Should Iowa Let ATVs Drive on Highways?
Whether it’s on the farm, going down country roads, or just for some fun, people are constantly finding new uses for their ATVs and UTVs.
A new bill going through legislation right now would give the vehicles another use.
A bill that would make it legal for all-terrain vehicles and off-road utility vehicles to travel on state and county highways. The bill seems to be on the fast track in the Iowa House; it passed through initial review on Tuesday.
It is also a priority of the House State Government Committee chairman Bobby Kaufmann who points out that ATVs are allowed on the roads in 22 other states and two-thirds of Iowa counties, which is allowed through local ordinances.
I want to make it clear that in every county that this has happened, the ensuing accidents and deaths and Armageddon’s that were predicted did not happen
Now when it comes to new state ordnances, there will be people voicing their opinions for and against it.
Dan Kleen of Iowa Off-Highway Vehicle Association says the decision should be up to county officials to determine what roads are safe for ATV traffic.
We think the numbers are low because it's only been county roads, secondary roads -- not on state highways. You put a 35 mile per hour machine, no matter how big the roll bar or seat belt is with a 65 mile an hour semi coming up behind you, it's not a good situation.
But looking at danger, Kaufmann says that people on bikes or tractors, which are currently allowed on state highways, face a greater danger when semis pop over hills behind them.
I'm going to be in a lot more trouble on my John Deere 3010 and its lack of mobility and its lack of roll cage and the fact that my bare head will slam itself on the concrete.
For some, allowing the ATVs road access can help people have better access to travel into town. Scott Minzenmeyer owns Recreational Motorsports in Anamosa, a business that services A-T-Vs.
We're not asking to ride 20 miles down a state highway. What we're asking is to ride the most direct route from a county road or a city to get to another county road or a town.
ATVs are growing in use but there are still challenges that riders face says Steve Tebbe of the Jackson County A-T-V Club of Eastern Iowa
Getting fuel, food and other necessities in the towns and cities in the state of Iowa due to the fact that...many restaurants, convenience stores and other shops are on municipalities' state highways.
For some cities such as Bellevue, the highway can be the main route through the city. Bellevue Mayor Roger Michels says opening roads like this up would make it so ATVs don’t have to drive out of their way to get into town.
Opening this up would help for a lot of revenue for our businesses in town and everything else.
The Iowa Motorcycle Dealers Association also spoke up against the bill. Mark Maxwell a representative of the group says it makes the most sense to make the decision a county-level decision.
These vehicles are not manufactured to be run on hard surface roads. They're not. They don't have highway tires on them. They don't have antilock brakes. They do not comply to the federal motor vehicle safety standards. That's the facts.
The bill is scheduled for debate in a House State Government Committee meeting next week and Kaufmann says he hopes this can be debated in the full House by the first week of February.