Toby Jenkins drives his ATV across First Avenue on Sept. 4. Snohomish permanently adopted an ordinance allowing ATVs on city streets. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Toby Jenkins drives his ATV across First Avenue on Sept. 4. Snohomish permanently adopted an ordinance allowing ATVs on city streets. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

‘The wind in your hair’: ATVs can stay on Snohomish streets

After a year-long pilot program, the city council voted to permanently open city streets to all-terrain vehicles.

SNOHOMISH — The streets of Snohomish are open to wheeled all-terrain vehicles for good.

After a year-long pilot program, the city council passed an ordinance last month that permits ATVs on city streets with speed limits of 35 mph or slower. That includes nearly all of Snohomish’s streets.

Not a single resident complained about ATVs throughout the pilot, city engineer Yosh Monzaki said. The police department did not issue any speeding tickets or traffic violations to riders, and no accidents involving ATVs were reported.

“We’re pretty good at policing ourselves,” said Austin Finch, who lives in unincorporated Snohomish County near Monroe.

He’s part of a group that pushed to get similar ordinances passed in other cities such as Monroe, Sultan, Gold Bar, Darrington, Granite Falls and Lake Stevens.

The Snohomish 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 and turn signals.

Drivers must be licensed, and their ATVs need to be registered.

There won’t be any additional cost to the city.

A web of rural county roads with speed limits 35 mph or under can carry WATV riders as far east as Gold Bar. (Snohomish County)

A web of rural county roads with speed limits 35 mph or under can carry WATV riders as far east as Gold Bar. (Snohomish County)

The new law turns ATVs from an off-road toy into a multi-use vehicle, Snohomish-area resident Toby Jenkins said. It used to be illegal for him to ride from his house into town. Now he takes his ATV to get lunch, grab groceries or cruise down First Street.

What’s the appeal?

“The wind in your hair,” said Paul Sterley, who lives just outside Snohomish. “You’re experiencing the world around you with more potency.”

It’s the thrill of a motorcycle with the safety of a cage and seatbelt.

“Its kind of that perfect mix,” Finch said.

Some people also like the gas mileage.

The Snohomish ordinance added a link to a growing chain of connectivity for ATV riders in East Snohomish County. Last year, the county opened some roads east of Highway 9 and some north of Marysville to the vehicles.

A web of rural county roads with speed limits 35 mph or under can now carry riders as far as Gold Bar. There’s currently no legal way to ride an ATV between Gold Bar and Sultan, since U.S. 2 is the only road connecting the two communities. From Sultan, operators can take May Creek Road or Reiter Road to popular trails in the Reiter Foothills Forest.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

A Sound Transit train arrives at Westlake Station in downtown Seattle. (Sue Misao / Herald file) May 2019
Should light rail skip Paine Field and Boeing? We asked, you answered

More than 300 Herald readers responded to an online poll. Here are the results.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Highway 9 work could disrupt travel through Lake Stevens

Construction is set for roundabouts on South Lake Stevens Road and one at North Davies Road and Vernon Road.

Lynnwood City Council members, from left: Jim Smith, Shirley Sutton, Shannon Sessions, Josh Binda, George Hurst, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, and Patrick Decker. (City of Lynnwood)
No penalty for Lynnwood council member’s ‘underinformed’ views on racism

The City Council didn’t censure Jim Smith after a report found he discriminated against a Black city employee.

All ears: Mukilteo couple provides surgery for kids born without ears

Dr. Prabhat and Trish Bhama are part of a HUGS volunteer team providing treatment for microtia in Guatemala.

Conceptual rendering for a future section of Smokey Point Boulevard between 174th Place NE and 200th Street NE. (City of Arlington)
Plan seeks to transform Smokey Point Blvd. into ‘neighborhood corridor’

City officials hope roundabouts, sidewalks and more will turn 2 miles of busy road into a neighborhood street.

Genghin Carroll, 8, walks up and high fives his mom Andria Carroll after riding the ferry over to meet her for a dental appointment on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Welcome aboard, kids! Ferry rides are free for those 18 and under

The move to let children ride ferries for free is the latest result of Move Ahead Washington legislation.

Judge Paul Thompson, left, with Strom Peterson and his wife Maria Montalvo after being is sworn in Wednesday afternoon at the Snohomish County Administration Building in Everett, Washington on September 29, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
State Rep. Peterson appointed to Snohomish County Council

Carin Chase had by far the most supporters present Thursday, but it was Strom Peterson who won the council’s unanimous vote.

Students make their way after school at Edmonds-Woodway High School on March 12, 2020. All public and private schools in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties must close for six weeks. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Police: Student, 15, arrested with loaded gun at Edmonds high school

Around 1 p.m., students reported a classmate with a gun at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

A woman was injured in an attack Sunday at Clark Park in Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Police: Purse snatching in Everett park led to stabbing

A Snohomish woman, 36, was arrested for investigation of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

Most Read