The beginning of spring could bring more ATV riders to roadways in Kewaunee County. It has been almost a year since Kewaunee County passed its ATV/UTV ordinance. It has been adopted by 10 townships and the Village of Casco since then with only the Village of Luxemburg, the cities of Algoma and Kewaunee, and the Town of Franklin not allowing ATVs and UTVs on their roadways. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says they have had zero issues with riders violating the ordinance. That could be attributed to the type of riders taking advantage of the ordinance.
In the municipalities that have approved the ordinance, ATV riders using the roads have to be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license and stay away from areas with a posted speed limit above 35 miles per hour. You can learn more about the subject from Sheriff Joski below:
With the warmer weather upon us and the start of the recreational season soon to begin, I thought it may be a good idea to provide an update regarding local ATV/UTV ordinances. I have written on this topic numerous times, but due to the fact that this is a local authority issue which rests with the various Towns, Cities and Villages, I wanted to make sure everyone is updated on where you can and cannot operate these units here in Kewaunee County.
First let’s go over what roads are involved when a community passes such an ordinance. If a Town, City or Village authorizes the use of ATVs on their roads, then all of their respective town, city or village roads are able to be traveled with these units. In addition, if a county or state road runs through that community and those sections of county or state roads are posted 35mph or less they too are authorized for use by ATVs. Once those county or state roads leave that jurisdiction, or the posted speed limits of those county or state roads elevate above 35 mph, those roads are no longer authorized. It is also important to note that for any section of road to be authorized those roads must first be posted by that local authority with signage indicating such authorization.
Thus far, the communities that have authorized use of ATV/UTV units on their local roads are as follows: The Towns of Ahnapee, Casco, Carlton, Lincoln, Montpelier, Pierce, Red River, Luxemburg, and West Kewaunee. In addition, the Village of Casco has also authorized the use of ATV/UTV units on their Village streets. Please note that as of this time, the Cities of Kewaunee and Algoma, along with the Village of Luxemburg and the Town of Franklin have not authorized the use of these unit on their respective streets and/or roads. Please respect these decisions and refrain from using their roads with these units, until such time that they authorize their use.
Some of the most frequent questions I get are from residents who live on a state or county road and want to travel on those roads to get to a town road. This is not authorized unless those sections of roads are posted less than 35mph.
Another question I receive is related to the age of operation. By state law you can operate an ATV at the age of 12 on private property and local trails, however in creating safety parameters within the local ordinances, the minimum age for operation on an authorized public roadway was set at 16 years of age with a valid driver’s license. Aside from the obvious concerns surrounding the operation of an ATV on a roadway shared with motor vehicles, the other concern was that of those who do not qualify for a license using these ordinances as a way to circumvent the law.
Just as it is the case with equipment on motor vehicles, there are also requirements related to the equipment of ATVs operating on the roads. The main one of course is the requirement to wear a helmet, but also the requirement of an unmodified, functioning exhaust as we did not want to create an environment where modified units are able to disrupt the tranquility of our communities.
I want to thank those communities who have embarked on this endeavor of allowing these units on their roads. While I will be the first to acknowledge that such co-mingling of recreational vehicles with standard motor vehicles is not my ideal public safety traffic environment, we can be proud that we created consistent and common sense criteria surrounding such use throughout Kewaunee County. If you would like to view our county ordinance, please go to our website at: www.kewauneeco.org