Side-by-sides and ATVs get approval on city’s streets

The off-road tourism business took another step forward this month with news that a city with a population of 9,000 residents has opened its streets to side-by-side and ATV traffic.

In central Wisconsin, the Tomah Police Department reports on its Facebook that “ATV/UTV routes within the City of Tomah are now legally opened for operation and use. Public Works Director, Kirk Arity has been working with the Monroe County Highway Department and the Tomah Police Department to order and install signage. Now that all City of Tomah signage is erected, streets within the City of Tomah are now legally opened for ATV/UTV traffic.”

Key points include:

  • Routes include all roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less
  • Can only be operated on routes from 6 a.m.-10 p.m.


  1. As a victim that died and was revived by emt members after colliding with a two seater Razor driving on the street in Tucson, Arizona., I would say that harder endorsement tests should have to be passed with more than just a low minimum. Most of these guys are meeting the minimum for street legal/safety requirements here. Turn signal kits using your existing brake lights are dangerous and should be outlawed. From a side view in a passing zone the blinking of one side (the only side visible) it just appears the operator is tapping the brakes. No side mirror to check before turning left and poof a brutal collision. I was on a sport touring bike and lost! Aftermarket accessories are cool and hip but they don’t convey the level of communicated intentions that stock, street legal amber lenses and integrated turn signals in side mirrors do. Red lenses were intended to indicate brake lights in 99% of the cases. Amber turn signaling. I used to get VW buggies street legal for customers and mimicking the auto industry’s safety is best for your safety and those around you. It should be the law. I hate that we compromise other driver’s safety to try and cheat the process or due to fine line technicalities.

    • You make a compelling case for DOT approved (amber) turn signals. I agree. I am happy that you survived and can contribute to this conversation. As long as we are on the subject of DOT and vehicle lighting, why not retrofit all brake lamps with a rheostat like component so the person behind can tell the intentions of the one braking. People who annoyingly ride their brakes would have dimly lit brake lights while a full on threshold braking maneuver would result in very bright brake lights. If you know the intentions of the drivers around you – and they know YOUR intentions – I don’t think we would have many accidents.

    • Have you ever followed a trailer? Brake lamp and turn signal are the same circuit. Both left and right sides are red. Amber dictates clearance.

    • My 2018 chevy has red trun signals from factory. I do not agree with that statement. I understand you got hurt but accidents happen that’s why I got rid of my bike something goes wrong its you and the road that’s it. I hit a deer at 70mph. Fix the bike rode it 3 more years and got rid of it.
      Sorry to hear you got hurt but if we agreed with your statement then motorcycle would be illegal. More people get killed on them then just about any other motorized vehicle . These are the risks we take buying and riding our toys.

    • I completely disagree… signals and brake lights have traditionally always been the same circuit, bulb and color. On fully 90%+ of road going vehicles and trailers. I’ve been a diesel mechanic for over 15 years and I promise you you’re absolutely and unequivocally WRONG about that.

      Secondly… anyone who blames a lack of laws or safety regulations for their own failures and short comings deserves a wake up call.

      I drive extremely aggressively when I’m in my car or truck. I tailgate, I speed, the accelerator is basically an on/off switch when I’m driving. But when I ride my bike. I’m completely the opposite. I don’t speed excessively, I don’t tailgate vehicles that could kill me and I’m hyper vigilant. It’s up to YOU to make sure your ride doesn’t end up in death. And that you make it home.

  2. I have a question, for WI and MN residents. I’m from South Dakota, if I’m driving a car I can drive all the streets and roads. South Dakota considers a licensed side by side a legal automobile. If it is a legal vehicle in another state, can you point me to a state law that makes my side by side illegal in your state.

    • They do not meet WI definition of a motor vehicle for use on public roads . WI ss 340.01(35). More information can be founder in WI Trans 305 and chapter 23.33.

  3. I think this is totally ridiculous that these types of vehicles gain entry not only to off road state trails but also the open road. The UTVs they produce now are as big as trucks nearly, and tear up the trails just as much, yet dirtbikes arent allowed on either on or off road, state ATV trails. The more that we see this type of legislation pass, the more of a market these larger UTVs will have and produce ones that are capable of going faster, being larger and seating more people, as an alternative to cars with none if the safety. And by effect tearing up the streets, and especially, especially the trails that people enjoy.