RANGELY I The Rangely Town Council voted last week to replace sections of the town’s municipal code to allow off-highway vehicles (OHVs) on public roads.
After a 30-day period ending Aug. 23, Ordinance 685 will allow “any self-propelled vehicle” with wheels or tracks and used primarily for off-road recreational purposes to travel Rangely streets, roads or alleys, provided drivers follow traffic codes and adhere to a 15 mile per hour speed limit.
Main Street/Highway 64 is off limits, as it is for the use of snowmobiles, golf carts, military vehicles and watercraft, among other exclusions.
The move comes in the wake of a county master trails plan unveiled in June, which officials hope will one day provide an economic boon in the midst of rising and falling industry cycles.
“Moving ahead with the ordinance came from a combination of things,” Rangely Town Manager Peter Brixius said. “We were obviously more heavily involved recently in the development of the Wagon Wheel Trail System on this end of the county. We, as a council, and management looked at the economic environment and felt like we needed to do everything possible to do things that would improve opportunities for growth in our economic picture.”
The current ordinance, which will be repealed once the new one takes effect, allows OHV drivers to travel town roads only en route to public lands. It also mandates that drivers under 18 be in close proximity to a licensed passenger 18 or older.
No age minimum is set under the new ordinance, although a guardian who is at least 16 must accompany drivers younger than 10. Drivers under 16 must meet certain physical requirements to operate an OHV and pass a “safety education and familiarization program” with the Rangely Police Department before taking to the streets.
Few people attended the public hearings to discuss the ordinance June 24 and July 22, but those who did showed support or expressed concern about OHVs along right of ways on Main Street or Highway 64.
Under 685, however, riders can only cross the highway, not ride on or alongside it.
For an OHV to be street legal, the ordinance mandates it have a headlight and taillight, brake system, muffler, spark arrester and, for minors, a red or orange “whip flag.” No licensing is required.
Violations to the code come with a minimum $50 and maximum $300 fine.
“As long as our riders are willing to pay attention to the traffic code and signage and we don’t have too many incidents, we won’t have an issue,” Brixius said.
See the ordinance in its entirety in this week’s Herald Times.