City Plans To Allow Side By Side ATVs On Roads With Speed Limits Up To 40 mph
July 25, 2019 at 11:44 am
At the City Of Vermilion Legislative Committee meeting of July 15, 2019, Chief Hartung proposed changing the restrictions on utility vehicles (side by sides) so they can be permitted to travel on any city street where the speed limit is up to 40 mph, as these vehicles can maintain the flow of traffic.
An amendment to the Vermilion Golf Cart Ordinance passed on October 1, 2018 made motorized utility vehicles and side-by-sides street legal if they are compliant with the State of Ohio’s requirements for motor vehicles and are inspected by the Chief of Police. An ordinance has been in effect in Vermilion since 2011 that allows golf carts to be driven on roads with speed limits no greater than 35 miles per hour. The ordinance is similar to Ohio law which also allows golf carts on roads with speed limits 35 miles per hour and less.
Chief Hartung also requested eventually allowing golf carts out to Berkley Road, pending a speed zone study. Council Member Stark asked if they expand the golf carts out to Berkley Road, does this mean they would reduce the speed limit to 35 mph? Hartung said they can’t do anything with the speed limit as it must go before ODOT. The city is in the process of a speed zone study. He thought if this happens, then he would like to have this considered. Stark said her concern is just from the safety aspect of having a golf cart traveling in a 40 mph.
Council Member Gabriel felt side by sides could handle the 40 mph. He noted they allow bicycles on a 40-mph road. He asked the Chief how many golf cart accidents have they had since the golf cart legislation passed? Chief Hartung replied none that he is aware of, and the legislation was written in 2009. Gabriel said when they adopted this legislation, he was fearful because of the truck traffic on Liberty Avenue, but it has turned out that it’s about as safe as anything they have done. Eventually there will be accidents – it’s just the nature of averages, but he has no issue with this. Stark said if the vehicle can hold the speed, then she would be good with this.
Council Member Holovacs said he sees a lot of golf carts in his ward that have young kids on the back with no seat belts, but he sees a lot better driving on Liberty Avenue versus the crazy driving in his neighborhood. He said you’re strapped in side by sides, so he doesn’t have a problem with this.
Council President Herron said it’s not about the golf cart drivers; it’s about everybody else. He said he sees kids in the summer on the golf carts that aren’t strapped in, and too many people are riding on golf carts at times as well.
Holovacs said there are bicycles accidents and car accidents; it’s going to happen.
Council Member Stark moved, and Council Member Brady seconded, to have legislation prepared to amend Chapter 475.03 to allow utility vehicles to travel on any city street where the speed limit is up to 40 mph.
Hartung said if they revisit this in the future, they may want to think about requiring golf carts traveling on an expanded area to display a slow-moving plaque. Gabriel would like to state in the amendment that side by sides should be capable of performing the posted speed limit.
The motion carried with all members voting in favor of preparing the legislation.