Kids still OK in side-by-sides
Families that like to take their younger – or at least shorter – members out to the dunes and other off-road areas in side-by-sides and sandrails recently dodged what was essentially a height requirement when a new California law was promptly amended after off-roader outcry.
This year, Assembly Bill 1595 was passed outlining safety requirements for recreational off-highway vehicles with non-straddle seating. A provision that required passengers to be able to ride with both feet flat on the floorboard, while strapped in, back against the backrest and holding onto the grab bar, put a chill through families, as it would have prevented children and small adults from riding in the vehicles. The law was approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in July.
But in August, bill author Assemblyman Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) and two colleagues penned a fix, AB 1266, eliminating the “feet flat on the floorboards” section. It also delayed a provision banning non-factory seats, allowing a more permanent fix to be drafted and sent through committees in the next legislative session. The adjusted law went into effect this month.
The law still requires the vehicle operator to be at least 16 years old (or supervised by a parent or other adult), and for operators and passengers to wear helmets along with seatbelts and shoulder belts or safety harnesses.