City Commission approves golf cart usage on low-speed public roads – Tiger Media Network

Hays City Commission passed an ordinance allowing golf carts on public streets with speed limits of 30 miles per hour or lower at Thursday’s commission meeting. 

In July 2021, the commission reviewed the use of alternate vehicles on public streets and allowed the use of Utility Task Vehicles (UTVs) and Micro-utility vehicles, but did not allow golf carts. 4 point car lift

Cities in Kansas have varying rules regarding golf carts. Lenexa, Emporia, Russell, WaKeeney and Plainville allow golf carts on public roads, whereas Salina, Goodland, Great Bend, Dodge City, Ellis Victoria, La Crosse and Colby do not allow golf carts. Derby, Liberal and Newton allow golf carts but only within certain areas.

Cities allowing golf carts also have different restrictions. Most cities only allow golf carts between sunrise and sunset. Some cities have further restrictions like requiring registration with the police department or having the golf cart insured.

Management Analyst Jarrod Kuckelman presented a proposal with the following provisions: 

Mayor Shaun Musil asked why this recommendation includes an insurance requirement when state statute does not require it. 

“The state has statutes, why are we going above and beyond the state?” Musil said.

Kuckelman pointed out the state leaves those decisions to cities so there is not a lot of state regulation, saying whatever the commission does will be “above and beyond” what the state requires. The current ordinance for UTVs and Micro-utility vehicles requires liability insurance.

Musil also asked about the requirement to be 18 years old since individuals can get licenses before then. 

Hays Chief of Police Don Scheibler said he recommended that because golf carts on the road are dangerous. 

“A young kid drives a car to school, is that safer?” Musil asked.

Scheibler said cars are much safer because they have required safety features and are designed to be in car accidents whereas golf carts are not. 

Golf carts can only be driven on roads with a speed limit of 30 miles per hour or lower, so golf carts would not be allowed on the following streets except to cross at intersections. 

Commissioner Sandy Jacobs pointed out that individuals living in Smoky Hill Estates would not be able to drive their golf cart home from the country club because the only route would put them on a road with a higher speed limit. 

Commissioner Reese Barrick said that several areas of town are surrounded by roads with higher speed limits, restricting individuals to just their own neighborhood. 

Barrick noted this ordinance would only help people currently living in Thunderbird drive to the country club. Anyone golfing at the public course would not be able to drive there since it is off the bypass.

Musil said he has heard from citizens who also feel like this ordinance is just for country club members and says he understands their concerns given the current map layout.

The commission discussed ways to make the town more accessible like designating certain crossing sections on faster roads, but decided that could get out of hand and complicate things a great deal. 

“We’re trying to twist ourselves into a knot in order to allow a small subset of people the opportunity to get to the country club,” Barrick said.  

Barrick’s main concern was safety. 

“I’ve had a lot of people contact me and they’ve said this is crazy, it’s not safe,” Barrick said. 

Jacobs did not see issues with the current provisions and motioned to adopt the ordinance. 

“It’s simple,” Jacobs said. “I think we’re making a really big deal out of something again, if we don’t want to do it, vote ‘no’.”

The motion passed 3-1 with Barrick voting against. 

The next commission meeting will be at 4:00 p.m. on March 28 at City Hall.

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