The Rock Falls City Council has passed an ordinance that will permit the operation of certain non-highway vehicles on streets within the city limits of Rock Falls. 

The ordinance, as well as Illinois law, restricts the operation of qualifying vehicles to city streets with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or less, alleys, and parking lots, a news release says. These vehicles are prohibited from being operated on sidewalks, bike paths, state highways, or off-road in parks or upon other public property. 

Within Rock Falls city limits, operation of non-highway vehicles is prohibited on the following streets:

  • 1st Avenue/IL Route 40 (state road)
  • US Route 30 (state road)
  • McNeil Road (40mph speed limit)

As defined in the Rock Falls ordinance, a Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle is a motorized off-highway device designed to travel primarily off highway, 64 inches or less in width with 4 or more non-highway tires, with a non-straddle seat and a steering wheel. The weight limit of these vehicles is 2,000 pounds (gas engine), 3,000 pounds (electric). This does not include lawn mowers, all-terrain vehicles (ATV), or other low-speed vehicles as defined by the Illinois Vehicle Code, the release says.

The Rock Falls Police Department will be responsible for the issuance of the required permits.  Applications for a permit can be picked up at Rock Falls Police Department or can be obtained at the City’s website

The vehicle must be inspected and certified by the Police Department prior to a permit being issued to be operated within the City of Rock Falls. Inspections can be scheduled by contacting Rock Falls Police at 815-622-1140 and choosing option #3. 

The Rock Falls City Code requires the following equipment be installed to approve a permit application:

  • Brakes
  • A steering wheel
  • Tires
  • A rearview mirror
  • Red reflectors on the front and rear
  • A slow-moving vehicle emblem on the rear of the vehicle
  • A headlight (white light visible for 500’)
  • A taillamp (red light visible for 100’)
  • Brake lights
  • Turn signals
  • Seat belts

The permit will be a metal serialized registration plate.  The registration plate shall be displayed on the rear of the vehicle where it is visible, with the annual sticker affixed to the lower right portion of the plate.

The plate was designed with the assistance of local photographer, Paul Gierhart, and features an eagle in flight. The initial cost of a permit and sticker is $100.  The registration permit will expire on April 30th of each year.

All permits issued in 2022 and 2023 will be valid until April 30, 2024.  Renewal of a permit is $50 each year.  If a permit and/or sticker is lost or stolen, a replacement plate and sticker can be obtained at a cost of $25 each, once a police report has been filed. Permits are registered to an individual vehicle and cannot be shared or transferred between vehicles. If a permit holder replaces their registered vehicle, their existing permit can be transferred to the new vehicle after an inspection is completed on the new vehicle. 

Drivers of these permitted non-highway vehicles must have a valid driver’s license and be 18 years of age or older. The vehicle must be covered by a valid insurance policy, just as any other motor vehicle operated on a roadway. The vehicles can be operated between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm. The driver and all passengers must be restrained by a seat belt. 

Non-highway vehicles are subject to the Illinois Vehicle Code concerning Rules of the Road. A person who operates or is in actual physical control of a non-highway vehicle while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is subject to Sections 11-500 through 11-502 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. 

Violations of the Rock Falls city code pertaining to the operation of non-highway vehicles can be addressed through city ordinance citations or through Illinois Vehicle Code citations. Repeated or egregious violations may result in the revocation of the permit and violations prior to the issuance of a permit may result in the denial of future permit applications.