LaPorte considers legalizing golf carts on streets

2012-05-22T18:15:00Z 2012-05-22T23:46:05Z LaPorte considers legalizing golf carts on streetsBy Stan Maddux Times Correspondent
May 22, 2012 6:15 pm  • 

LAPORTE | The city is looking into legalizing golf carts on city streets.

A proposed ordinance emerged after a few residents expressed a desire to legally operate golf carts to save on the cost of gas.

City Councilman Cary Kirkham said he had the measure drafted as a courtesy to the constituents and to give his colleagues a chance to decide the issue.

''I don't know if it would enhance the quality of life in LaPorte, but when citizens come to us we try to do something for them if we think it's worthwhile,'' Kirkham said.

Citing safety concerns, the City Council on Monday night sent the ordinance to the traffic commission for review.

Under the measure, golf carts could be driven only on city streets and alleys from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. from April 1 to Nov. 1. Carts would have to pass inspection by the city and be permitted for the season at a cost of $25. No child under age 2 could ride in a golf cart, and children over 2 would have to be properly restrained.

Golf cart drivers would be required to have a valid Indiana driver's license.

Local resident Sierra Sue Jesch thought all adults, whether licensed or not, should be allowed to operate a golf cart. She said there are elderly people who are no longer able to drive at the speeds a motor vehicle can reach, but capable of operating a slower-moving golf cart.

Kirkham said allowing unlicensed drivers could pose a danger if too many golf carts were on the streets and if drivers lacking the skills to operate safely are at the controls.

Other proposed requirements include having a slow-moving vehicle sign or flashing yellow light on the back and equipping the cart with a full windshield. The traffic commission is expected to take up the matter June 5.

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