on private property and need to go back. I explained the reason for the error and apologized and turned around. Open Streets correctly reflects the public vs. private road. BTW Google Maps no longer shows the "road" going all the way through but still extends it further than I believe the private property line allows.

Example Data Links:
1. Google Map - https://www.google.com/maps/@36.2713562,-80.1144159,15z
2. Google Satellite - https://www.google.com/maps/@36.2697817,-80.1071764,3212m/data=!3m1!1e3
3. Open Streets.- https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/180132#map=15/36.2722/-80.1089
 

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It's marked "private" because it is not open to the "public". That it some where you want to get is not relevant. Most homeowners do not welcome strangers to come traveling through their back yard the principle is the same regardless of the size of the property. Respect the property rights of others as you would want your own respected.
Different states have different rules about what you can and cannot do with actual recognized and named roads that go across private land, especially in regards to keeping them open or closed.
You do you. I'll be over here respectfully doing me.
 

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Depends where you are and what kind of hijinks the local wildlife gets up to. In Oklahoma, if I see "private road" or "no trespassing" signs on a road or land I know for a fact to be public, I'll still turn around. I don't think Bubba Bum**** is going to be too interested in the finer points of the law when you accidentally roll up on his meth lab.
 

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It's a dice roll. You'll get anything from completely ignored to a wave to LE called to a gun in your face. Guess it's how lucky do you feel on any given road that's posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Did some Googling on this matter. Seems like a legal mess. Private roads here largely refer to roads unmaintained by the municipality. And law enforcement won't typically enforce anything including trespassing, speeding, or parking.

I basically see two types 1) connecting thoroughfares with many houses on either side and 2) private driveways that do NOT connect roads. The latter would indeed be trespassing.

Some of the legal sites mentioned that people will privately put "no trespassing" signs up but it's not enforceable unless a property owner does in fact own the road's land by title. This would be true for a big long driveway but not typically a subdivision or connecting lane. Usually no one wants to pay the assessment for having road deeded into their title.

Such a quagmire and I can see why it's better to be safe than sorry. You never know how someone will react - whether they're in the right or wrong.

Follow up question to the original poll: on non-owned connecting lanes labelled private with "no trespassing" signs, does the trespassing sign refer to stepping off the non-owned road?

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Follow up question to the original poll: on non-owned connecting lanes labelled private with "no trespassing" signs, does the trespassing sign refer to stepping off the non-owned road?
Are you actually looking at the plat-maps to determine whether a "connecting lane" is or is not passing through somebody's property?
 

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Planned a gravel route on my Garmin and headed out. Several of the roads were marked "Private road."

Thoughts on this? Go ahead or turn around?

I'm in Massachusetts.

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Strong Gun laws in Mass are on your side - in other parts of the country - you could be considered an intruder ...

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Private road usually means it's not owned or maintained by the city/town/county/state/feds. It doesn't mean you can't use it unless it says something like "Residents only", "no trespassing", "no thoroughfare" or otherwise excludes the general public. I lived on a couple of private roads and regularly ride on a few.
Friends of mine lived in a small neighborhood which named their private road "Private Drive" which was actually very confusing.
 
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