“Street Legal” ATVs on City Streets?

Elkins Council Committee Seeks Public Input on Possible Rule Change

Elkins, W. Va., October 12, 2020: Lawmakers amended state code this year to allow ATVs and UTVs meeting certain safety requirements to be operated on public roadways, and an Elkins Common Council committee is considering similar changes here. Council’s Rules & Ordinances Committee, which will decide at its November 12 meeting whether to recommend council approval of an ordinance making such changes, is seeking public input on this matter before that meeting.

Since 2001, Elkins city code has prohibited operation of ATVs and UTVs inside city limits, except on private property. At the time of its passage, this local law mirrored state code provisions that then prohibited operation of ATVs and UTVs on paved, public roads.

During the 2020 legislative session, however, state lawmakers created a new West Virginia Code section, §17A-13-1, which allows certain ATVs and UTVs—if licensed, registered, insured, and outfitted with specific equipment and safety features—to be designated “street legal” and to be operated on most public roadways. Required equipment includes head, tail, and brake lights; reflectors; turn signals; mirrors; and a muffler.

Cities and counties are not required to mirror these changes and may continue to prohibit ATV and UTV usage on streets inside their jurisdictions. Local jurisdictions also have the option to adopt only some of the state’s changes. For example, although the new state code section imposes no restriction on the time of day these vehicles may be operated, local jurisdictions may do so.

At its November 12 meeting, the committee will discuss a draft ordinance that would amend local laws to allow ATVs and UTVs that are compliant with W. Va. Code §17A-13-1 to be operated on highways, roads, streets, and alleys inside Elkins, with some limitations. The local ordinance would also establish an annual fee of $50 for a permit to operate ATVs and UTVs on public streets in Elkins. This ordinance would not permit operation of these vehicles anywhere currently closed to motor vehicles; it would also not impose any new limitations on any previously allowed uses of ATVs or UTVs.

The draft ordinance may be viewed by clicking here.

Please submit comments no later than November 11 to the committee members:

Linda Vest (Chair)
304.636.1220 (H)
lvest@cityofelkinswv.com

Robert Chenoweth
304.614.2676 (C)
rchenoweth@cityofelkinswv.com

Michael Hinchman
304.636.7139 (H)
mhinchman@cityofelkinswv.com

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