Police Chief on new side by side ordinance for Sleepy Eye

Matt Andres, Chief of Police, City of Sleepy Eye

This month I would like to bring some clarity to the new side by side ordinance that has recently gone into effect in Sleepy Eye.

Snowmobiles and 4 wheelers (ATVs) are not allowed on city streets except on a direct path to leave the city limits. They may only travel at 10 miles per hour and must stay on the extreme right side of the roadway. They may cross highways at a 90-degree angle and must yield to all other vehicles on the road. Front and rear lights must be illuminated, and the driver must comply with all state laws regarding age and safety equipment.

Golf carts, minibikes, dune buggies, go carts, and any similar vehicles are not allowed on Sleepy Eye streets. Those rules have been in place for a long time in Sleepy Eye.

The big change is with the Class 2 ATVs also known as side by sides. Side by sides are now allowed to travel on the streets of Sleepy Eye just like a car, truck, or motorcycle. The simplest way to think of driving a side by side is to treat it like your car or truck. They are subject to all Minnesota driving laws plus a few additional provisions in the city’s ordnance.

•First off, any side by side driver must posses a Class 2 permit from the city. This is required by the State of Minnesota and the permit will be valid for three years. A permit can be obtained in person or online through the City’s website. To obtain a permit you must possess a valid driver’s license and have proof of insurance for the side by side you plan on driving.

•Passengers and drivers in a side by side must be in a seat and wear a seatbelt.

•Passengers and drivers under the of 18 must wear a helmet.

•Side by sides operated on city streets must have working head and taillights as well as turn signals and brake lights.

•Drivers and passengers must wear eye protection or the side by side must have a wind screen or wind shield.

This ordinance change allows much more use of side by sides in Sleepy Eye. Before this change they were under the same rules as snowmobiles and 4 wheelers. Please drive safe and use good judgement when operating any of these vehicles in Sleepy Eye. As a department we don’t want to limit people from using these vehicles we just want people to exercise caution and operate them in a manner that keeps everyone using the streets safe.