Proposal would release all-terrain vehicles onto residential streets
May 29, 2014
Jim Garrels, owner of Blackhawk Marine in Lake View, points out all-terrain vehicles at his store on May 28 2014. Garrels supports a proposal to allow the vehicles to be driven on Lake View’s roads.
Off-road vehicles could soon be unleashed onto Lake View's streets - but proponents of the change contend that kids won't be tearing through the town.
Lake View's City Council is considering a proposal to allow all-terrain vehicles and utility task vehicles to drive on city streets. Right now, the only people who can take to the streets with the vehicles are farmers who can prove they're driving for work.
With the new rules, though, anyone would be able to drive ATVs and UTVs anywhere in the city, for any reason - although regulations would be set, such as a minimum age of 18, a valid driver's license and proof of insurance, said Scott Peterson, city clerk and administrator in Lake View.
Sac County is considering the proposal as well and has asked cities to consider the idea so that drivers could go from county roads to city streets, he said
The idea was brought up in to Lake View's City Council in open session for the first time last week, and it is receiving mostly positive reviews, Peterson said. It would likely be decided on within the next few months. He added that he can't think of someone who opposes the plan.
"The two biggest things are safety concerns about operating vehicles on the road designed to be operated off the road, and just general use of the vehicles - people tearing around town and this type of stuff," Peterson said. "With a minimum age, at 18 as opposed to 16, hopefully they wouldn't have nearly as many problems with operating."
The other concern can be addressed as well, said Jim Garrels, owner of Blackhawk Marine in Lake View, who supports the proposal to allow the vehicles onto city streets. Some ATVs and UTVs can reach speeds of up to 75 miles an hour - they're well-able to drive on highways, he said. Many are equipped with seat belts, and kits with lights and turn signals can be purchased and added to the vehicles.
Mopeds and scooters are already permitted on the city roads, and some cities allow golf carts to drive on the streets as well - but utility vehicles are safer than both of those, Garrels said. He added that he thinks more people would buy utility vehicles if they could legally drive them on city roads; the vehicles can range in price from $6,000 to more than $20,000.
"Sure, we're going to see some people who are against it, due to the fact they think there are going to be kids tearing around on them," he said. "But we're not going to tolerate that; we need to be strict and have rules."
The ordinance would allow ATV and UTV drivers to exit county roads and pass through the city for food or gas, he added.
"Lake View has two campgrounds and a lake, and a lot of people, young and old, have utility vehicles," Garrels said. "It may bring people to town; they might come here to go camping and then hop into their utility vehicle to go ride around the lake. If people could ride on the road, they could use the vehicles to go to the grocery store or post office, or to drive to work. It's not necessarily for recreational reasons - they're for everyday use."
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