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Side-by-side utility task vehicles now allowed on Austin city roadways

In order to drive one on city roads, you have to get a permit through the city and your UTV must meet safety requirements.

Posted: Oct. 15, 2018 10:44 PM

AUSTIN, Minn. - Starting on Monday, permits are being issued for a different kind of vehicle on city streets in Austin.

They're called Utility Task Vehicles or side-by-side UTVs.

Jeff Trimble is co-owner of Trimble's Cycle Center. He thinks the new city ordinance will be convenient for people who have the off-road vehicles.

"You can legally operate them on county and township roads with the DNR registration," Trimble said. "I think have the city operations is just going to be a little added plus for the people. Not that they're going to buzz around town and cruise all day on it, but it will be a mode of transportation for some year round."

While others believe off-road is where they should stay due to safety concerns.

"It would be a traffic hazard, because no one in the city is used to that," Maren Lemke, an Austin resident, said. "In the country, that's kind of normal."

The city is trying to make it safer by requiring the vehicles to have certain features, including: a seat belt, head lamps, tail lamps, turn signals, a rearview mirror, as well as a windshield or an eye protective device.

Plus, the person behind the wheel must have a permit. A permit to drive a UTV on city roads will cost $30 year.

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