City Moves to Curb ATVs by Guest Columnist Steve Segner

The first sentence in this article is highly inaccurate: “City Ordinance 2023 proposes to ban ATVs from Sedona on a technicality related to tires.”  
At a recent City Council meeting, Mayor Jablow presented evidence showing that ATVs are not intended to be used on public roads or paved roadways. The Manufacturers clearly state on the Certificate of Origin (title) that “This vehicle is not intended for, and may not be registered for on-road use”.  

The Polaris Product materials warning states, “This vehicle does not have highway safety features that on-road vehicles may have (air bags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, etc.). If another vehicle collides with you, the likelihood of a serious injury or death may be greater.  While it may be legal locally to drive on some public roads in specific parts of the country, your vehicle was not designed or certified as an on-road motor vehicle. Polaris does not support public road use except as may be necessary to cross-roads designated for connecting off highway vehicle trail segments.”

Honda, Kawasaki and CamAm have similar warnings.

It is also now understood that the tires on ATVs are not manufactured for use on public roadways, per the DOT.  And there is no permissible ways to authorize OHV tires for street use. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has sent out a bulletin to manufacturers to stop placing “DOT compliant” on tires. They are NHS (Not for Highway Service).

City leaders met with the DOT and Polaris to discuss this issue. The DOT reaffirmed their position on tire design and confirmed that there are no approved tires for ATV operation on paved roads. Polaris stands by their policy that ATVs do not belong on public or paved roads.  60% of the ATVs in use in Sedona are Polaris.  

The City has the authority and responsibility to regulate health and safety issues for the community.  For this reason, the City is going to pursue passing a city ordinance to prohibit driving of ATVs on public roads that 1) are deemed by the Manufacture as not intended for on-road use or 2) have tires that are not DOT approved.  This would be effective 30 days after passage. The review of the proposed ordinance will be in late May.  The City will also bring this issue to the attention of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns.  The City is also doing an environmental study to evaluate the impact of ATVs on the National Forest and the environment. 

Mr. Segner states that this will be challenged in court. So be it! The City is ready to defend it.

Mr. Segner says that this will impact the ATV Rental companies.  YES – They will have to trailer their machines and customers to the off-road location.  There are staging areas available for that purpose.  This will require them to buy equipment and hire more staff cutting into their very large profits!  This change will not break them financially.

The “consensus solution” proposed by Mr. Segner is to close Morgan Road (Broken Arrow).  What a convenient solution!  The Jeep Tour Companies would LOVE to get rid of ATVs on this trail!  Not so fast.  This just moves more of the ATV traffic to West Sedona bringing more activity in that part of town and more destruction to the Bear Mountain area.

Mr. Segner wants a solution to “address citizen concerns, protect local businesses and safeguard the natural environment.”  Currently citizens and the natural environment are suffering, while businesses are profiting significantly. This new ordinance will bring those three more into balance.