The city of Seymour will consider approving an ordinance that makes operating an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on city streets legal at its next meeting on Thursday, Aug. 11.
That decision was made after the Seymour Board of Aldermen debated the issue for about 15 minutes last Thursday at the group’s regular meeting after South Ward Alderman Dan Wehmer suggested allowing the legal operation of ATVs after being approached about the issue by his neighbor, who also lives in his ward.
“I felt he brought up a valid issue,” Wehmer told the other three aldermen, Jim Ashley and Darrel “Bub” Wallace from the North Ward and Nadine Crisp from the South Ward. “He noted that people currently are allowed to operate UTVs, which are known as side-by-side vehicles, as well as golf carts on city streets. And he said that there are occasions when he would like to jump on his ATV and run down to the Rusty Spurs Cafe and grab breakfast, but at the present time, it’s not legal for him to do that.”
Wehmer asked the other three aldermen for their opinions on the issue.
None of them voiced objection.
“Why not?” Ashley said. “I think there should be some regulation on it, just like there is for the side-by-sides and the golf carts, but I don’t have a problem with it.”
“If we’re allowing the others, then I can’t see the problem with ATVs,” she said. “But I agree with Jim. There needs to be some rules. We don’t want people running wild on our streets, causing problems and being unsafe.”
Wehmer said he had previously discussed the issue with Seymour Police Chief Steven Pogue, who was in attendance at Thursday’s meeting. He added that he had researched state laws regarding the operation of ATVs in cities.
“It’s allowed,” he explained. “However, cities must follow a few rules if they do approve an ordinance allowing ATVs to be operated on their streets.”
Citing Chapter 304 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, he said ATV owners must show proof of insurance before they are allowed to operate one on city streets.
Above that, Wehmer said state law says any person operating an ATV on a public streets must have a valid operator’s license. Per state law, ATVs cannot travel more than 30 miles per hour, he noted.
“After talking to Steven, I suggest that we lower that to 25 miles per hour,” Wehmer said.
Anyone driving an ATV who is under the age of 18 must wear a helmet, he added. The state law also doesn’t allow ATV operators to have passengers.
“I would suggest we not only include the state requirements in any ordinance we consider, I also suggest that we add a few more city rules to this,” Wehmer said.
He said the city should require all ATVs to be licensed by the city, meaning they must bear a city sticker. To receive the sticker, the ATV would have to be inspected by an officer from the Seymour Police Department and be approved.
“That’s what we currently are doing with all the side-by-sides and golf carts that are operating in the city,” Wehmer said. “I also feel the ATVs need to have operating brake lights, which isn’t a listed state requirement, but it should be a city requirement.”
City Administrator Hillary Gintz asked Wehmer if he wanted an ordinance ready for review at the city’s next regular meeting, which is set for Thursday, Aug. 11.
“Yes, if the other aldermen are okay with it,” he said.
The other three aldermen said they were fine with reviewing an ordinance at the next meeting.
“Are you okay with this, Steven?” Ashley asked Pogue.
“It’s fine with me,” Pogue said. “As long as we’re following the same rules we are with the others (golf carts and the UTVs), then I don’t have a problem with you passing an ordinance allowing ATVs in the city.”
The Aug. 11 meeting starts at 6 p.m.
The meeting is open to the public.