Nebraska Town makes ATVs Legal on Streets

ATV riders in Chadron, Neb., will be able to ride on city streets during daylight hours starting June 12.

To be street legal, a vehicle must have brakes lights and a flag not go over 30 miles per hour, and the operator have a Class O license.

The Chadron city council's unanimous decision Monday to legalize ATVs follows several weeks of discussion between city officials and ATV riders, particularly a contingent of commercial snow removal operators. The action could only be taken because state lawmakers had passed a law that lets cities legalize ATVs.

Among restrictions in the state law are the sunrise-to-sunset only provision and a prohibition against operating the ATV on a highway with more than two traffic lanes.

Chadron officials created their own ordinance rather than try to challenge the state law to get changes.

A helmet requirement that was originally in the Chadron ordinance was dropped because snow-clearers opposed it, saying helmets are for moving forward and might cause a hazard for their work.

Officials found a way around the rule against operating an ATV on a multi-lane highway: they designated turning lanes not traffic lanes, to allow use of more roads.

The council's action leaves some questions unresolved, like whether it is legal to pull a licensed utility trailer with an ATV on the city streets.