Michelle Walker, known as “the caffeinator,” can be seen zipping around Monroe in an ATV delivering coffee for the Original Pilot Coffee House. ATV riders should soon be able to ride some city streets in Gold Bar. (Julia-Grace Sanders/ The Herald)

Michelle Walker, known as “the caffeinator,” can be seen zipping around Monroe in an ATV delivering coffee for the Original Pilot Coffee House. ATV riders should soon be able to ride some city streets in Gold Bar. (Julia-Grace Sanders/ The Herald)

Gold Bar embraces ATVs on city streets, Snohomish may follow

Darrington, Granite Falls, Stanwood, Sultan and Monroe already allow the vehicles.

GOLD BAR — Another Snohomish County city has joined the ranks of those allowing wheeled all-terrain vehicles on its streets.

The Gold Bar City Council voted 4-1 to pass an ordinance legalizing ATVs in the city last week. Snohomish might be next.

“My hope with this ordinance passing is that those who are respectful and use them legally will want to use them for recreational purposes like riding them up to an ice cream shop on a sunny day,” Gold Bar Mayor Bill Clem said.

The idea first came up for discussion nearly a decade ago, Clem said.

It resurfaced recently as Darrington, Granite Falls, Stanwood, Sultan and Monroe passed similar laws.

In Monroe, where the vehicles have driven legally since May of last year, the hum of an ATV is a regular addition to downtown’s ambiance.

Starting at 8 a.m., tutu-sporting Michelle Walker can be seen zipping around town delivering coffee for the Original Pilot Coffee House in the company’s branded ATV.

Walker, known as “the caffeinator,” said the vehicles are perfect for short trips through the city. Gas is cheap, and insurance is relatively inexpensive.

The same open-air thrill that attracts motorcycle riders also draws people to ATVs, she said. Walker’s family has owned the vehicles for years.

She said it was “a dream come true” when Monroe legalized them on city streets.

Her family used to seek out cities that allowed ATVs on the road for vacations.

“To have that as an option in our hometown is really amazing,” she said. “It’s fun. It’s freeing.”

As it has in other cities, the topic of opening city streets to ATVs drew passionate public comment from both sides in Gold Bar, Clem said.

The primary concerns of those opposed were based on behavior that’s already illegal, like quad drivers not wearing helmets.

The new law will hopefully give ATV owners another way to use them legally, Clem said.

Gold Bar’s ordinance will mirror state requirements. Those include wearing a motorcycle helmet, unless the ATV has seat belts and roll bars or an enclosed compartment for the driver and passengers. The state also requires safety features such as headlights, turn signals and a windshield.

The new rules are part of a statewide effort to boost tourism in rural areas and expand recreation for the estimated 25,000 ATV owners in Washington. By law, cities can create local rules allowing quads, side-by-sides and four-wheelers, with a 35 mph speed limit. Otherwise, ATVs remain illegal.

Snohomish is also considering a pilot program to allow ATVs on its streets. The City Council asked staff last week to draft a proposal, which is expected to reach the council in late August.

“I don’t know which way the council will determine,” city administrator Steve Schuller said.

Snohomish County has also begun to open some roads to ATVs.

Last year, the County Council approved expanding a program to allow ATVs on some east-county arterials with speed limits of 35 mph or less. The routes —Mann, Old Owen and Ben Howard roads— connect unincorporated areas between Sultan and Monroe, two cities that had already passed laws to legalize ATVs on some city streets.

There’s a chance that could happen on the outskirts of Gold Bar as well. County Councilman Sam Low said he plans to advocate for opening up the county-operated portion of May Creek Road to ATVs. That would allow riders to get from the city to popular trails in Reiter.

There is currently no legal way to ride an ATV from Sultan to Gold Bar, since U.S. 2 is the only road connecting them.

“I think all these counties should be opened up to ATVs,” Low said. “But it’s up to the entire council to decide that.”

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

She died from Smokey Point hospital’s neglect, lawsuit says

Staff at the psychiatric hospital failed to care for Rosemary Torgesen, 78, a new complaint alleges.

Bus stop locations chosen for safety and convenience

A reader wondered why so many bus stops are on the far side of an intersection. It’s on purpose.

After misconduct, new oversight comes to CASA court program

Child advocates lied, spied and destroyed evidence. Now, the program has been renamed and revamped.

ACES High School junior Regina Lewis, 16, on Jan. 22, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
ACES junior looks forward and upward to a career with planes

Regina Lewis, 16, moved from California in 2018. She built a community here by saying “yes” to new things.

Suspect in Everett quadruple shooting extradited, arraigned

The 20-year-old is charged with four counts of first-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Separate suspected DUI, hit-and-run crashes hospitalize 4

Emergency responders were busy Saturday night after three collisions across Lynnwood.

County seeks federal aid after recent floods and landslides

If your home or business was damaged, you could help the state qualify for disaster assistance.

Front Porch

EVENTS Camano blood drive Bloodworks Northwest is scheduled to set up a… Continue reading

photos by Dan Bates / The Herald 
                                WSDOT spokeswoman Diane Rhodes talks with reporters and photojournalists at the passenger terminal under construction at Mukilteo on Thursday.
Passenger building offers glimpse of Mukilteo ferry terminal

The new facility connecting Mukilteo and Whidbey Island is expected to open in October or November.

Most Read