Fort Scott takes step toward permitting UTVs on streets

During their meeting Tuesday evening, the Fort Scott City Commission decided to allow city manager Dave Martin and others to begin drafting an ordinance allowing utility task vehicles to be driven on city streets.

9-7 UTVs

In recent weeks, the issue of allowing the off-road UTVs on streets had come to the commissioners’ attention, with residents speaking both in favor of such an allowance as well as in opposition to it.

“We can’t make everybody happy, although we try,” Martin said.

Martin said he had discussed the decision with residents and the majority spoke in favor of such an ordinance, while those opposed to it referenced concerns such as their speed capabilities, ranging from 25 to 75 miles per hour, and the fact manufacturers built them as off-road vehicles.

A number of residents addressed the commission during Tuesday’s meeting and said they believe UTVs, including vehicles such as Kawasaki Mules and other models, are safer than motorcycles and golf carts as well as some cars.

Police Chief Travis Shelton gave a report, saying he had contacted other cities that allow UTVs on the streets, including Chanute, Parsons and Pittsburg. In speaking with representatives from those police departments, Shelton said they reported little trouble when it came to accidents, chases, ticketing and reckless driving involving UTVs.

“I don’t think you’ll have a problem with them” UTV owner Eric Shoemaker said, also emphasizing that he believes the UTV tires are also safe for the streets. “These are a lot safer than a golf cart.”

Martin said he had heard the UTV tires are strictly for off-road use and would not have proper traction on streets, but others in attendance at the meeting assured him otherwise, merely pointing out that the tires would likely wear out faster.

“I think there’s a lot of people in this county that it’s going to help,” said resident Tim Bradbury.

The commissioners approved writing an ordinance by January 1, with a 4-0 vote, with commissioner Jim Adams absent. That deadline will give Martin and others such as Shelton time to continue their research and determine what restrictions and regulations will be in place, such as being a licensed driver, 18 years or older and what safety features such as seat belts and turning signals will be required.

When the ordinance is complete, the commission will again address the issue and decide to approve it or not.

4 thoughts on “Fort Scott takes step toward permitting UTVs on streets”

  1. Sounds like a good idea! Even though I don’t have one. On another note… when is the city commission’s time and day of the week?I would like to discuss something I think the town with teens would much approve of, especially in the winter months. I will say briefly what it is….
    I truly believe that if we could get an arcade, skating rink, etc. In Fort Scott, my opinion from talking to teens, (as a mother of 2 teenage girls), would possibly take teen crime down by at least 40-60% in my opinion and speaking with other teens. I know we all as a wonderful town have put a lot of money into Buck Run, Ellis Park, and such, but one thing is that most people don’t think of, is the fact that not ALL TEENS are into sports stuff. I feel they need an indoor place of fun so they will have somewhere to hang out and have fun, even in the winter months. The research I have done, I am thinking an arcade or skating rink would be amazing to have for our teens! My reason?? They won’t be “BORED” all the time and in the streets late at night on the weekends getting into trouble. For example, vandalism, drinking alcohol, doing illegal drugs, etc. I am just speaking from experience of a 17 year old daughter and a 14 year old daughter. Luckily my girls come to me with everything, so I know what all these teens are doing, and with a little common sense and the exact words from their mouths and other teens I’ve spoke with is…”There is nothing to do in this town. It’s Soooooo BORING!
    So if anyone can please tell me when it is that the public goes to the meetings to BETTER OUR BEAUTIFUL town of Fort Scott, please let me know so I can hopefully have this brought to attention quickly to cut down teen crime as much as possible thank you!!
    Sincerely yours,
    Cassie Haynes

    1. Cassie, thank you for your interest in the city of Fort Scott and its teens. The city commission meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of the month.

  2. So, do I no longer need fenders, doors, headlights, turn signal, taxes, tag, or insurance on my car when driving in Fort Scott?

    1. Yet another vehicle, those of us paying taxes to maintain the roads, have to yield right of way to. It gets really old having to take alternate routes to avoid, or stop an wait for a 12 year old doing donuts in the middle of the road on an atv. The other day I had to emergency brake for 4 atv, and they were just using the road to turn around (cutting donut grooves in the gravel road).

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