Washington State ATV riders need vehicle license, but get more access

Publish Date: 
Jul 15, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. – ATV riders are about to get increased access to rural roads in the state. It's the payoff for new licensing requirements.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1632 July 10 that takes effect July 28. It gives ATV drivers immediate access to 35 mph-or-less rural roads in seven counties with fewer than 15,000 residents. Counties with heavier populations will have the option to grant access.

At the same time, all ATVs will need state-issued metal license plates that will make them easier to identify when people report misbehavior. Some areas in the state have reported problems with rogue riders tearing up property.

The new law sets ATV license fees, both initial and renwal, at $12 for on-road use and $18 for off-road use. The metal tags similar to license plates must be replaced every seven years at a cost of $2.

Revenue generated by the sale of the required licenses and plates must be spent only on projects or activities benefiting off-road vehicle recreation.

“I think it’s a mixed blessing,” Bob Schafer, a spokesman for the Cascade Quad Squad, told the Yakima Herald Republic. “The bill started out being a little more generous.”

Current law lets ATV riders use approved roads on land under the state departments of Wildlife and Natural Resources under the Green Dot system. They also may travel cross-country but not on roads within the Wenatchee National Forest.

Schafer said opening up even a few short stretches of unpaved county roads in rural areas, such as the Wenas, would make a big difference to ATV enthusiasts.

“In Yakima County now, there are a few places where we have riding areas, but they’re not connected,” he said. “If we could talk the county into giving us those little stretches of road to use, that would be an improvement.”

Posted by Holly Wagner