Road Use Regulation Roundup – April 2014

Some trends in this latest regulation roundup:

  • There appears to be less ordinances being passed than in the past.
  • Iowa experienced the most activity in this latest review.
  • The trend towards more inclusive ordinances is continuing as allowing golf cars, UTVs and ATVs are the focus of many of the ordinances.
  • There appears to be more regulatory activity with regards to UTVs and ATVs than low speed vehicles.
  • While people are still expressing safety concerns about these vehicles being used in mixed traffic situations, they seem to be in the minority and most municipal boards are passing ordinances.

Britt, IA – The city council passed a low speed vehicle ordinance after considerable discussion on whether or not to include golf cars and utility vehicles. The ordinance allows any low-speed or utility type vehicle to be operated on any city street as long as the operator has a driver’s license and obey traffic laws and police. The vehicle must also have approved working lights and other safety features and be registered with the Britt Police Department. The ordinance also covers motorized carts, motorized scooters and electric scooters, although they have a few more restrictions.

Buchanan County, IA – According to the new ordinance, registered ATVs or Off-road Utility vehicles may be operated on gravel roadways in Buchanan County. The main section of the ordinance states, “In the event that a person residing on a county blacktop wishes to operate an ATV or Off-Road Utility Vehicles on the gravel roadways, said person may operate on the shoulder of the county blacktop for a reasonable distance to reach the permissible county gravel roadway. Such operation may begin one hour after sunrise and must cease one hour before sunset. …”

Washington County, IA – Washington County Board of supervisors approved an ordinance to allow all-terrain and off-road utility vehicles on county graveled roadways and Level B roadways. The ordinance does not affect the current use of such vehicles for farming purposes. Only those 16 years and older and holding an Iowa driver’s license will be allowed to operate the vehicles and the vehicles must also be registered by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and by Washington County and will not be allowed to carry more passengers than they were designed for. Such vehicles can only travel on the shoulder of a paved county highway until they reach the next gravel road and can only be used between sunrise to sunset. Those opposing the ordinance cited the Specialty Vehicle Institute of American (SVIA), a not-for-profit association representing ATV manufacturers and dealers, which has a strong policy statement against the use of ATVs on public roads. The SVIA states that ATVs are not designed for use on paved surface because of the negative affect on handling and control.

Bronson, KS – Bronson City Council approved an ordinance allowing special purpose vehicles to operate within the city. The special purpose vehicles include all-terrain vehicles, work-site utility vehicles, micro-utility trucks and golf carts. The board also approved picking up general purpose liability insurance in conjunction with the special purpose vehicle ordinance.

Leesburg, FL – City commissioners voted unanimously to allow golf carts, utility vehicles and low-speed vehicles on city-owned and maintained streets in the downtown area. Commissioners are concerned about safety though, so they are requiring that drivers be at least 18 years old in order to have more driving experience.

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