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Waynesville asked to allow gas saving low-speed vehicles on city streets

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (Dec. 2, 2010) — Councilman Mike France wants to see low-speed vehicles authorized within city limits as an option for people who want to save gas.

At Wednesday afternoon’s meeting of the Waynesville Police and Emergency Services Committee, France said he became aware of low-speed vehicles, commonly abbreviated as “LSVs,” when his sister-in-law purchased one in Illinois. He then did research and found they’re allowed in Missouri on non-state highways, but only if individual cities pass ordinances to allow them.

“What brings this about?” asked Councilwoman Diana Stanford.

“You’ve got a proposed budget cutting thing where they’re looking at adding 15 cents to gas taxes,” France said. “I don’t know how much it would be utilized right now, but if you remember when gas prices went up, Crocker, Dixon, the surrounding communities passed ordinances where they were allowing ATVs and stuff like this. I don’t think we need ATVs but there are LSVs.”

Responding to questions from committee members, France explained than an LSV “is like a golf cart that you drive on municipal streets. It has to have seat belts, it has to have turn signals, it has to have brake lights.”

LSV owners also need to pay a registration fee and have a police inspection.

After initially thinking France was referring to a special type of police vehicle, Police Chief Bob Carter explained that state law allows cities to authorize ATVs on city streets though not state highways. He said scooters and certain ATVs can be registered as motorcycles to be street-legal even on state highways, and some of the vehicles may get up to 100 mph mileage.

Stanford said she’s seen LSVs before.

“Those old people drive down in Florida; they put them on the sidewalks. They’re wearing their pearls and their fur coats and they’re driving those things,” Stanford said.

However, Stanford asked how that would be useful in Waynesville since Historic Route 66, Highway 17, and other major roads in the city are state highways.

“You have to get across state highways to get to most of the streets,” Stanford said.

“I think we could talk to them about getting that waived,” France said. “I’m just thinking it warrants research and we ought to take a look at it. Missouri law already allows for them but it’s up to municipalities to say yea or nay.”

City Administrator Bruce Harrill said he’s willing to call the Missouri Municipal League for a model ordinance.

“I don’t have any problem with looking to see if there is an ordinance, but I’m not sure that this thing is something we need if you can’t use them on state highways,” said Councilman Ed Conley.

“Are you going to buy one of these? Is that what the deal is?” asked Stanford.

That might happen if gas prices dramatically increase, France said.

“If they start doing the things that they’re talking about, it wouldn’t bother me,” France said. “The time to do it is not once it’s already needed but to have it in place so we’re not holding people up.”

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