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story.lead_photo.caption A group of SPIN scooters are parked in a line Thursday along the Pat Jones Pedestrian Bicycle Lane. The Jefferson City Public Safety Committee has proposed an amendment to group "motorized bicycles," like Segways, in the same category as the SPIN electric scooters, which would allow their use within city limits. Photo by Sally Ince / News Tribune.

Jefferson City residents and visitors may soon be allowed to ride electronic transportation devices like Segways within city limits.

The Jefferson City Public Safety Committee recommended amending Chapter 19 of the city code to better define "motorized bicycle," a device that can't travel faster than 30 mph.

The Jefferson City Council will vote on the amendment in September.

Under current city code, a motorized bicycle is a two-wheeled or three-wheeled device that has "fully operative pedals capable of propulsion by human power, an automatic transmission and a motor with a cylinder capacity of not more than 50 cubic centimeters." The motorized bicycle must also produce less than two gross brake horsepower.

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The electric scooters available through SPIN are considered motorized bicycles under city code, City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said. However, it is unclear whether self-balancing vehicles like Segways would be permitted, he added.

The amendments would remove "fully operative pedals capable of propulsion by human power," change two gross brake horsepower to three, and add clarification language.

"When you couple things like Segways with the new electronic scooters and then the rise in popularity of e-bikes, we thought it was kind of a better way to move away from the uncertainty and move into, 'OK, this is how we're going to deal with these, how we're going to treat these within the city, all of these devices,'" Moehlman said.

While the city has not received many requests to use self-balancing vehicles like Segways in Jefferson City, Moehlman said, a resident who uses one as transportation did tell city staff she has experienced resistance regarding whether she can use it.

Riders must ride motorized bicycles on the street, not the sidewalk, Moehlman said.

Ward 2 Councilman Rick Mihalevich said he is concerned it would be difficult to see the self-balancing vehicles at night. He added it is difficult for drivers to see the SPIN scooters at night if their vehicles are behind the scooters.

Committee members said they want police officers to contact them with their thoughts on the proposal.

Fire Department to purchase land

In other business at Thursday's meeting, Jefferson City Fire Chief Matt Schofield said the city is  finalizing the purchase of 0.77 acre east of Fire Station No. 1, 621 W. High St. The land will primarily be used as buffer space between the station and the railroad tracks, Schofield said.

The Jefferson City Housing Authority owns the land, Schofield said, adding the city offered to purchase the land for $10, and the Housing Authority accepted the offer.

The Jefferson City Fire Department has maintained that grassy area for about 30 years.

The Public Safety Committee voted to move the proposed purchase to the City Council. Schofield said he is unsure when the council will review the purchase.

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