Drivers as young as 12 will soon be able to drive all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility vehicles (UTVs) on town of Washington roads.
On Feb. 27, members of the Washington Island Town Board voted unanimously to approve this change. The Door County Board of Supervisors gave their permission earlier when they approved Ordinance 2012-26 in December 2012 at the request of the town of Union.
For some time Wisconsin statutes have allowed residents as young as 12 years of age to drive ATVs and UTVs on public roads as long as the county had relevant ordinances in place.
The language in the town of Washington ordinance is virtually identical to the language in the ordinance passed by the town of Union, which earlier researched the requirements of various state government agencies and got approval from the Door County sheriff.
Washington Island’s representative to the county Board of Supervisors, Joel Gunnlaugsson, stated in December that ATVs and UTVs probably get more use on the Island than they do in other parts of the county. He predicted at that time that the Island’s Town Board would want to authorize ATV and UTV use.
Certain signage is mandated by the Department of Natural Resources, and the new town ordinance cannot take effect until all the proper signage is in place.
The town of Washington is currently exploring ways to post the correct signage at the lowest possible cost. Signage must be supplied by the town of Washington, and it can be posted on existing signposts.
Board member Kirby Foss stated that ATVs and UTVs are “already on the roads every day, and this allows us to regulate these vehicles.”
Gunnlaugsson stated that ATV drivers want to be on the road only long enough to get from trail to trail or to maneuver around obstacles that might be along the side of the road because “it wrecks the tires so fast you’d have to replace them every season.”
The town of Washington will announce when signage is in place and ATV and UTV drivers can legally take to the roads. Until then, town police officers will be issuing citations for on-the-road driving.
Rules for on-road ATV and UTV use.
Drivers of ATVs and UTVs must:
By Mary Marik
Click here for Washington Island Observer subscription info.