Effective July 1st, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and utility-terrain vehicle (UTV) users will be able to ride in any of Iowa's 99 counties with just a few restrictions.

An ATV is a vehicle that can be ridden/straddled by a single rider, while a UTV boasts a cabin, designed for multiple riders.

The law change comes with a few restrictions:

  • ATVs and UTVs have a speed limit of 35 mph, regardless of county.
  • All ATVs and UTVs must have operational head, tail, and brake-lights, as well as an operational horn and rearview mirrors.
  • ATVs and UTVs must be operated by a person who is at least 18-years-old, who also must have possession of a valid driver's license and proof of insurance at the time of operating.

Sioux County Sheriff Captain Jamie Van Voorst stated that the law change was prompted after a 2020 survey was completed by ATV and UTV users. The survey asked them which Iowa laws they wanted to see amended in order to support these riding vehicles.

The two biggest takeaways from the survey pool of over 4,600 riders stated they wanted to be able to operate their vehicles on more county and state roadways and they wanted they wanted riding privileges in the state's 99 counties.

Despite the change, there are still several rules by which riders need to abide when cruising the roadways on an ATV or UTV. Some of those rules are as followed:

  • If driving on a state two-lane highway or county highway, it must be over the most direct and accessible route to or from an all-terrain vehicle park or trail, to the nearest county road, or an authorized city street or one’s residence.
  • Riders may cross a four-lane highway at an intersection from an authorized road so long as it is not an Interstate highway.
  • ATVs and UTVs are not permitted to drive on any gravel or paved roadway that is marked under construction, closed, or a detour for normal vehicle traffic.
Photo Credit: FS-Stock
Photo Credit: FS-Stock

Cities in Iowa are still free to regulate ATV and UTV traffic within their city limits, but cities are prohibited from charging a fee to riders who traverse their own streets.

The Iowa State OHV Advisory Committee is available to contact for additional information. You can reach them via email at: ia.stateohvadvisory@gmail.com

More information, as well as more of the regulations that coincide with these changes, can be found on the Sioux County Sheriff's website. Additional information is also available on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' website.

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