Low-Speed Vehicles in Reston?

Could electric Low Speed Vehicles (LSV) have a future in Reston? Do these vehicles have the potential to fill the gap between walking/cycling and a personal automobile for local travels?

Today I received a press release from the Club Car organization titled "Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs): Cool, Affordable, Earth-friendly Rides. Learn What Makes These Street-legal Vehicles the Way to Go"

The release talks about the growing popularity of these street legal vehicles that are often confused as golf carts. Advocates for these vehicles note that many of our trips around town are brief trips on roads with speed limits of 15 - 35 mph, yet we are driving large fuel inefficient vehicles.

The press release defines LSVs which are also referred to as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) as:

A motor vehicle and regulated by the NHTSA. These vehicles travel at speeds between 20 -25 mph. They are allowed on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less in most states. But they must have vehicle identification numbers, be registered and insured, and be equipped with windshields, turn signals, head and tail lights, seat belts and other safety equipment.

Last year we had a demo from about the potential for a shared transportation system with LSVs in Reston.  Click to watch a brief video of the demo. During that demo it confirmed that you can get anywhere in Reston on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

Could you see yourself or a neighbor utilizing a vehicle like this to get around Reston?


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DGeorge August 23, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Not so fast Robert. Are you also concerned about sharing the roads with bicycles, scooters, mopeds, trikes and motorcycles. All of those named are far smaller than these electric vehicles and no doubt, less safe.
Bob August 23, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Dave: Absolutely, especially the bicycles and other unlicensed vehicles--I believe they are incompatible with auto traffic. Rather than NEVs, I look forward to a route expansion and frequency of our current RIBS system, with environmentally friendly equipment.
Reston Mom August 26, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Can NEVs use the bike lanes? I don't think they belong in the same lanes as regular car/bus/truck traffic, but if they can use bicycle lanes, that might work.
Steve Gurney August 27, 2012 at 05:07 PM
When I posted this I assumed that many of the concerns might be associated with the safety of these vehicles. However, since these are street legal personal vehicles its really up to the consumer choice and whether someone would want to buy one and assume the risks (and rewards) of driving one of these. Just like a moped, there is no place for these on bike/pedestrian lanes, who knows over time there might be lanes created to accomodate these and other vehicles in communities (mopeds, Segways, NEVs, etc.) I could see tremendous value for lanes like these in Tysons as that area redevelops. One thing this speaks to is our dependance on large vehicles for safety. As a parent of two kids this is a concern of mine as well. However, my family regularly rides our bikes on nearly every road that an NEV would travel on in Reston. I certainly don't expect NEVs to populate Reston streets anytime in the near future. However, I think looking at these gives us the opportunity to review the huge potential for a culture change in the way we "get around" town.
Brian D October 20, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Bob, While bicycles may be "unlicensed," the Virginia Legislature has in fact madated that they are legal for use on non controlled access roadways under the VA Motor Vehcile Code Section 46.2-100. This would make bicycles legal on all roadways in Reston save the Dulles Toll Road. Your concern for their incompatability would be more appropriately be a topic for discussion between you and your legislator to change this section of the state motor vehicle code.


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