(MADISON) The Wisconsin State Senate passed legislation yesterday allowing all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) riders to use the roadways or shoulders of highways in order to cross a bridge, even if that roadway or bridge is closed to ATV or UTV traffic. The bill requires both the county and municipality to approve access to these bridges.

Under current law, individuals may operate ATVs and UTVs on a highway to cross a bridge, culvert, or railroad right-of-way under certain conditions, unless the roadway is officially closed to ATV or UTV traffic. AB 743 allows these riders to use the roadways to cross a bridge that is 1,000 feet in length or less, if the operation is in compliance with ordinance adopted by the county and the city, village, or town in which the bridge is located. The bill specifies that the rider exit the highway quickly and safely as soon as possible, and that no rider may drive on a bridge that is part of the Interstate Highway System.

AB 743 was introduced to alleviate the hassle that many riders face when reaching a bridge, and implements safeguards such as stopping before crossing, staying as far to the right of the road as possible, and yielding to other vehicles.

Taylor commented that “Frankly, it only makes sense to allow vehicles that many Wisconsinites use as a means of transportation and recreation to use our roads to cross bridges when appropriate. I’m proud to have coauthored this common-sense legislation that makes it easier for Wisconsinites to travel our great state.”

Wisconsin has a long tradition of ATV and UTV usage, and these vehicles are an important part of our culture that relates to outdoor recreation. Assembly Bill 743 has already passed the Assembly, and will go to the Governor for his signature.