All-terrain vehicles (ATV) and similar four-wheel utility vehicles can now be driven legally on gravel roads in Des Moines County. The County Board cast the final vote, this week, in support of the new rule.
Chairman Jim Cary said the county started exploring the possibility of legalizing ATV’s/UTV’s on county roads back in March, after receiving a petition with more than 1,000 signatures in support of the new law. He said the goal of the resulting ordinance is safety.
“If they follow our rules and regulations, it should be a safe ordinance,” said Cary. “If they don’t follow them, it will be just how it was before we had an ordinance. They are going to be out there tearing things up.”
“The bad boys are already out there. This is for people who want to go out there and enjoy their ATV’s.”
Cary said the only time ATV’s/UTV’s will be allowed on paved roads is if a driver is trying to reach another gravel road.
Other rules included in the ordinance:
- Use is prohibited overnight from 10:00 P.M. – 4:00 A.M.
- Drivers must be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license
- 3-wheelers are prohibited
- ATV’s/UTV’s cannot be driven in a ditch
- Maximum Speed is 35 MPH
- Passengers are not allowed on ATV’s
Cary said people who want to drive an ATV/UTV on a county road will have to purchase a permit each year, at a cost of $25. He said that money will help cover administrative costs and a slight increase in the cost of the county’s umbrella insurance policy.
Violators of the ordinance face a fine of up to $625 and/or up to 30 days in jail.