ATV ordinance tabled
A committee of people from the Washington County Board of Supervisors, members of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) enthusiast group, the Washington County Engineer’s Office, and Washington County Attorney Larry Brock will further look into an ordinance allowing ATVs to ride on gravel roads for recreational use.
The supervisors voted to table discussion on a proposed ordinance until the group returns with specific recommendations. While the members of the board said they would be willing to listen and consider such an ordinance, there were still some issues that would be “deal breakers.” The issues of requiring insurance and having the ATV user be over 16 years old and a licensed driver were mentioned. Engineer Jacob Thorius recommended the formation of the group during today’s regular county supervisors meeting.
“It’s going to involve my roads,” he said.
Since the group approached the council on Oct. 8 with the request for the ordinance, the board has received petitions and several of the members reported receiving calls from interested constituents.
Supervisor Jack Seward said that he had examined ordinances from the five counties in Iowa that had ATV ordinances. Brock said that while the supervisors had considered allowing ATVs on gravel roads for recreational purposes to be a resolution, he said that an ordinance would be enforceable.
Seward said the sample ordinance that had been submitted by county resident Ken Miller, spokesperson for the ATV enthusiasts, had included penalties for violations. He also said the sheriffs he spoke with from the counties with the ordinances had reported no problems as a result.
The supervisors discussed restricting ATV travel to roadways and not the ditches along roadways. There was also discussion about the hours that ATVs could be driven on the roadway and possibly requirements for headlights and taillights.
Brock said that ATV manufacturers include warnings in their operations manuals that say the vehicle is not designed to be used on roadways. He said that the supervisors should be aware that if such an ordinance is approved, it could open the county up to liability. He also asked the board members if they would support an ordinance, saying he wanted to know before the county took the time to draft it.