After more than a year of research by the police chief and off-and-on discussion by village council, residents of Woodville may apply for a permit to operate golf carts on most of the public roads in the village.
Council last week approved an ordinance allowing licensed and insured drivers to operate the carts once they’ve passed an inspection by the police department and are issued a permit.
“It’s something we didn’t want to rush into,” Police Chief Roy Whitehead said. “I asked for assistance from a local Bureau of Motor Vehicles inspector and we checked with local villages near the lake that had similar ordinances and the City of Fremont.”
He estimated there are about five to 10 residents with golf carts who are interested in obtaining permits.
The chief said the ordinance reflects Ohio Revised Code regulations for motor vehicles, including the code definition of under speed and low-speed vehicles.
The carts may not be operated on any street with a posted speed limit of more than 35 miles per hour and are banned from the portion of Route 20 in the village except to cross the route at intersections where there are traffic lights.
In addition to a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance, the permit requires the vehicles to have a windshield, one or more brake lights, a rear view mirror, horn, directional signals, lap/shoulder belts for each seating position, two headlights, one or more working taillights, a license plate light, and working brakes.
There is a $20 fee to apply for a permit.
Operators will not be permitted on sidewalks except to cross them and must drive within two feet of the curb. The carts will be required to yield to passing motor vehicles.
The ordinance considers the carts to be “seasonal vehicles” and prohibits their use when roads are covered by snow or ice.
Permits issued by other towns for golf carts won’t be given reciprocity in the village.
The carts also can’t be parked more than two hours on the grassy portion of residential property or on the boulevard sections between sidewalks and roads.
Chief Whitehead said the ordinance also prohibits owners from modifying their carts to increase speed.
“My major concern is the safety of the people operating the golf carts,” he said.
In Pemberville, where golf carts have been allowed on public roads for several years, there have been no major problems, said Mayor Gordon Bowman.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “People have done a good job. We think they’ll be good drivers and use good sense.”
There is a $5 registration fee and operators must have a valid driver’s license.
The carts are prohibited from driving on State Route 105 – which passes through the village’s downtown business district - except to cross it.
Mayor Bowman said the number of cart owners appears to be growing and may be approaching 40 or so.
All-terrain vehicles are also covered under the same policy, he said.
Walbridge Mayor Dan Wilczynski said a few residents have expressed interest in being able to drive golf carts on public streets in the village but it’s not been discussed seriously by village council.
During a forum prior to his last election the subject came up and the mayor said it was something worth considering.
The village is adopting a uniform speed limit of 25 mph, which could make it more conducive to golf carts, he said, adding the village has purchased a four-wheel vehicle that is about the size of a golf cart for its work crews.
“We use it to save money and gas,” he said.