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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ind. Law - More on "Mitchell could reauthorize golf carts on town streets under new law"

Updating this ILB entry from May 19th, re HEA 1483, two stories:

"Golf cart decision ahead for city" is the headline to a story dated May 20th in the Bluffton News-Banner, reported by Dave Schultz:

The legislature has given Indiana cities and towns permission to allow golf carts on their streets and highways, effective July 1. Bluffton Common Council members will be considering options next month.

City Attorney Andrew Carnall told council members Tuesday night that the Indiana General Assembly, in House Enrolled Act 1483, has exempted golf carts from rules that have that have kept them off of city streets. As a result, the council must decide whether to give the green light to the electric slow-speed vehicles.

The issue had come up before, in Bluffton and in front of other city and town councils throughout the state. When gasoline was at $4 a gallon, which was the status about a year ago, many Hoosiers wanted to take their golf carts out for errands — and some municipalities passed ordinances allowing them to do so. However, the Indiana State Police said that any vehicle on a public road must be licensed, must have headlights and windshields, and must follow other requirements set forth by state law.

The legislature specifically removed golf carts from those requirements, however. If an Indiana city or town approves legislation, golf carts can legally be operated on city streets.

Carnall said he would research potential ordinances and would get back to council members at their June 2 meeting.

Council members realize they would have a decision to make.

“Give it some thought,” Mayor Ted Ellis said.

“You’d want to have something in place by July 1, definitely,” Carnall said.

Council member Bette Erxleben wondered if cars would be held up by golf carts on Main Street, which is Ind. 1. She also wondered if flashing lights could be required on top of them; Ellis wondered about requiring the 10-foot-tall “bicycle flags” that help call attention to slow-moving vehicles.

“I’ve had people say to me that on Main Street, it’s probably not appropriate,” council member Michael Morrissey said.

Ellis said he knows that some of the people who have asked about using golf carts in city streets are aware of the new legislation, and he expects them to return to an upcoming council meeting to press their case.

The same day, this story, reported by Ron Hamlton, appeared in the Shelbyville News:
Although Hoosier communities may now enact local ordinances allowing residents to drive golf carts on city streets, alleys and roadways, don't look for them any time soon in Shelbyville, according to city officials.

"In my opinion, our city roadways and streets are no place for golf carts," said Mayor Scott Furgeson. "They are unsafe, hard to see and dangerous. I definitely will not encourage the city council members to pass ordinances allowing them to be legally driven on our city streets." * * *

"If the council asks my opinion regarding the use of golf carts on city roads and streets, I would strongly advise them against it," said city Police Chief Bill Elliott. "They are slow moving and are difficult to see. They roll over easily and are not built well enough to protect occupants from even the slightest of impacts with other vehicles or stationary objects."

The chief noted that it would be very difficult to get anywhere in Shelbyville with a golf cart without driving illegally on state highways like North and South Harrison streets, which are part of State Road 9, and East Broadway Street and East Michigan Road, which are part of State Road 44.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 27, 2009 08:50 AM
Posted to Indiana Law