By Mitchell Banks | The Tribune
Seymour City Council recently agreed to consider a city man’s request to make side-by-sides be legal on city streets.
Joe Wright told the council during their meeting on Monday night that based upon his research, side-by-sides are safer than a motorcycle or moped, lighter than a car and would allow people to have a better quality of life in the city.
A side-by-side is a four-wheel, off-road vehicle with seats that allow riders to sit next to each other, hence the name. Currently, they are not street legal in Seymour, but they are street legal in Jackson County, Brownstown and Crothersville.
State law forbids the public from driving side-by-sides on public highways, but they are allowed to cross public highways.
Wright said he’s allowed to ride his side-by-side on public highways because his is plated in Montana, and Indiana honors the license plate of another side-by-side in another state as long as traffic laws are obeyed.
Councilman Bret Cunningham said when looking at locations where side-by-sides are allowed, they are typically places that have smaller populations than Seymour.
Wright’s residence is in the two-mile fringe in Seymour, and Cunningham said he would want to prefer to receive input from people who live inside the city than outside city limits about whether side-by-sides should be street legal.
Mayor Matt Nicholson said the next step in the process to see about making side-by-sides street legal is to have the council’s thoroughfare and drainage committee discuss the issue.
The committee, which consists of Cunningham and Councilmen Drew Storey, and Jerry Hackney, received a packet of ordinances from other communities that allowed side-by-sides to review.
Nicholson said the largest city close to Seymour in population that allowed side-by-side was Connersville, which has around 14,000 people.
According to the 2020 Census, Seymour’s population stands at 21,569.
Storey said the conversation has always been welcomed regarding side-by-sides being driven on city streets, and Nicholson thanked Wright since he was the first to come to the council to ask about it.
While the council has received feedback three times that there is a demand for side-by-sides to be street legal in Seymour, no one has come to the council and asked them about it.
The thoroughfare and drainage committee plans to review the ordinances before the next city council meeting and provide a timeline as to when discussions can happen about making side-by-sides street legal, Storey said.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 27 in the training room at the Seymour Police Department at 205 N. Ewing St.