Friday, June 24, 2011

Sun Valley bans ATVs from city streets

Mayor cites safety and noise concerns

Express Staff Writer

Under a new Sun Valley ordinance, all-terrain-vehicle riders will have to transport their ATVs to trailheads, rather than ride them on city streets. Photo by Mountain Express

Users of all-terrain-vehicles are no longer allowed to ride through Sun Valley following the City Council's vote this week to ban them from city streets.

The council on Tuesday waived the third reading of a proposed ordinance governing use of restricted-plate vehicles in the city and voted unanimously to pass it.

The ordinance prohibits most restricted-plate vehicles—including ATVs, utility-type vehicles, off-highway vehicles and certain motorbikes—on streets within the city limits. The fine for violating the ordinance is $85.

"(The city) doesn't want people with ATVs, whether residents or out-of-towners, to take ATVs and drive them as if they were licensed motor vehicles," Mayor Wayne Willich said in an interview.

Drivers of restricted-plate vehicles will have to find other ways to get their vehicles to their destination, such as loading them onto trailers to transport them through town.

Restricted-plate vehicles already are prohibited from state highways, according to Idaho statute. They are allowed on city streets that have a 35-mph speed limit, unless a city passes an ordinance prohibiting them.

"We're taking state law and we're extending it to city streets," Willich said.

The reason for the ban, Willich said, is "safety, with capital letters," as well as for other reasons, including noise concerns.

Separate sets of rules govern where motorized vehicles can legally be ridden on public lands. While many trails are open to ATVs, some—particularly those in established wilderness areas—are not.

Rebecca Meany:

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