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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "What Happens When Golf Carts Hit the Streets?"

Over the years, the ILB has a very long list of entries on the use of golf carts on the streets of Indiana cities and towns, as well as on some county roads.

Last week the Elkhart Truth run a story by Shawn McGrath headed "Golf carts will now be allowed on low-traffic Elkhart County roads." - some quotes:

GOSHEN — After about 10 years of on-and-off wrangling, Elkhart County residents will be able to drive golf carts and low-speed vehicles on less-traveled roads in unincorporated areas.

Elkhart County commissioners unanimously approved amending the county’s traffic code during a meeting Monday allowing the change, which goes into effect Dec. 1.

“In the early going, we thought this was only a relatively small group that cared about this, and over the years the supporters have been very persistent,” Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder said. “From my perspective, I’ve seen a shift in transportation preferences ... within residential areas that happen to be adjacent to schools, to athletic facilities. People have been asking for the option to use these types of vehicles.”

The golf cart issue has been around for at least a decade, according to Yoder, but had been muted until a resident approached commissioners about permitting their use on county roads in 2014. Yoder sees golf carts as an alternative to reliance on automobiles.

The change isn’t without critics, however. * * *

Per the new ordinance, golf cart drivers must be age 16 or older, have a driver’s license and insurance and avoid driving on state highways and numbered county roads.

Drivers are permitted to cross numbered county roads or state highways, but they won't be able to take carts on sidewalks and bike paths, according to the ordinance. Drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts and obey all traffic rules. They can only be driven during the daytime. Carts can only have as many passengers as there are factory-installed seats.

Along with seatbelts, the carts must be equipped with brakes, front and rear turn lights and a rearview mirror. Violators can be fined up to $200, according to the ordinance.

ILB: The "ten years" sounds about right, the first ILB golf cart posts were from 2006, and involved the Town of Lebanon, including a story from the Lebanon Reporter headed "State police considering crackdown on golf carts."

Meanwhile, the PEW publication, Stateline, had a story last week by Jenni Bergal headed "What Happens When Golf Carts Hit the Streets?" A sample:

At least two dozen states have passed laws authorizing local governments to allow golf carts on public roads and regulate their use, said Amanda Essex, a policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many states prohibit them from being driven at night, limit them to roads with slower speed limits, or require their drivers to have a license.

At least four states — California, Louisiana, Nebraska and South Carolina — enacted legislation related to golf carts last year and at least nine others considered it, Essex said.

And it’s not just a Sun Belt thing. Cities in states such as Minnesota and Illinois permit golf carts on some local streets. In all, more than 350 cities and counties have adopted laws that allow golf carts on their roads, many in the last few years, according to the International Light Transportation Vehicle Association, a trade group that represents golf cart manufacturers.

“They’re simple to operate and maintain, they’re less costly, and they’re a boon to the environment,” said Fred Somers, the trade association’s general counsel. “As the years go by, people want the freedom of making short runs in a vehicle that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on November 16, 2016 09:13 AM
Posted to Indiana Government