If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Joanne M. Haas/Bureau of Law Enforcement
Wisconsin all-terrain vehicle riders looking to take advantage of dry skies and a July Fourth holiday break should note Gov. Scott Walker recently signed into law two safety-related laws for both all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles.
Conservation Warden Gary Eddy, also the ATV-UTV administrator, says the new laws stress safety while also adjusting age and speed restrictions. “It remains vitally important that all operators remember these safety practices – stay sober, keep your speed down and wear a helmet,” Eddy says. “We don’t want you to become an addition to the statistics.”
In 2012, 90 percent of the fatalities involved victims not wearing helmets.
One of the laws signed by the governor last week provides more flexibility for younger people to ride ATVs. But, Eddy said, it also emphasizes safety and involvement by adults.
Eddy says the new law does the following:
• Permits youth under age 12 to operate on private property with permission, without a safety certificate if accompanied by a designated adult. Note: “Accompanied” means being subject to continuous verbal direction or control.
• Permits youth under age 12 to operate on public trails without a safety certificate if accompanied by a designated adult.
• Requires youth ages 12 through 15 to be accompanied by a designated adult while operating on ATV road routes.
• Eliminates the 10 mph speed limit on ATV road routes when within 100 feet of a person not operating a motorized vehicle and when within 150 feet of a dwelling.
• Permits people to operate ATVs and UTVs without required safety certification during a demonstration event on a closed course. The event must be sponsored by a licensed dealer, a club, municipality, county or the State of Wisconsin. If the person is under age 18, they must be accompanied by a designated adult. All operators must wear helmets at all times.
The second bill signed into law by the governor moves the authority for selecting members and making appointments to the Off-Road Advisory Council appointments from the DNR to the governor in terms of the member-selection process. A council of seven members would be appointed by the governor to serve three-year terms. Appointees must be Wisconsin residents and be members of an all-terrain vehicle or utility terrain vehicle user group.
The seven-member council provides advice and makes recommendations to DNR, Department of Transportation, governor and the Legislature on matters relating to ATV trails and routes, and must make recommendations to DNR concerning requests for state funding for certain ATV and UTV projects.
“The ATV-UTV sport is growing in the state, thanks to a system of trails maintained by citizen groups who are committed to ensuring its safety for all,” Eddy said. “One person operating carelessly can ruin the ride for others.”
“One of the best things you can do for yourself and other riders is to complete a DNR-certified ATV safety course. These courses establish a safety mindset and provide basic knowledge in the safe, legal and ethical operation of ATVs,” he said.
Safety education certification is required for all UTV and ATV operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988. DNR recreational safety specialists recommend all ATV and UTV operators complete a safety course.
Learn more about ATV/UTV safety and registration policies, and where to find safety classes, by searching the DNR website for keyword – “ATV.”