2016-07-10 / Front Page

Golf cart violations concern Chesaning village council

By Jeanne Marcello
Staff Reporter

CHESANING – On July 5, the Chesaning Village Council discussed problems with golf cart safety in the community.

Councilman Phil Larner said, “We’ve noticed kids driving or riding on laps.”

Councilman Trent Vondrasek said, “It’s against the law.” Only licensed drivers are allowed to drive motorized vehicles on public streets.

Larner pointed out that golf carts driven after sunset must have lights to operate on village streets. He suggested the village step up enforcement. He also recommended that any golf carts with underage kids driving be impounded.

Councilman Matt Hoover explained that the council intentionally specified in the ordinance that only licensed drivers be allowed to drive golf carts on village streets. In addition to having lights, golf carts must be insured as well. A woman in the audience wanted to know why golf carts had to be insured.

Larner said there was recently an accident on Pearl Street where a golf cart was rear-ended.

Vondrasek said, “The law is clear. As for a kid riding on [somebody’s] lap, it’s no more legal than in another vehicle.”

Councilman Mike Cicalo said, “Policy has been set. Laws are laws.”

Councilman Don Swartzmiller said he would like to see warnings first, and if they’re caught again, it’s a ticket. “You’ve got to have insurance,” he said.

Village Administrator Troy Feltman said the village already has a fee schedule for violations such as these.

Councilman Don Swartzmiller said he saw a golf cart drive by with five kids on it.

Councilman Mike Navarre briefly talked about liability issues that come into play when a golf cart operating on village streets gets into an accident with another vehicle. He explained that it’s not necessarily an issue of who is at fault and the fine is up to $500 plus legal fees.

“What about these on the state highway?” Larner asked.

Vondrasek said, “It’s illegal [to drive golf carts on state highways]. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” He advises those who buy/own golf carts take the time to learn the law.

Feltman said, “There are people abiding by the law. The people who aren’t are the problem.” Having heard the council’s discussion, he said he would talk with the police chief about stepping up enforcement.

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