TWO RIVERS, Wis. (NBC 26) — A new form of transportation on the streets of the city of Two Rivers may soon be permitted. And just about everyone has an opinion.
“I would definitely allow ATVs and UTVs on the streets,” said former city councilman David VanGinkel.
“The City of Two Rivers is not an appropriate place to allow ATVs and UTVs to be used on city streets,” said Police Chief Brian Kohlmeier.
This debate will soon head to the Two Rivers City Council. There is a hearing on Monday to get public comment.
The recommendation from City staff is to maintain the current policy.
“Official comments via email to our City Clerk, shared with City Council, strongly oppose the proposal,” City Manager Greg Buckley said.
The police chief says there is a security problem.
“The kind of atmosphere we think our citizens want…this is not a place for ATVs and UTVs,” Kohlmeier said.
He says traditional motor vehicle laws are different and that because of the city’s status…
“The rules around OWI, open intoxicants, driver’s licenses, registration, insurance and all those things…we can’t regulate them any tighter or any further,” Kohlmeier said.
VanGinkel, also the owner of Two Rivers Clothing Co., says that since the city allows golf carts, it should allow UTVs and ATVs.
“Golf carts don’t have roll cages,” he said. “They’re not designed to crash. They don’t have a seat belt, whereas a UTV has all of the above.”
VanGinkel doesn’t even own one himself.
“We have the best beach in Wisconsin,” he said. “How cool to have strollers and things of that nature at the beach.”
Next week, he and other supporters will have the opportunity to tell the council.
“Hopefully that, for a while, will at least bring this issue to a head with some resolve as to the direction of the council,” Buckley said.
The number of UTVs registered in Wisconsin has skyrocketed. According to the DNR in 2013, there were fewer than 17,000 registered UTVs in the state. By 2015, that number had more than doubled to over 37,000.
In 2017, there were over 60,000 registrants in the state. As of 2019, over 90,000 UTVs were registered in Wisconsin.