The Chief explains lawful driving of ATVs in town.

There has been an increase of people traveling on Sleepy Eye streets in single seat ATVs and the newer side by side ATVs. There is an ordinance that allows driving on our streets, but the ordinance is not known well. I thought I would inform everyone about the ordinance and how to legally drive an ATV on the streets of Sleepy Eye.

The city used to have a zero tolerance for driving ATVs on the streets. The new ordinance was adopted in 2009 allowing ATVs. Snowmobiles and ATVs can’t be operated on the city streets from 12 p.m. to 7 a.m. They can’t be used for travel between two points in the city. They can only be operated from the place of storage along the nearest direct route out of the city limits. Someone living in the northeast part of town can’t drive it to a destination in the southwest. They must leave the city limits on a direct route that is the shortest distance from their start point. This ordinance was not put in place to allow people to drive from point to point. It was so people wouldn’t have to trailer their ATVs to get to out of town trails. People who are legally driving their ATVs and snowmobiles out of town need to follow all traffic rules along with added operation rules. Any ATV or snowmobile driven on city streets must have an illuminated front and rear lamp and the ATV/snowmobile cannot exceed 10 miles per hour. The ATV/snowmobile should stay to the side of the road and must come to a complete stop at every intersection. Any driver of an ATV or snowmobile in town must yield the right of way to any traffic when crossing at an intersection. No person under 12 years of age may operate an ATV on the streets of Sleepy Eye. Any person 12 years of age through 15 years of age may operate an ATV upon our streets if they possess a valid ATV safety certificate and are accompanied by another ATV rider that is 18 years of age or older. No person under 14 years of age may operate a snowmobile on Sleepy Eye streets unless they are accompanied by a guardian 18 years of age or older. Any driver of a snowmobile, ages 14 through 17, must have in their possession a valid snowmobile safety certificate or a valid driver’s license/state ID card with a snowmobile qualification indicator on it.

Please remember the rules for ATVs and snowmobiles. This ordinance was not put in place to allow these vehicle to be used like cars and trucks. Four-wheelers, side by sides and snowmobiles are not legal street vehicles and can’t be used as such.