PROVIDENCE – Minor changes were made to the ordinance regarding what is legal when it comes to off-highway vehicle (OHV) use in city limits, but further discussion is expected.
The ordinance previously allowed an OHV on city streets if it had a safety flag or headlights and taillights, but the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to amend the ordinance to require headlights and taillights, regardless of a safety flag.
The amended ordinance came after discussions during previous meetings over whether OHV use should be banned. Motorcycles, ATVs and other OHVs are allowed, but operators are required to either possess a driver’s license or a Utah OHV education certificate if on city streets. Those less than 16 years old must have adult supervision, speed limits must be followed and protective headgear is required for passengers and drivers less than 18 years old.
According to multiple claims, those laws are being broken, and many residents are annoyed or feel unsafe. There have been complaints from residents – especially from those that live near the entrance to Providence Canyon – of excessive noise and reckless driving from OHV operators.
“(Parents) put these vehicles in their kids’ hands while they are at work,” Providence resident Annette Drew said in a June meeting. “And these kids are running around all day long with RZRs, dirtbikes and whatever else they have.”
Whether or not a complete or partial ban on OHV use will take place is yet to be seen. Providence resident Paula Anderson spoke out during Tuesday night’s meeting and said she believes the issue comes down to enforcement of the current ordinance rather than new laws.
“Why not enforce it now and give it a try?” she asked the council. “That’s my feeling, if it is not being enforced now what is going to change if you take it and make it illegal?”
Anderson said she enjoys being able to legally use OHVs to travel to and from the canyon, and that having to use a trailer to transport them can be very inconvenient.
“The people that are breaking the rule now are going to be the people that still break the rule,” she said. “If it is not getting enforced now, who is to say it is going to get enforced then?”
Mayor Don Calderwood suggested requiring all OHVs to be “street-legal based on state law” if operated in city limits.
“What that means is it has to have turn signals,” he said. “It has to have a horn, it has to have proof of insurance, it has to have a license.”
Council member John Drew disagreed and said he believes the current ordinance is “appropriate if enforced.”
“Just changing the ordinance to ‘street-legal’ or ‘not street-legal’ is not going to change one thing on this issue,” he said. “I guarantee no one is going to read this ordinance before they go purchase a vehicle.”