WHEELING, W.Va. — A traffic rule in Wheeling to mirror state law when it comes to which types of special purpose vehicles are permitted on roadways is likely to be passed by council this week.
Dave Palmer, a Ward 6 Wheeling City Councilman told MetroNews that constituents approached him about clarifying the laws in the city when it comes to riding vehicles such as side-by-sides on the city roads. The final reading for Traffic Code 356 is scheduled during the council meeting Tuesday.
Palmer said there had been confusion between riders and law enforcement following the state legislature passing Senate Bill 690 in April 2020 that allowed a new class of street-legal vehicles and created a registration system for them because city code did not match it.
“We did this to make it clear and concise for our citizens and law enforcement officials to know what vehicles are allowed and what vehicles are not allowed on the streets,” Palmer told MetroNews.
Palmer said the special purpose vehicles, which are defined in the ordinance as utility terrain vehicles and mini-trucks must meet several requirements under city and state code. ATVs and golf carts on city roads remain illegal.
The requirements will include the vehicle being licensed, registered, insured, and pass inspection under the law by the Division of Motor Vehicles, as stated by the code.
“You can’t just jump on a golf cart and start riding it on city streets. That is an illegal vehicle, the four-wheeler is illegal by city code. A special-purpose vehicle that is properly licensed, inspected, and insured will be legal if this ordinance passes,” Palmer said.
The councilman further said the side-by-side vehicles must have safety measures such as a roll cage, seatbelts, headlights, lights for a license plate with a plate, and an inspection sticker. Those would be needed to pass state inspection.
Street-legal special purpose vehicles are prohibited from traveling a distance greater than 20 miles on a highway, road or street displaying centerline pavement marketing, the code stated.
Palmer said riders want some freedom with these vehicles, whether headed for errands or out to dirt roads only accessible by taking a city street.
“We have a group of riders and they would like to be able to ride their vehicles to the gas station and be able to fill it up instead of hooking it onto a trailer. Those types of things,” he said.
The council meeting on Tuesday is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at the City-County Building on Chapline Street with a public hearing on the proposal.