September 27, 2022

City provides guidance on UTV usage on city streets

On July 21, the city of Osceola released a public notice regarding UTV usage on city streets.

The notice stated effective immediately, registered UTVs were authorized to operate on all city of Osceola roadways subject to the following restrictions:

• UTVs must comply with all municipal and state vehicular parking/traffic codes and posted speed limits; but, in no event shall a UTV’s speed exceed 35 mph.

• UTVs must have operational headlights, tail and brake lights, horn and rearview mirrors.

• UTVs must be operated by a person who is at least 18 years old with a valid driver’s license and carry valid proof of insurance.

• All UTVs must be registered through the Clarke County Recorder in order to operate on city streets.

• UTVs must comply with all other applicable State of Iowa regulations regarding UTV operation on public roadways.

• UTVs are not authorized for operation on any city owned trail, green space, timber, or any other city owned property not designated for vehicle travel or use.

The notice closed by saying that ATVs are not authorized to operate on any city roadway.

Per chapter 75, section 5 of the ordinances for the City of Osceola, ATVs “may be operated on streets only in accordance with Section 321.234A of the Code of Iowa or on such streets as may be designated by resolution of the Council for the sport of driving ATVs.” At this time, the city has not authorized ATV usage on roads in the same scope as it has UTVs.

ATV v UTV

Osceola code defines an ATV as “a motorized vehicle, with not less than three and not more than six non-highway tires, that is limited in engine displacement to less than one thousand (1,000) cubic centimeters and in total dry weight to less than one thousand two hundred (1,200) pounds and that has a seat or saddle designed to be straddled by the operator and handlebars for steering control.” (75.02)

A UTV is defined: " ‘Off-road utility vehicle’ [which] means a motorized vehicle, with not less than four and not more than eight non-highway tires or rubberized tracks, that has a seat that is of bucket or bench design, not intended to be straddled by the operator, and a steering wheel or control levers for control.” (75.03) UTVs include one of three types: type 1 includes UTVs with a total dry weight of 1,200 pounds or less and a width of 50 inches or less, type 2 is vehicles other than type 1 with a total dry weight of 2,000 pounds or less and a width of 65 inches or less, and type 3 includes vehicles with a total dry weight of more than 2,000 pounds or a width of more than 65 inches, or both.

During a discussion about UTVs at the city council meeting on July 19, city administrator Ty Wheeler reminded that should the UTVs on city streets be abused or used inappropriately, the city council can vote to take away the use of them.

“We don’t have to keep it if it becomes a problem,” said Wheeler. “We hope the users will be compliant.”

Governor Reynolds signed the House File 2130 into law on June 13, and it went into effect on July 2. The bill established rules for ATV and UTV use at the state level.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.