Laws urge: Share the road with ATVs

Motorists could be sharing the road more frequently in some areas with all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles (ATV/ UTV) under a change in state law granting local authority to allow use on roads within territorial boundaries.

The state Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources urge motorists and ATV/ UTV operators to stay cautious and be aware of these changes in the law:

2017 Wisconsin Act 87 enacted Nov. 30, 2017, allows a town, village, or city to authorize the operation of ATVs/UTVs on roads within their territorial boundaries that have posted speed limits of 35 mph or less regardless of which municipality has jurisdiction on that road.

2017 Wisconsin Act 193 enacted April 3, 2018, allows a town, village, city or county to place a sign on each road that crosses its boundary alerting motorists that all roads under the municipality’s jurisdiction have been designated as ATV routes.

“As the weather warms up, we’re asking everyone – drivers and riders alike – to eliminate distractions and stay safe,” said DOT Secretary Dave Ross. “Also, be mindful that motorists may see more ATVs on state and local roads than in the past, and fewer signs indicating ATV routes.”

DOT has published a website with resources for riders and for local officials who are interested in learning more about requirements to establish ATV routes within their jurisdiction. The website also contains a downloadable flier for anyone who’d like to encourage motorists and riders to share the road.

The DNR publishes additional resources to assist ATV and UTV riders with safety courses, vehicle registration and knowledge of the law.

“ATVs and UTVs are growing in popularity throughout Wisconsin and, in some areas, it can be a sure sign of spring and summer to have more four-wheelers out on roads and trails,” said DNR Off-Highway Vehicle Administrator Gary Eddy. “Keep safety in the forefront of your thinking – no matter what you drive.”

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