Q: This is regarding motorized vehicles on the Greenway. In a recent article, the Herald said it is against "city policy." What does that even mean? Is that a law? Is policy equal to law? Frankly, it should be a law that motorized vehicles are not allowed on the Greenway – then it would be enforceable.

Lt. Derik Zimmel, of the Grand Forks Police Department, said there are specific laws in the books that prohibit operating motorized vehicles in certain portions of the city, including recreational areas and on public walkways.

In the article, the Herald, not the city or the GFPD, used the word "policy" rather than "law."

"In this instance, I believe the term 'policy' is somewhat misleading, and incorrect. A city of Grand Forks municipal ordinance is most applicable," Zimmel said.

Specifically, Zimmel pointed to a segment in city code titled "Use of recreational motor vehicles" and highlighted certain pertinent segments.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Specifically: "It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a recreational motor vehicle ... as follows: On public sidewalks, walkways or trails provided or used for pedestrian travel ... including but not limited to dikes, levees, parks."

City code also prohibits motorized recreational vehicles on or across "ice skating rinks, school grounds, recreational areas and playgrounds, unless a permit has been obtained from the proper public authorities, or unless such areas have been specifically designated for such use."

All of these restrictions are laid out in section 8-1201 of the city code book.

And lest anyone try to get cute with the term "recreational motor vehicle" and drive any other sort of vehicle in these areas, beware of section 8-1202 in the code book: "It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a utility vehicle, recreational vehicle, snowmobile, or any other motor vehicle in violation of the provisions of section 8-1201."

Glad You Asked is a segment in the Grand Forks Herald. Do you have a locally interesting question you'd like answered? Submit it to letters@gfherald.com and we'll consider it. Be sure to put "Glad You Asked" in the subject line.