In early 2021, Portage County in Wisconsin passed a law that allows UTVs to be driven on public roads. That same day, many locals took advantage of the new opportunity and took their UTVs on the roads. Check out this picture from a local restaurant in Kellner, Wisconsin. The whole parking lot is full of side-by-sides! The UTV excitement in Wisconsin, and all over the country, is real!
UTVs often trace the beginning of their evolution to the Jeep off-road vehicles that were used in WWII in the 1940s. The 1950s and 1960s brought about dune buggies and amphibious ATVs. Finally, the more familiar 3-wheel and 4-wheel ATVs became popular in the 1970s and 1980s. The first UTVs as we recognize them today came to the scene in the late 1980s. They were designed to be more useful than an ATV but more versatile than a truck. At the turn of the century, UTV manufacturers started offering sport models to those looking to use their UTVs for off-road trail riding and recreation.
Because of their versatility as both a utility and a recreational vehicle, UTVs are widely popular among outdoor enthusiasts. They can be used for hunting, fishing, farming and ranching, trail riding, and more. Now, as long as proper safety precautions are taken, such as the wearing of seatbelts and helmets, UTVs can be used to go down the road to the local watering hole in many areas! Thanks to local and state governments recognizing the popularity of UTVs, communities are welcoming the economic benefit of opening up some of their roads to side-by-sides.
Before taking your UTV on the road, however, check the local laws to see whether it is allowed and, if so, for routes and requirements. Because they are constantly changing, always be sure to check back for updates.
Our friends at Polaris put together a great resource for reviewing the UTV laws and regulations by state:
Here is another link that we’ve used when researching state’s laws regarding UTV use on public roads and streets:
At Rugged, we are so excited to be seeing this growth in the UTV community and can’t wait to see where the industry goes. As more outdoor enthusiasts purchase UTVs, we are here to support them by offering our Rugged UTV toppers. Durable and lockable Rugged toppers protect all of the gear you bring with you. They are manufactured in Wisconsin and built to last through the toughest conditions. If you have any questions about our Rugged Toppers, contact us today.