Valley Falls officials strive to legalize the ‘Gordon Affect’
by Clarke Davis
Valley Falls city officials spent an hour Oct. 5 trying to decide how to let anyone 13 and older drive practically any motorized conveyance on city streets without running afoul of the law.
The council has spent two sessions trying to adopt the state’s standard traffic ordinances for cities, which outlaws golf carts, all-terrain vehicles, go-carts, and other utility vehicles that are not tagged like vehicles.
Administrator Chris Channell took notes and will attempt to come back with a sample ordinance at the Oct. 19 meeting that will meet the council’s desires.
A copy of a Meriden ordinance was passed around that requires insurance as well as some equipment, such as headlights on golf carts.
Officials talked about restricting these vehicles to daylight hours only. Insurance was also discussed but got complicated and was given up.
Councilwoman Lucy Thomas said she favored liability insurance to be required. She argued that if they hit someone who has $1,000 deductible insurance, their insurance should cover the cost.
Councilman Todd Harrington asked Police Chief Josh Pence if he would ticket people driving these various vehicles if the council did not exclude them. The chief’s reply, “I would have to.”
The gist of the discussion was a desire to return to the “old days” when some felt common sense trumped laws and lawyers. Harrington made it plain that he wanted to see the “Gordon affect” applied. By that he meant that former Police Chief Gordon Bledsoe allowed certain things to happen until someone got out of control or was not being responsible at which time they were told to “Get home!”
The topic will be back on the agenda Oct. 19.
Mayor Charles Stutesman presided with four council members present. Jo Tichenor was absent.
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