golf cart

After reading the article in last week’s Herald Leader regarding permitting ATV/UTV vehicles and golf cart/LSVs to use city streets I have to say that I am more than concerned about the safety and enforcement issues that this would cause. I found the following information on the use of off-road vehicles from the state:

The Iowa Code 321.247 requirements for golf carts:

• Persons must possess a valid driver’s license

• Carts be equipped with a slow-moving vehicle sign and a bicycle safety flag

• Operate on city streets from sunrise to sunset only

• Be equipped with adequate brakes and meet governing body safety requirements.

• This applies if the golf carts and other similar vehicles are incapable of exceeding 20 mph then they are subject to only state and local requirements regarding safety

If classified as an LSV (Low Speed Vehicle) then:

• Has four wheels

• Can reach a speed of more than 20 mph but not more than 25 mph

• Has a VIN and manufacturer’s certificate of origin

• Certified to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The Federal Standards for LSVs: The standard require low-speed vehicles to be equipped with headlamps, stop lamps, turn signal lamps, taillamps, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields, seat belts, and vehicle identification numbers.

• Require valid driver license, registration and insurance.

• Not to be operated on any roadway with a speed limit above 35 mph.

A LSV is a golf cart on steroids and many people cannot tell the difference so how hard would it be to enforce any ordinances??

It is hard enough to navigate through the streets and corners of town with parking permitted so close to intersections that I shudder at the prospect of a golf cart and ATV or car colliding. ATVs and UTVs are classified as four-wheeler, off-road vehicles. There is a reason they are built for off roads and not hard surface streets. Their low-pressure tires are not suited for street driving and the UTVs are very narrow, top-heavy, and look safer because they have a steering wheel, roll bar and seat belts (which are useless if not used). The vehicles are unstable on flat terrain at high speed, and accidents on roads kill more than 300 riders each year. The use of public roads appalls public health officials and is generally opposed by the manufacturers.

You can obtain a safety certificate to operate ATV/UTV when you are 12 years old. Will we be allowing a 12-year-old to operate an ATV or UTV on our city streets?

The alley between 2nd and 3rd Streets is one designated off-road vehicle route and yet I have seen many UTVs on 2nd Street illegally. (This is not during times of city sanctioned events where the police, fire department and/or ambulance service uses their off-road vehicles for special events.)

We have current off-road vehicle routes to navigate through and around the city, and I feel that they are adequate. Add to the fact that it is difficult at best to enforce the regulations we currently have. Bellevue simply does not have the resources to dedicate to policing Off- Road vehicle and Golf Cart use within the city limits on the streets.

Add to the mix the hundreds of bicycles, motorcycles, scooters and pedestrians, the block to block parking, street parking for boats and RVs and trucks and we end up with an accident ready to happen. I can’t even think of how people allow their young children to ride in these vehicles without adequate protection – and I see this all the time.

I am aware that many people in Bellevue have spent substantial amounts of money to buy and maintain their carts and off-road vehicles – but that was a choice and they should have known the restrictions at the time. These vehicles should be used for what they were intended, and I feel allowing them access to our city streets would be impractical and a public hazard and nuisance.

Susan Huehnergarth

Bellevue, Iowa