Iowa’s new ATV/UTV laws come with restrictions

(ABC 6 News) – On July 1, new laws took effect in Iowa regarding residents who own and operate ATV’s (all-terrain vehicles) and UTV’s (utility task vehicles).

Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law on June 13, giving riders more flexibility when operating the vehicles on county and state roads, however the laws do come with certain restrictions.

  • ATV’s and UTV’s have a speed limit of 35 mph on all county highways for recreational and agricultural purposes.
  • All ATV’s and UTV’s must have operational headlights, taillights, brake lights, horn and rearview mirrors.
  • Must be operated by a person 18+ years of age with a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance.

Despite the law changes, they are still “subject to city ordinance,” meaning each city in the Iowa can establish their own laws and guidelines. For example, the Decorah Police Department made clear that ATV’s and UTV’s are NOT allowed in city limits.

It’s recommended to contact your local city for what laws and ordinances that pertain to operation of the vehicles.

Also, drivers will have restrictions on which roads they can drive on:

  • 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.
  • ATVs and UTVs may be restricted from county roadways during special events, like RAGBRAI, for a maximum of seven days consecutively or 30 days in a year.
  • ATVs and UTVs may only be operated on state highways and may not travel on four-lane or interstate roads. They may be driven on any county unpaved gravel road.
  • Riders will be allowed to ride day or night.