It's official. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and other special vehicles such as utility task vehicles (UTVs), golf carts and mini-trucks are now legal on the streets of Cloquet.
Cloquet City Councilors unanimously approved the new city ordinance at their Dec. 19 meeting; the ruling became law with its publication in the legal section of today's Pine Journal.
There is one major caveat to the new law. Such vehicles must have a permit from the City of Cloquet, available for $10 after the resident submits an application to the Cloquet Police Department.
Every application will need to contain the name and address of the applicant; model name, make and year and number; current driver's license or reason for not having a current license; and other information the city may require.
The operator of an ATV or UTV must either have a valid driver's license or valid ATV safety certificate as issued by the Department of Natural Resources, which they must carry with them anytime they are operating the special vehicle.
According to City Code, such vehicles are also only allowed on streets or roadways designated by the city on an ATV route map.
City Administrator Aaron Reeves said residents should get a copy of the ATV route map with their permit from the police department.
Reeves noted, however, that police are not planning any kind of campaign to check for permits in the near future.
"It (stopping drivers) will mostly be complaint- or issue-based," Reeves said. "But at least we will be able to issue citations."
The new ordinance, No. 469A in Chapter 5.6 of the City Code, is fairly lengthy and includes a number of requirements for the operation of the different special vehicles, for example, requiring a slow-moving-vehicle emblem for motorized golf carts.
The new ordinance is also consistent with current state law, which states that times of operation are only from sunrise to sunset, unless the vehicle is equipped with original equipment headlights, taillights and rear-facing brake lights, according to state statute.
Residents can find a full copy of the ordinance on the city's website, at the Cloquet Public Library and at City Hall.
Snowmobiles are also included in the new city ordinance, and are restricted to roads designated on a city snowmobile map. Snowmobile operators should drive on the farthest right side of a street and, whenever possible and legal, drive in the ditch and always in the same direction as traffic.
Snowmobiles are not allowed on public sidewalks or boulevards within the public right of way. They are also not allowed on private property without permission, or in city parks, recreation areas or playgrounds except as designated on the city snowmobile map. They are not allowed on school grounds unless they have permission.
There are more restrictions and regulations regarding snowmobiles, as well as motorcycles and other motorized two-wheel vehicles, in the new ordinance.