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Wisconsin DNR Reminds ATV/UTV Drivers and Motorists to Share the Roads

Thursday, May 25th, 2023 -- 9:00 AM


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds all-terrain (ATV) and utility-terrain vehicles (UTV) operators and motorists to safely share trails and roads as we enter a busy summer season.

Sharing these popular routes is a shared responsibility between ATV/UTV drivers and other motorists. In 2022, there were 92 ATV/UTV crashes on public roads and routes in Wisconsin, with 11 resulting in a fatality.

Motorists have seen more ATVs and UTVs on the roads since a 2018 law began allowing local communities to designate local roads with posted speed limits of 35 mph or slower as permissible routes for these multi-terrain machines to use.

Everyone can work together to make 2023 a fun and safe year by following the tips below. Safety Tips For Motorists: When you approach ATV/UTVs on the road, slow down and be patient for a safe opportunity to pass.

As ATV/UTVs are much wider than bicycles or motorcycles, motorists will need to ensure they can achieve a wide berth that many times can extend into an oncoming traffic lane. Keep an eye out for ATV/UTV Route postings.

Remember, the law allows postings at territorial boundaries, so motorists might not see additional signage along individual roads. Watch for riders, stay off your phone and avoid other distractions.

Safety Tips For ATV/UTV Riders: If riding on a road, stick to authorized areas. Most highways and roads statewide remain off-limits. Check for posted signs or with local authorities to see if certain highways and roads are legally open.

Always follow the posted speed limits. When on a trail, make sure you stay to the right, respect others on the trail, and stop at ALL stop signs. Travel at an appropriate speed and stay aware of your surroundings.

Stay as visible as possible, as some drivers might not expect to be sharing the road with ATVs. Riders are required to operate headlight(s) when on or around roadways. Wearing a helmet is always the best idea for riders of ALL ages.

If you are in a UTV – wear your seatbelt. Most importantly, never consume alcohol or drugs before or during ATV and UTV operation. If you were born after Jan. 1, 1988, make sure you have taken an ATV safety course.

It’s your license to operate on routes or trails. Know before you go. Review all ATV/UTV laws on this DNR webpage.

Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.