Cities mulling looser rules for utility, recreation vehicles

Adam Rollins
Posted 8/30/21

Elected leaders in Wright City and Truesdale are considering proposals to loosen restrictions UTVs and similar vehicles to allow them to be driven on public roads.

Both cities currently have …

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Cities mulling looser rules for utility, recreation vehicles

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Elected leaders in Wright City and Truesdale are considering proposals to loosen restrictions UTVs and similar vehicles to allow them to be driven on public roads.

Both cities currently have ordinances that ban the use of ATVs, UTVs, golf carts and the like, with only a few narrow exceptions. A proposal coming before the Wright City Board of Aldermen would allow their use by the general public, and Truesdale is considering similar action.

Currently, both cities only allow utility vehicles and recreational vehicles on public roads if they are being used by a government, agricultural or industrial service as part of their work. 

Wright City proposal

A draft of an ordinance under consideration by Wright City aldermen would expand that use to everyday citizens – but only if they receive a special permit and meet previously established requirements for the vehicles.

The ordinance is still subject to change as aldermen debate questions on road safety and receive feedback from the public. As-is, the owner of a utility or recreational vehicle would be able to get a permit to drive on public roads by submitting their personal information, driver’s license, and identifying information for the vehicle.

Most notably, drivers would also have to secure insurance for each individual vehicle. Permits would be good for one year.

The standing requirements for such vehicles that are already using Wright City’s streets is that ATV riders must wear helmets and UTVs must have safety equipment including lights, seat belts and roll cage. 

Low-speed golf carts are already more broadly allowed in Wright City than their higher-speed cousins, but would still fall under the new permitting requirements, and have a slew of extra operating requirements due to traffic safety concerns, according to the draft ordinance.

Wright City aldermen have been discussing loosening the restrictions on recreational vehicles since early this year, as part of a larger effort to review and update the city’s laws.

Truesdale discussion

Aldermen in Truesdale aren’t as far along with a change to their city codes, but are expressing interest in allowing residents to operate recreational vehicles within their subdivisions.

Alderman Robert Green said during an Aug. 11 public meeting that he wouldn’t intend for UTVs to be driving on the state highways through Truesdale except to cross over them. Operating on those roads would be illegal under state law, added Police Chief Casey Doyle. 

“I think the city can amend its ordinance to allow these vehicles under certain circumstances,” commented Doyle, who added that some safety considerations need to be accounted for. “Those vehicles aren’t typically rated for the street. If there were to be a collision between one of those ... and an automobile, it could be a serious issue.”

Truesdale aldermen directed city staff to study how other towns in the area have written their codes for the smaller vehicles. For example, the city of Warrenton passed an ordinance several years ago allowing low-speed vehicles, but placed significant equipment, registration and safety inspection requirements on them.

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