ANDERSON — The use of golf carts on Madison County roads has been approved by the Madison County commissioners with several safety requirements included in an ordinance.
Commissioners John Richwine and Steffanie Owens voted Monday to approve the ordinance legalizing the use of golf carts on county roads, which will take effect in April. Commissioner Mike Phipps did not attend the meeting.
Ashley Hopper, county attorney, said the ordinance requires the use of seat belts, at least two headlights and taillights and turn signal.
She said the maximum allowable speed is 18 miles per hour.
The ordinance also specifies the operator must have a valid driver’s license, and no more than four passengers and no children under the age of 3 are permitted to ride in the golf cart.
Last year the commissioners approved an ordinance allowing the use of ATVs on county roads from 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
As with the ATV ordinance, the golf cart ordinance requires the owner to have liability insurance of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per incident and $25,000 for property damage.
Hopper said the penalties for illegal use of ATVs on county roads will be $100 for a first violation, $250 for a second violation and $500 for each subsequent violation of the ordinance.
“A lot of people already have golf carts,” Richwine said. “They are utilizing them now without rules and regulations.”
Several Madison County towns have made the use of golf carts legal on streets with requirements for lights, flags and turn signals.
The commissioners voted 2-1 last October to make legal the use of ATVs on all county roads. Commissioner Mike Phipps cast the no vote, wanting to limit where the vehicles could be used in the county.
The use of snowmobiles on county roads is prohibited except when a snow emergency is declared by the commissioners.
Hopper previously said the legal use of snowmobiles will be allowed when a “yellow” snow emergency alert is issued.
Phipps made a motion to modify the ordinance to allow ATVs to be used for agricultural purposes only, which failed because there was no second.
Provisions of the ATV ordinance include: Use 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset; riders under the age of 14 are required to wear a helmet; a valid driver’s license is mandatory; operation under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited; transporting a loaded firearm or bow is prohibited; and a working muffler is required.
In central Indiana, Tipton, Carroll, Cass and Miami counties have legalized the use of off-road vehicles.
Their use is legal in about half of Indiana’s 92 counties, predominantly in those counties south of Interstate 70.