Hibbing opens roads, some streets to ATV traffic

PHOTO: J.D. Hancock, Creative Commons

The Iron Range city of Hibbing is opening its roadways to all terrain vehicles (ATVs). Hibbing joins Itasca County and other Iron Range towns in considering and ultimately adopting looser regulations for the popular recreational vehicles.

The Hibbing Daily Tribune reports on the ATV ordinance, passed in a March 22 council meeting. It opens up all the county roads in Hibbing’s vast rural surroundings, and some streets in town.

There are exceptions:

The ordinance specifically prohibits operation of ATVs on Howard Street from Highway 169 to the intersection with First Avenue, and on First Avenue from Howard Street to Townline Road.

“Except for the purposes of crossing Howard Street or First Avenue at a 90 degree angle to cross the street,” said Borland. “We just don’t want people going down a block and zigzagging around.”

According to the ordinance, those who operate an ATV on a city road must have a valid driver’s license, travel at a speed less than 10 miles per hour and in single file, and stay off sidewalks and boulevards. ATVs may not be operated between 10:30 p.m. and 7:30 a.m.

An ATV must be equipped with at least one headlight and taillight, and no vehicle can be towed behind an ATV on any street between the hours of 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise unless the ATV is equipped with at least one taillight.

The reason for the change? Public demand. And the sense that if people can’t ride their rigs in town, they’ll go to different towns.

From the story:

Mayor Rick Cannata supported the matter, stating that he views this as an opportunity to welcome more people into the community.

“They will come into town with their ATVs and will stay in Hibbing instead of on the other side of the Range,” he added. “I think this will work good.”

Harkonen mentioned the daily ATV traffic volume in front of his residence. He requested that the public abide the ordinance.

“Slow down, and obey the law,” he said. “Just be responsible and follow the rules. Go nicely, and don’t ruin it for the rest of us who want to be out there using it.”

Itasca County and St. Louis County have both adopted ordinances allowing ATVs on rural roads, breaking a longstanding prohibition tied to the risks posed to riders, drivers and road shoulders.

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