Golf carts on city and village streets, which have been popular in many communities, got approval from Toledo City Council this week. A valid driver’s license will be required.
(CLEVELAND) PLAIN DEALER Enlarge
Toledo City Council approved recreational and commercial use of golf carts and low-speed vehicles on public streets within designated areas of the city through at least the end of next year.
The vehicles — which must be street legal with lights, brakes, a horn, and seat belts — can be operated April 1 through Dec. 31, 2018, in Point Place, the Old West End, the Warehouse District, downtown, a stretch that runs from the Old West End to the Toledo Museum of Art, and across the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge to International Park in East Toledo.
Starting Jan. 1, a new Ohio traffic law went into effect allowing golf carts on all Ohio roadways with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.
Toledo City Council voted 9-3 Tuesday in favor of the golf cart recreational ordinance with councilmen Rob Ludeman, Sandy Spang, and Matt Cherry voting no. A separate, but related, new commercial use law for the vehicles was approved 10-2. Mr. Ludeman voted in favor of it.
“I am concerned about the safety factor,” Mr. Ludeman said. “Commercially, I think if you have licensed drivers chauffeuring people around, it’s safer.”
John Madigan, senior attorney for the city, said Ohio cities that want to allow the vehicles on roadways needed to pass authorizing legislation.
“What are called under-speed vehicles were allowed on city streets as long as the city approved them on city streets,” Mr. Madigan said. “For low-speed vehicles like ATVs, minitrucks, all purpose vehicles — things that can go up to 25 miles per hour — those were allowed on city streets unless cities decided to limit them.”
The commercial golf carts and low-speed vehicles were added into the city’s existing law governing pedicabs.
Councilman Lindsay Webb first pitched the idea in December when she asked for a pilot program to run from April 1 to Dec. 31, 2017, in Point Place and the Old West End. The idea was expanded to include the other areas.
Owners or operators of any golf cart would have to pay $25 before it could be used on city streets. Drivers must be at least 16 and hold a valid driver’s license.
Golf carts are used in other communities, including many of Toledo’s suburbs and in the village of Put-in-Bay, where they are popular among tourists.