Proposed Bill Would Let Towns Set Speed Limits For Golf Carts - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Proposed Bill Would Let Towns Set Speed Limits For Golf Carts

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio (AP) - Golf carts that zoom around this Lake Erie island village may soon need to slow down.

A state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would allow towns to set speed limits for golf carts that travel on roadways.

Golf carts and other under-speed vehicles -- some capable of holding at least six passengers -- are popular among South Bass Island residents and tourists because of the island's small size.

Put-in-Bay only has 16 miles of roads.

But Mayor John Blatt said some carts that can race as fast as 55 mph are dangerous.

Blatt asked lawmakers for help last fall because there are no clear laws on whether towns can enforce speed limits on golf carts.

Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, introduced legislation this week that would give officials the ability to regulate those speeds.

"My goal is to end the confusion," Gardner said.

Blatt said he wants both rental golf carts and privately owned carts to have a 20 mph speed limit. Put-in-Bay police have said they've clocked carts traveling at speeds over 55 mph.

Blatt said paramedics report having three or four serious golf cart accidents per week during the busy tourist season, which draws as many as 10,000 tourists on the weekends.

If golf carts go faster than 20 mph, they have to meet low-speed vehicle safety requirements established by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which sets the permissible speed for on-road golf carts at 25 mph.

Gardner said there is one concern that legal disputes could follow if the bill is approved. Some lawyers could argue that allowing towns to set different speed limits for golf carts conflicts with principles in Ohio's uniform traffic code.

He hopes committee hearings will begin on the legislation in two to three weeks.

Put-in-Bay, Kelleys Island, Chippewa Lake in Medina County, Millersport-Buckeye Lake in Fairfield County and Yellow Springs in Greene County are the only communities in Ohio that permit golf carts to be driven on public roads.

There are more than 3,500 golf carts licensed to residents of Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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