ATVs/UTVs allowed on roadways, with restrictions
Changes to all terrain vehicle (ATV) and utility terrain vehicle (UTV) laws in Iowa went into effect July 1. Jon Spunaugle, Montgomery County Sheriff, explained the law allows ATV and UTV riders to ride in any of Iowa’s 99 counties, with few restrictions. However, there are still rules and regulations in place, he said.
• ATVs and UTVs have a speed limit of 35 miles per hour.
• All ATVs and UTVs are to have operational headlights and taillights, brake lights, a horn and rear view mirror.
• They are to be operated by a person who is at least 18 years old with a valid drivers license and carrying proof of insurance on the ATV/UTV.
• If driving on a state two-lane highway or county highway, the route taken must be the most direct and accessible to or from an all-terrain vehicle park or trail, to the nearest county road or an authorized city street or one’s residence.
• ATVs and UTVs may only be operated on state highways and are not to travel on four lane or interstate roads. They may be driven on any county unpaved gravel road.
• Riders will be allowed to ride all hours of the day and night.
• ATVs and UTVs are not permitted to drive on any gravel or paved roadways that are marked under construction, closed, or a detour for normal vehicle traffic.
• ATVs and UTVs may be restricted from county roadways during special events, such as RAGBRAI, for a maximum of seven consecutive days or 30 days in a year.
• All Iowa cities may regulate ATV and UTV traffic within their city limits, including primary and secondary road extensions, but cities may not charge a fee to ATV and UTV owners for use of their streets; these new laws also override any county ordinances currently in place.
In June, members of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution, requested by Spunaugle, setting inspection fees for off-highway vehicles, or OHVs, including all-terrain vehicles, off-road motorcycles, and off-road utility vehicles, as well as water vessels, travel trailers, and cargo trailers.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office proposed an additional fee for the inspection of those vehicles, in the amount of $20 for the time and expense involved in inspecting and confirming if the vehicle was previously registered, or entered as stolen.
“There are utility vehicles all over that have no titles, and the owners have to get a form, and bring it back, and it has to be reviewed by a deputy. We’ve never charged for this before, but in the wake of the changes, I kind of feel this is something we need to do, and it’s already our time and expense to do it right now.”
Spunaugle added it would be a one-time fee. Also, the fee involves an inspection for a vehicle that has never been titled or registered in the State of Iowa.
“In order to be eligible for road use, the vehicles have to be registered, and there are many of these types of vehicles that are for farm use that currently have never been registered,” commented Spunaugle.
Spunaugle stated that the fee was largely in place for utility vehicles that had seen multiple owners prior to being inspected.
“It’s like when a four-wheeler is bought by someone who sells it to someone else, and the next thing you know, it’s 15 people down the line and no one has registered the thing. With this new law coming into effect, if they want to get it registered to drive it on the road, it has to be inspected. For anyone who buys a brand-new one, or has a valid title, there’s no need for an inspection.”
Spunaugle said if a vehicle has not been registered or titled in the state of Iowa, an affidavit for unregistered or untitled all-terrain vehicles, off road motorcycles, off road utility vehicles, snowmobiles or vessels must be completed and the vehicle’s VIN # inspection completed by law enforcement. The form #542-8074 can be printed from the Iowa DNR website or picked up at the sheriff’s office.
“In the last couple of weeks since the law went into effect we have seen an increase in the traffic of ATV/UTV,” Spunaugle said. “If everyone abides by the regulations I think this will be a good thing, safety is an ultimate must. Not only will the riders need to operate the machines in a safe manner but the normal motoring public will have to be on high alert just like for any motorcycles on the roadways.”