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Monroe Mayor hopes new WATV law will help connect cities

A new law makes it legal for ATV drivers to use Monroe city streets. (Peter Blanchard, Flickr)

Driving wheeled all-terrain vehicles (WATV) on city streets is one of those issues you don’t know is an issue until hearing about it.

But folks are talking about it in Monroe. WATV drivers can now careen alongside other vehicles in Monroe. It’s a law several Snohomish County communities have previously adopted, including Stanwood, Granite Falls, Sultan, and Darrington, The Herald reports.

“We’ve had a number of people express interest in being to drive WATVs on city streets,” Monroe Mayor Geoffrey Thomas told KTTH’s Jason Rantz. “They felt that a WATV is similar to a motorcycle or a moped. There are laws on the books that provide for safety and require insurance.”

Chokepoints: Western Washington traffic news

“At the end of the day, the vehicles perform like many other vehicles, so why not allow WATVs on city streets? Today on almost any street in the city, people are allowed to drive WATVs.”

The law allows WATVs to drive on city streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less. It also requires drivers to be licensed and insured, like any other vehicle. Unlike any other driver, they would need to wear a helmet if their WATV has no roll bar.

According to Mayor Thomas, the interest came from WATV drivers both living inside and outside Monroe. With similar laws passing in several adjacent areas, the idea is to allow WATV drivers to more easily travel from town to town.

“I know there’s an interest in being able to connect cities along the Sky Valley and Snoqualmie Valley,” said Thomas. “So that people can go out in their WATVs and get from cities to the many recreation areas along the highway.”

WATV law not simply an economic issue

While economic growth remains a factor in opening up roads, the initial impetus was less economic and more of a policy question.

“We weren’t so focused on economic impact as we were equality, liberty, and letting people drive these vehicles on our city streets,” Thomas said.

“As the cities become connected, my hope is that people may come to Monroe or other cities, spend the night at our hotels, and be able to drive from city-to-city and recreation areas.”

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