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Author Topic: Golf Carts / ORV Ordinance  (Read 60948 times)
srm
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« on: October 29, 2009, 08:35:26 PM »

Please note that the CLA does not take a position on this. This is a part of the CLAs effort to keep members informed.

Question from our membership: What are the golf cart rules?

A little background: I don't own a golf cart but I've drove a couple of them. Personally I bought a Jeep Wrangler for less money, goes 70mph down the highway and insurance is way cheaper.  My aunt owns an electric golf cart but is only 2 doors down from the golf course. I've drove our CLA Director John Beck's electric car around and that is very nice. The golf carts no question have the size advantage over all.

After spending a time talking with our County Sheriff Bill Barnwell I see that its a struggle for them to both uphold the law but still apply common sense. Montcalm County was doing the TR-54 inspections on the carts when they only needed lights, turn signals, seat belts, brakes lights and rear view mirrors. They were later contacted by Michigan State Police (MSP) who interprets the laws that it wasn't enough, stopped inspecting and approving the units until details could be worked out.

I talked to Cliff Fry, owner of Fry's Golf Carts LLC in Carson City. He said it has taken all summer to work it one out with MSP. He just recently got a cleared setup MSP approves of and has signed off on. He had to add additional brakes, special windshield, shoulder strap seat belt and wiper squirter. After the golf cart is purchased the owner can then bring it back to have Cliff add the $850 worth of items so the golf cart will qualify as a Michigan "Low Speed Vehicle". To qualify it must not go faster than 25mph and is limited to roads with a speed limit less than 35mph. Cliff said he can also outfit a faster unit that qualifies as a "assembled roadster" where it can go on a road with no posted minimum speed limit (a highway).  
 
The golf cart still needs to pass inspection. The Sheriff said that they are going to charge $100 for this inspection. Once inspected and cleared you can then take TR-54 and insurance policy to Secretary of State to obtain a plate for it.

If you have a previous road licensed golf cart you "might" be required to have it re-inspected when you renew the plate. If you do, you'll need to bring it up to the approved standards. Cliff said this will be $150 windshield, $80brake, $3windshield squirter and $65 shoulder seat belt = Total $298.00  I didn't ask if that included installation.

The big question everyone is asking... If I drive a standard stock unmodified golf cart around the lake to the golf course will I get ticketed?  That true answer is its up the police officer. But if you have a bag of clubs, not on 55mph Sidney Rd, older than 15 and driving properly you'll more than likely be passed on.   But if you have a beer in one hand and 4 kids hanging out you'll more than likely get nailed.... for something, or multiple somethings.

I find it rather interesting that you can ride a motorcycle or a bike and not have all those extras which leads me to the ORV side of the law. The lifted modified gas powered golf carts certainly resemble more of an ORV than golf cart.  Florida, Arizona and most Northern States like Montana have ORV laws that recognise them and allow restricted use. Michigan adopted Public Act 240 of 2008 which allowed northern counties to create their own ordinance governing and allowing the use of ORVs on their County Roads. Example: Two counties to the North you can drive an ORV on most, but not all, of the road right of ways. They have various restrictions such as no night driving, etc. Senator Alan Cropsey has proposed Montcalm, Gratiot and Isabella Counties to be amended to this Act. Assuming this gets done sometime, but is lower on the list, then it will up our County administration to handle it from there. If you want to see this through you best contact Senator Alan Cropsey and also Montcalm County board members.  The question is if ORVs drive around here anyway wouldn't it be better to reasonably allow, but provide common sense rules and education?

Here are some links and more reading...

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(doy20d55e42n5445b3ttib3j))/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=2007-HB-4323
Take a read on Lake County's ORV ordinance http://www.nrlo.net/MIORVOrdMap.html
Google Michigan Law MCL 257.25b
http://www.frysgolfcarts.com/

  

My questions?
I ask the question are golf carts safer?  Since I take a logical approach to everything I ask myself... While walking would I rather be hit by a car? While riding a bike would I rather be hit by a car? While driving a car would I rather be hit by a another car or a golf cart? I've drove one so I know that the field of view is much, much better than a car, you can stop quicker than a car and certainly don't have blind spots.  My answer to the question: Safer for everyone else around.

I ask the question is it safe for the operator and passengers? Again, logically I guess its the operators choice to drive the golf cart just like they could choose to walk, ride a bike or ride a motorcycle. So far, I haven't seen an accident "yet" but like bicycles, its a numbers game. I rarely see a golf cart do 25mph mostly because they just can't do it, but rarely do I see cars doing 25mph or less. As for weather I rarely see them being used in the rain and being cold out I haven't seen one in a while so we are really talking about only 3 to max 5 months use a year. My answer to the question: Operator choice, not as safe as a car, but certainly safer than a bike or motorcycle.

Are they better for the environment? Well, fact is they get about 60MPG and electric ones are about $.25c per charge, are quieter.  


I asked Cliff for a list of common sense rules, safe practices and laws. When I get it, I'll post it, educating common rules and guidelines like "must have a drivers license" would be a good thing and easy to post here.

I've learned a lot about golf carts checking into this but like cars, trucks, horses, bikes, motorcycles, boats, jet-skis, roller bladers and skate boarders there will always be people who like or dis-like them. Usually it is the person or person's actions that they dis-like, not the mechanical unit itself.

Do you think the golf carts have quickly grown to be common place around the lake and add to the resort atmosphere that spells... summer!?

Three discussion items here...  1. Golf carts,  2. Golf cart laws, and 3. Amending House Bill ACT 240.

What are your thoughts?

 

« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 08:42:06 AM by srm » Logged
Michael OB
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« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2009, 12:59:16 PM »

Golf carts around the lake don't bother me one bit as long as their drivers behave themselves (i.e., don't act like knuckleheads).

Golf carts have been on the streets of Sun City and Sun City West Arizona since the early '80s with great success. I say this because my folks have lived there for years (1986 to present), owned a golf cart, used it on the streets all the time, and never had a problem.

The only modifications that their cart required were as follows:
  • Horn
  • Rear-view mirror
  • Turn signals
  • Brake lights
  • Head lights
  • Seat belt (driver only)

Not sure if this is worth anything in this discussion, but many municipalities have decades of successful experience with golf carts on their streets.

Best regards... Michael
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Bonnie
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2010, 07:44:59 PM »

The county is considering an off-road vehicle (ORV) ordinance.  MI House of Reps passed a bill in December expanding the option of adding an ORV ordinance to 7 more counties (one is Montcalm).  The following link is to the current article in the Gazette and Daily News with opinions....  It is very interesting and full of info, like defining what an ORV is, etc.

http://www.thedailynews.cc/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionI=11&ArticleID=32181&TM=70478.87
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Bonnie K
srm
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« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2010, 03:36:18 PM »

As I mentioned in the original post there is a ORV orinance that the CLA is following closely.
Attached is the proposed ORV ordinance for Montcalm County. This is only a draft and will have changes. The hearing will take place on the old courthouse in stanton on May 24, 2010 at 1:45pm

Any replys to thread will be read by the county.

Click on the below .pdf attachment.

-srm
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srm
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« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 08:29:13 AM »

The meeting was held at the county and was very favorable.

The daily news makes it sound like Steve Worth disagreed with me.  I talked after he did.
He was the only person to have a negative take on it and I think the complain he had was with motorcycles which are suprisingly not allowed under the proposed ORD.

I spoke with Cliff Fry following the meeting as well. Everyone feels positive about this ORD.

The lastest revision of the ORD that was in the meeting is attached below. You need to be logged in to view it.

The daily news article here...
http://www.thedailynews.cc/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=11&ArticleID=34395
Has the text of...

Elisabeth Waldon
Staff Writer

STANTON - "Good for our economy" or "really annoying"?

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners heard public comment from four people Monday regarding a proposed ordinance that would authorize and regulate the operation of off-road vehicles (ORVs) on county roads.

Three people voiced their support for the proposed ordinance.

"I'm an ORV driver and I think it would be good for our economy," said Roberta Paradise of Crystal. "Why should we go all the way up north and spend our money there when we could keep it in our community?"

"I'm in favor of the ORV ordinance," added Russ Grinnell of Sheridan.

Steve Meinhardt, president of the Crystal Lake Association (CLA), voiced his opinion, although he said the CLA is not taking a stance on the issue.

"I'm very impressed with the amount of time and effort put into this ordinance," he said. "I feel that it's very well thought through."

Another Crystal resident, Steve Worth, disagreed.

"I live very close to a road, a road people would take to get over to Moreland's (Motor Cross)," he said. "We get enough ORV traffic on our road now. During the day it's not bad, but during nighttime it would be really annoying."

The Board of Commissioners likely will vote on the proposal at the next regular meeting on June 28.

An ORV is defined as a motor-driven off-road recreational vehicle capable of cross county travel without the benefit of a road or a trail, on or immediately over land or other natural terrain. The proposed ordinance would apply to a multi-wheel drive vehicle, a golfcart or an all-terrain vehicle. The ordinance would not apply to snowmobiles, farm vehicles, vehicles used for military, fire, emergency or law enforcement, motorcycles, three-wheel vehicles, utility company vehicles, oil and gas company vehicles or logging vehicles.

The Board of Commissioners most recently discussed the ORV ordinance at last month's meeting, when they heard feedback from Sheriff Bill Barnwell, Prosecutor Andrea Krause and Road Commission for Montcalm County Supervisor Mark Christensen.

The Michigan House of Representatives initiated the discussion with a bill passed in December 2009 expanding the option of adding an ORV ordinance to seven counties, including Montcalm.


« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 08:40:27 AM by srm » Logged
srm
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2010, 08:41:22 AM »

Please note that the CLA does not take a position on this. This is a part of the CLAs effort to keep members informed.

County Commissioners approve ORV ordinance

The Link...
http://www.thedailynews.cc/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=11&ArticleID=34824

The Text...
6/28/2010 4:30:00 PM

JUST IN: Commissioners approve ORV ordinance

Elisabeth Waldon
Staff Writer

STANTON - The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners voted 8-1 this afternoon to approve an ordinance that will authorize and regulate the operation of off-road vehicles (ORVs) on county roads.

District 5 Commissioner Carl Paepke cast the lone opposing vote.

District 4 Commissioner John Johansen said he was encouraged by his constituents to vote "no," but decided to vote "yes" because the ordinance will benefit the county financially.

The ordinance will become law 50 days after it is posted. Until then, anyone can petition to bring the proposal to a vote of the people. Cities, townships and villages can restrict certain portions of the ordinance.

For a complete story, see Tuesday's edition of The Daily News or check www.thedailynews.cc later.
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srm
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« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2010, 08:26:03 AM »

Please note that the CLA does not take a position on this. This is a part of the CLAs effort to keep members informed.

It appears August 25th will be the day ORVs will be allowed on the roads. Those with golf carts can get what they need from Fry's Golf Carts on Mt. Hope Road 989-235-4820 to outfit their golf carts accordingly.  At a minimum you will need seat belts, front and rear lights. If operated during the hours of hour after sunset and hour before sunrise you will also need brake lights.

Attached is the final order.
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