Operating procedures for ATV’s in Isanti County

Chris Caulk
Isanti County Sheriff

Spring is here and with it comes warm weather and the questions and concerns of ATV operation are again arising. I will try and to give you some general operating procedures for riding ATV’s in Isanti County.

One of the most asked questions is where can I ride. Isanti County is designated an agricultural zone south of Highway 95 and because of this, ATV’s are not allowed to operate in the right of way ditches of state and county roads between April 1 and Aug. 1. After Aug. 1, ATVs are allowed in right of way ditches either on the bottom or outer slope of the ditch. When crossing streets or roads it must be done at a 90 degree angle. When crossing a divided highway such as Highway 65, only use an intersection to cross. Also on Highway 65, it is illegal to ride in median between the two roads.

Township roads within Isanti County are not included in the agricultural zone rule. ATVs may be ridden on a township road or in the ditch, as long as you ride on the extreme right hand side of the road, if the township does not have a local ordinance prohibiting this. It should be noted that to ride on any public road or ditch, you must have a valid driver’s license.

Some restrictions for youth operators are anyone who is under the age of 12 may only operate and ATV on private property with the permission of the owner. Those who are between the ages of 12 and 16 may ride an ATV with engine sizes of 90cc or less. They may also operate an ATV of 90cc or less on public lands and water ways with a safety certificate and under supervision. They must also wear a helmet when operating on public lands or road right of ways. Those riders who are 16 to 18 years of age may operate ATVs on public lands but also must have a driver’s license to operate on any road right of way or make any direct crossings of a roadway. Those individuals must also wear a helmet when operating on any public lands or road right of ways.

For anyone interested in safety training for youth operators, the DNR information center has that information on line or by calling the DNR headquarters in St. Paul. Also watch the Community Education guide for local courses that are offered in partnership with local law enforcement.

For those of you who ride on state land or parks, contact the DNR for any restrictions they may have.

Remember, ATVs can do a lot of damage to roads, especially after rain. So please ride with care. Last, but not least, please be respectful of other person’s property and do not trespass. Trespassing is a crime and no one wants to ruin an enjoyable activity by receiving a citation and having to go to court.

Have a great spring and summer and don’t be surprised if you see the Sheriff’s Office out patrolling with our ATVs. Stay safe.