The Great Bend City Council Monday night approved an ordinance allowing micro trucks on streets in city limits. City residents Derik Schneider and Aaron Andrews addressed the council on Oct. 7, seeking the change. They noted that many cities, such as Dodge City and Garden City, have legalized the Side by Sides (SxSs) such as Polaris Rangers, Polaris RZR, Can-ams and Arctic Cats.
The parties requested that the Dodge City ordinance be followed. However, the council tabled the matter for further consideration.
The council asked City Attorney Robert Suelter to work with the presenters on putting together an ordinance, which he did and presented Monday.
Licensing, safety and registering considerations include: tagging, ensuring lights, turn signals and horns, proof of insurance and roll cages, and registering with the city, not county. The annual registration fee will be $150 and the licensing year will run from July 1 to June 30, the same as other city licences.
The Police Department will handle the registering and inspections of vehicles, which must meet all of the requirements of other vehicles on the streets. Registering would require a full vehicle identification number (VIN), which would exclude golf carts and go karts. A valid driver’s licence would also be needed.
Suelter suggested lowering the charge, anticipating the cost of operating the program would be lower than expected. But, the council stuck with the higher amount.
Councilman Brock McPherson was the only council member voting against the measure, noting he’d seen similar vehicles being ridden around town recklessly. “If we licence these and let people run them around town, I think we will have a big problem. Somebody’s going to get hurt.”
But, “obviously, Brock, these people are going to be doing this whether this passes or not,” Mayor Joe Andrasek said. Having an ordinance in place will at least codify riding rules and allow for some city revenue.
Noise levels were also discussed, and Andrasek said they are quieter than motorcycles. Again, they must meet other stringent vehicular standards.
The mayor said he had contacted Dodge City and Garden City and officials there said they have had to problems.
The council passed the ordinance with the caveat that it can be revisited later if troubles arise. It will probably not go into effect until early 2020.
Supporters said all of the other towns in Barton County allow these vehicles on the streets. They are not allowed on State Highways, except to cross.
They also noted allowing these would appeal to younger families, promote tourism and earned revenue.
These are not the small four-wheel all-terrain vehicles, they said. These are used often on farms and for other work-related tasks, as well as recreation.