Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 14, 2018

ATVs could be allowed on Fairfield’s city streets

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Oct 26, 2017

The Fairfield City Council unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance Monday to allow all-terrain vehicles and utility vehicles on city streets.

The ordinance is modeled on the one passed by the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors allowing ATVs on county roads. The ordinance does not include golf carts, and it does permit ATVs to drive on streets with a posted speed limit above 35 miles per hour, though ATVs will be resticted to 35 mph on those streets.

Councilor Daryn Hamilton, a senior engineering technician at the Iowa Department of Transportation, said requiring ATVs to go under the speed limit might cause more problems than it solves.

“It’s best if traffic is all going the same speed,” he said.

Councilor Katy Anderson, chairwoman of the public safety and transportation committee that researched the ordinance, said City Attorney John Morrissey recommended limiting ATVs to 35 mphs to reduce the city’s liability should an accident occur.

Fairfield resident Julie Silvers spoke against the ordinance, arguing it would embolden ATV drivers who she said are speeding through Suburban Heights Subdivision on the west side of town.

“What does it do for family safety if we give these people free reign?” she asked.

Silvers was worried about Suburban Heights in particular because there are no sidewalks through that development.

Anderson said in an interview after the meeting that she didn’t think the ordinance would have any affect on people speeding.

“Those people are already breaking the law if they’re speeding,” she said, adding that law enforcement officers can cite ATV users for driving recklessly.

The ordinance requires ATVs to have a reflective slow-moving vehicle sign on the back, and for riders to use seatbelts if their vehicle has them. It limits ATV use to daytime, specifically one hour after sunrise and one hour before sunset.

Though not making it mandatory, the ordinance asks ATV drivers to use the shoulder of the road where possible and to wear a helmet.

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