Golf cart use on Bloomfield streets draws discussion, but no action

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Discussion turned to the pros and cons of legalizing golf carts on the streets of Bloomfield during its town council meeting on Tuesday.

The topic was brought up by a Bloomfield resident during the meeting's public participation forum.

Town Council President Eric Harrah explained that currently mopeds and scooters can be legally used for transportation within the town limits, but golf carts and four-wheelers are prohibited.

"Probably by not having golf carts we could possibly be penalizing responsible adults because kids who are 14-years old can ride around on a scooter anyway," Harrah explained.

Town Marshal Ken Tharp said that the current town ordinance would allow him to impound a golf cart that was driven within the town limits.

According to state statute, golf carts are considered recreational off-the-road vehicles, Tharp noted.

In the past, Harrah stressed his main concern about legalizing golf carts had a lot to do with non-licensed kids driving them.

The same resident also inquired whether or not golf carts could be driven in the upcoming Apple Festival Parade--which is scheduled for Sunday.

Former Town Marshal Bob Richardson joined the conversation and said, "We've had four-wheelers (in the parade) before."

Tharp then explained, "I think the parade is a special event in town and it would be kind of overlooked…if the Apple Festival approved you to be in the parade then you can be in the parade."

Harrah explained, "I see both sides. I was mostly against it in the past…but only looking at bad things that could happen…"

Council Member Gary Swinney agreed with Harrah and explained that the council's past decision to not allow golf carts on the streets was based entirely upon the cons.

The decision was originally made when Swinney, Harrah and the late Russell Basye made up the council, Swinney noted.

Tharp also stressed that allowing golf carts to be legally driven in town would call for writing a whole new book of codes for violations.

Another con noted by Tharp was possible insurance rate increases.

"I'm looking at the big picture," Tharp added.

Harrah also requested some feedback from those at the meeting.

He asked if those in favor of passing a golf cart ordinance would be willing to pay a registration fee and if so what fee would fee feasible.

The majority of those at the meeting agreed that paying an annual fee would be acceptable. Some suggested that the fee be as low as $25.

Harrah stressed that some towns require an annual fee as high as $140 for golf cart registration.

Some towns also require an annual safety inspection of all golf carts, he said.

No action was taken on the golf cart discussion.

Harrah as well as those in attendance were happy with the matter being brought to the table.

"If you do it (legalize golf carts) do it the right way," Harrah stressed--noting that the discussion was a great opportunity to hear from the public on the idea.

View 11 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • They would have to allow them in the parade anyways. There is actually an ordinance that says horses may not be riden in town limits. I have heard a few months ago someone rode a horse to Sharon's Bar and was given a ticket. So if they allow these and even four wheelers then golf carts should be to.

    Insurance rates go up??? I took it as he meant that person's insurance. Most people that have them also have insurance as it is required when they are taking them to camp grounds.

    Drawing up an oridinance is part of the town boards job description. I don't see that as a con. What I do see could be a con is if it would be passed and the town police are against the idea and don't enforce it.

    -- Posted by Aaron on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 9:21 PM
  • I guess it would be city streets only. Just like in Linton I'd guess that it would only be allowed to cross state roads at 90 degree angles. They are talking of making a trail to IGA for handicap people and others walking to IGA and all the other stores down there. Maybe they could look at golf carts with this to. I'm sure there would be handicap people using golf carts as well.

    -- Posted by Aaron on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 11:15 PM
  • I think if someone were to actually research the law, they would find out that Golf carts are NOT considered off road vehicles (according to IC 14-8-2-185(c)(8)) and therefore would not be legal to drive anywhere except on private property owned by the golfcart owner or a golf course or cart community. Call your insurance agent.

    The problem is that they seem more safe than 4wheelers, but are not legal to drive.

    -- Posted by hmmph on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 3:50 AM
  • I don't think that golf carts should be allowed on the highways. They don't go that fast, but in town I don't see where the problem is.

    I haven't heard where someone has been killed from a golf cart accident yet??

    Unlike some 4-wheelers....

    -- Posted by justsoyouknow on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 7:47 AM
  • Well, this seems to be an issue in most small towns.. In Florida, the most populated by seniors, it is legal to drive a golf cart as long as it has a orange slow moving sign in the back and a flashing blue or red light on the top to come on when the headlights are on after dark, also they have to be insured for any liablility and not to be driven by anyone without a drivers license. Why is this more of an issue than the Amish and the horse drawn wagons? They are allowed on the streets as well as on the highways! Agreed, golfcarts are much safer than ATV! In force an ordinance stating the exact requirements and only those following such will be allowed to drive them in town... Let's not discrimenate against us who have them and are responisible adults.. Thank You!

    -- Posted by Proud to live in Linton on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 8:42 AM
  • Received this in the mail....

    Golf carts would seemingly fall under IC9-21-9 dealing with slow moving vehicles. A slow moving vehicle is defined as "a vehicle that is (1) pulled; (2) towed; (3) self-propelled; or (4) animal-drawn; that is not under ordinary circumstances moved, operated, or driven at a speed greater that 25 miles per hour.

    While the Code does not profibit slow moving vehicles from traveling on public highways, there are specific requirements and restrictions. Slow moving vehicles must display a triangular slow moving vehicle emblem that is to be entirely visible from the rear, day or night. Also, slow moving vehicles must display a red or amber flashing light at times when headlamps are necessary for other motor vehicles. This light must be visible from a distance of no less than 500 feet from the rear of the vehicle. Violation of any of one of these regulations is a punishable as a Class C infraction.

    In addition to physical requirements, Indiana Code 9-21-5-7 provides that a person may not drive a motor vehicle at a slow speed that impedes or blocks the normal flow of traffic. "A person who is driving at a slow speed so that three (3) or more other vehicles are blocked and cannot pass on the left around the vehicle shall give right-of-way to the other vehicles by pulling off to the right of the right lane at the earliest reasonable opportunity and allowing the blocked vehicles to pass." The penalty for violating this section is a Class C infraction.

    As the law is written now, it is legal for golf carts to be operated on public highways in Indiana. However, law enforcement should be made aware of the safety requirements necessary for golf carts to be operated on public roads.

    Re: The Indiana Prosecutor October 2006

    Received Nov. 6, 2006 from the Knox Co. Prosecutors Office

    If the law allows for horse drawn buggies on our street and highways... golf carts should be also!

    -- Posted by Proud to live in Linton on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 9:03 AM
  • IC 14-19-1-0.5

    "Motorized cart"

    Sec. 0.5. (a) "Motorized cart" means a conveyance that is:

    (1) motor driven, either by gas or electricity;

    (2) used to carry passengers or equipment; and

    (3) smaller than the types of motor vehicles required to be registered by the bureau of motor vehicles such as a:

    (A) passenger motor vehicle (as defined in IC 9-13-2-123);

    (B) recreational vehicle (as defined in IC 9-13-2-150); or

    (C) truck (as defined in IC 9-13-2-188).

    A motorized cart may be characterized as a golf cart, utility cart, or similar form of motor vehicle.

    (b) The term does not include:

    (1) an electric personal assistive mobility device (as defined in IC 9-13-2-49.3);

    (2) a motorcycle (as defined in IC 9-13-2-108);

    (3) a motor scooter (as defined in IC 9-13-2-104);

    (4) a motorized bicycle (as defined in IC 9-13-2-109); or

    (5) an off-road vehicle.

    As added by P.L.225-2005, SEC.14.

    -- Posted by Aaron on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 2:52 PM
  • -- Posted by Aaron on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 3:29 PM
  • How about the angle that it saves GASOLINE - also may take add a little to the life cycle of your car not being used so much for errands. I firmly think rules and boundries for Golf Carts?ATVs should be in place. Lights, horns, signal and maybe even a yellow strobe light when the key is turned on to alert people around a smaller than normal vehicle is in the area.

    -- Posted by gary g on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 8:15 PM
  • Grandma3 -- I like your comments.

    -- Posted by gary g on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 8:18 PM
  • I wonder what would happen if you were to be in an accident? My wife used to sell insurance and they would not cover a golf cart unless it was on private property or a course or in a golf cart community. Hate to be in an accident ot get a ticket for no insurance. WIsh we had the answers, a golf cart it the best/most efficient way to toodle in town. Any Insurance people out there?

    -- Posted by hmmph on Wed, Oct 3, 2007, at 9:27 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: