AP NEWS

Woodbury County will allow ATV’s on rural roads

March 20, 2019

SIOUX CITY -- People will be able to drive all-terrain and off-road utility vehicles on Woodbury County gravel and blacktop roads, after unanimous approval Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors.

The supervisors in late 2018 had discussed the issue and heard public sentiment on allowing the vehicles on selected roads, then tabled the matter in November.

Supervisor Rocky De Witt, of rural Lawton, Iowa, raised the issue in the first place, and brought it back Tuesday, saying it was time to approve such vehicles being able to drive on roads.

De Witt said the measure has “simple” rules, such as that drivers be 18 and pay a fee for a county permit. He said 16 and 17 was too young to be an accomplished driver of such vehicles.

Five people s poke on October 30 in unanimous support of a proposal to allow people to drive ATV’s and UTV’s, then one person spoke against it in November.

On Tuesday, two rural residents weighed in on the measure concerning ATV’s and UTV’s. Greg Trucke, of Bronson, said, “all of us out there own these and are out on the roads” handling farm tasks.

Trucke added, “We’re not out spinning donuts.”

Back in November, De Witt said the hangup was the mechanism for addressing the driving topic. The Woodbury County Attorney’s Office said a better way to formalize any new ATV’s driving rules would be through an ordinance process, as a means for more precision and better enforcement.

The supervisors typically spread out the three required readings and votes necessary to pass an ordinance, but they went with De Witt’s recommendation to do them all in one meeting Tuesday. Board Chairman Keith Radig said moving more quickly made sense, given the previous discussion of the issue in 2018.

The final vote was 5-0 to approve the ordinance, which goes into effect April 15.

Iowa code doesn’t allow all-terrain and off-road utility vehicles on primary highways or federal interstates. Individual counties can set their own rules for ATV’s on county roads.

Many Woodbury County towns have recently approved ATV use on streets.

Woodbury County Engineer Mark Nahra, who oversees the county roads system, has spoken against the measure, saying ATV’s tear up gravel roads and could cause injuries to people.

In October, Don Groves, of Bronson, Iowa, presented a petition with 279 signatures of people who want the county to allow the all-terrain vehicles.

Back in November, John Smith, of rural Sioux City, said having all-terrain vehicles will be dangerous on some county roads, including the hilly portion of Buchanan Avenue where he has lived for 25 years.

“It is just an accident waiting to happen,” Smith said.