Officials in northwest Iowa’s Clay County have approved an ordinance that will let ATVs and other off-road vehicles use the county’s highways during daylight hours. Clay County Supervisor Del Brockshus  says those kind of vehicles will still be barred from city streets in the county.

“It’s only those roads that are owned and operated by the county that this ordinance applies to,” Brockshus says.

Vehicles designed for off-road use are not allowed on state and federal highways either.

“It still gives some 450 miles of road to ride on,” Brockshus says.

State law lets farmers drive utility vehicles like “Gators” and ATVs on county roads, but this new ordinance in Clay County will make it legal for any adult with a valid driver’s license to drive that kind of a vehicle on a county-maintained road, starting September 24.

Several small Iowa towns have moved to pass local ordinances which allow golf carts and other vehicles designed for off-road use on city streets during daylight hours. There was a bid in the legislature to pass a state law that would have let ATVs operate on hard-surface and gravel roads all over the state — but not on primary highways. Critics raised safety concerns and the bill died in the state senate.

(Reporting by Ryan Long, KICD, Spencer)