Richfield City adopted an update to its ATV ordinance designed to help simplify how ATV laws are enforced in city limits and to make the city more in-line with state laws regarding four-wheelers and other OHVs.

The new ordinance removes the requirement for ATVs to stay on certain designated streets. Instead, ATV laws will be enforced the same on any street in the city.

While the simplicity part of this plan will be beneficial, there is a potential pitfall that arises by becoming more in-line with the state law.

ATVs are not designed for city streets or highways. Even those that have modifications such as turn signals, headlights and horns are not mechanically designed for surface streets. 

While people need to be able to access trails on the outskirts of town, that should remain the only use for ATVs in city limits. ATVs should not be used like cars.

In the past minors without driver’s licenses have used ATVs to drive to school or to sports practices after school. This is unacceptable. People without driver’s licenses should not be allowed to drive on city streets, as they constitute a potential danger to themselves and other drivers.

In fact, state law still requires those without a driver’s license to only operate ATVs while under the direct supervision of an adult. 

Also, when a person younger than 16 drives an ATV or dirt bike around town, they are creating a liability nightmare. When an ATV driven by an unlicensed driver causes a traffic accident, someone will have to pay for the damage — the parents or guardians who allowed the unsupervised use of the ATV in town.

Some use ATVs to run to the store, or drive around town, which isn’t the best thing for safe operation or mechanical well-being of the machines. ATVs are designed for trail and off-road use, and components of them are worn faster than normal when used on oiled roads. 

ATVs by their nature are designed for trails and dirt roads, and people should be judicious in the use of them in town — even the ones with street legal modifications.

Knowing the laws, rules and regulations also helps people make good choices while riding ATVs. The sport of ATV riding is very popular and economically important to the region. By following rules and being safe, people can do their part to ensure that areas stay open for ATV use in the future.

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