10/1/2017 11:27:00 AM EDITORIAL: Safety concerns trump need for ATVS, golf carts on roads
In half of Indiana’s 92 counties, it’s completely legal to drive golf carts or off-road vehicles such as ATVs on the roads.
Madison County isn’t one of them.
But Madison County commissioners could soon change that.
The commissioners are considering two separate ordinances to allow golf carts and off-road vehicles on county roads. Action on the ordinances was recently tabled to allow for changes.
Ordinances from other counties — including Tipton, Carroll, Cass and Miami — have been reviewed as it pertains to registration, licensing, age requirements, lighting and the use of
other safety equipment. And, by the provisions in the proposed off-road vehicle ordinance, officials have been thorough. The off-road vehicle ordinance would require usage between 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset, that riders younger than 14 wear a helmet and that drivers have a valid driver’s license. It would prohibit operation under the influence of alcohol or drugs and while transporting of a loaded firearm or bow. People operating off-road vehicles would also be required to have liability insurance coverage. While many people who own off-road vehicles and golf carts are already operating them on roads, creating an ordinance legalizing them does raise some concerns.
Traffic volume on county roads in Madison County, particularly around Anderson, is higher than counties with similar ordinances in southern Indiana. Even if specific roads are designated as off-road vehicle friendly, an influx of these vehicles could create traffic hazards and, ultimately, traffic accidents.
And with ordinances comes enforcement. Will deputies be patrolling the county roads in search of violators? Will dispatchers be sending them in search of golf carts gone rogue?
There just doesn’t seem to be any sense in allowing off-road vehicles and golf carts on county roads. Safety is paramount, and there just seems to be too much possibility of disaster.