Motorized wheelchairs on public streets raise concerns

Motorized wheelchairs on public streets raise concerns

August 8th, 2012 by Tom Davis in News

Dayton City Mayor Bob Vincent

Dayton City Mayor Bob Vincent

Photo by Cliff Hightower

DAYTON, Tenn. -- Dayton officials will consider regulations for motorized wheelchairs used on public streets after safety concerns expressed at the City Council meeting Monday.

Mayor Bob Vincent said several residents have contacted him about the chairs, and Councilman Steve Randolph said he has "had experience with that. I was coming through town after dark and two of them were riding side-by-side in the parking lane until they came to an intersection. Then they moved into the street."

Police Chief Chris Sneed said, "Overnight it seems they have gone from one or two [users] to about 20. We've had one [rider] hit" in the downtown area.

Council members said they had particular problems with the wheelchairs being driven on city streets after dark, with no lights or other safety features.

City Attorney Susan Arnold said she and Sneed would look into the matter to determine if anything can or should be done. She also said that, unlike with other vehicles, there might be considerations involving provisions of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Meeting earlier as the Dayton City School board, the panel heard a report from system Superintendent Mike Latham that 811 students had enrolled through Monday.

"I think by Friday, after the county schools start, we'll end up with more," Latham said.

Tom Davis is based in Dayton. Contact him at