Golf Carts On The Street

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City Ordinance Goes Into Affect April 1

By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

There wasn’t a big line. In fact, there was no line. But Tim O’Connor still wanted to be the first one in it.

    O’Connor was the first Glenwood resident to seek and be granted a permit to drive his golf cart on Glenwood’s residential streets last week. Last October, Glenwood’s City Council approved an ordinance to allow citizens to operate golf carts on city streets, with a vehicle safety check and a special permit.
    The new ordinance goes into affect April 1.
    O’Connor, who said he golfs a lot, had been storing his golf cart at the Glenwood Golf Course year-round. With the new law, he’ll store his cart in his garage.
    “I’ll drive it to and from home, to the golf course, to the store,  pretty much anywhere around town,” said O’Connor, who lives on South Hazel Street.
    The new ordinance requires the gas or electric-powered golf carts to be used during daylight hours only, and drivers must follow all traffic codes and have working head and brake lights. Vehicles also must have a visible slow-moving vehicle sign and a bicycle safety flag a minimum of five feet from the ground. The carts can only be operated on city streets between April 1 - Oct. 31 and are prohibited from driving on Sharp Street and Locust Street.
    Operators must be 18 years old and are required to purchase a permit to operate the vehicle at a cost of $25.
    There's no official count on how many Iowa towns have similar ordinances permitting golf carts on city streets. Clarinda has had a similar ordinance for more than a decade.
    O’Connor spent about $200 upgrading his golf cart to meet the code requirements.
    “I got a horn, turn signals and rearview mirror on it too, so  I could have gone cheaper but I wanted to take the extra step,” O’Connor said.
    Several friends have told O’Connor they also plan to get the permits.
    O’Connor was part of the grass roots effort to get the new ordinance passed. He lobbied the city council and attended public safety committee meetings in the month leading up to the Oct. 25 vote.
    “And here we are,” O’Connor said.
    Golf cart permits can be obtained through the Glenwood Police Department.