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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From fairway to roadway

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Prosecutor: State law allows golf cart use on streets

By ADAM COATES, Staff Writer

GREENCASTLE -- Golf carts are a more common sight on golf courses than they are on road courses, but that doesn't have to be the case, according to Indiana law.

A recent issue of the Indiana Prosecutor revealed that golf carts are in fact allowed on public roads in Indiana because they fall under the classification of a slow-moving vehicle.

Indiana Code 9-21-9 defines a slow-moving vehicle as one that is "pulled, towed, self-propelled, animal-drawn; that is not under ordinary circumstances moved, operated, or driven at a speed greater than 25 mph."

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter, who has received numerous complaints and questions about golf carts on town streets, says this means it is perfectly legal for people to drive golf carts on public roadways.

Still, this doesn't mean owners can simply throw caution to the wind.

Just as with all other slow-moving vehicles, golf carts must display a triangular slow-moving vehicle emblem on the back and a red or amber colored flashing light that is visible no less than 500 feet away from the vehicle, the magazine article states.

Additionally, golf cart drivers must stay as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible and must move over on the shoulder to allow faster vehicles to pass.

A violation of any of these rules puts drivers at risk of a Class C Infraction.

"To me, you've still got to use good judgment and I'd say you should stay off major roads," Bookwalter said.

Bookwalter admits he didn't know what state law had to say about such matters but was compelled to do some research after receiving so many calls from residents and law enforcement officials.

He wonders if this will help put an end to some of the squabbling that has been occurring in places like Cloverdale and Heritage Lake.

"My feedback, from the law enforcement I spoke with, was that they'll abide by this decision," Bookwalter said.

According to information from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC), 14 states have laws prohibiting golf cart use on public highways, while other states allow them under certain circumstances.

California Code, according to the IPAC, prohibits golf carts on highways except for areas where the speed limit is less than 25 mph.

Florida law allows towns and cities to decide whether certain streets can be designated for golf cart use.

Arkansas law allows cart owners to drive their golf carts on public highways if they are going from their home to the golf course.

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