A timely issue is golf carts being operated on roadways.  Especially in lake communities, people tend to like the informality of being able to operate golf carts around their homes.  Unfortunately, in most circumstances, this is not allowed.

It is noteworthy to mention that very frequently, it is children that are found to be operating the golf carts on the roadways.  An example was a visit received at our Police Department a month or so ago from a Clarklake resident.  The resident advised that children had been operating a golf cart up and down his street, lost control of it, and ran in to his vehicle parked in his driveway.  The damages were approximately $2,000.00, and fortunately, nobody was seriously hurt.

More recently, a small utility vehicle was observed driving on the sidewalk portion of the Spirit Trail, directly behind two joggers.  This is likewise prohibited, specifically, and for obvious reasons.

An exception to operating a golf cart on the roadway is by licensing it through the State of Michigan as a “Low-Speed Vehicle”, and obtaining insurance on it, just like your car or truck.  You are issued a license plate, and the cart needs to be equipped with seatbelts, windshield, wipers, headlights, turn signals, horn, bumpers, parking brake, and DOT (highway use) rated tires, etc.  It is then inspected, and you are then off to the Secretary of State for licensing it.  Know that a low-speed vehicle is restricted to a maximum speed of 25 MPH, and cannot be operated on a roadway with a speed limit above 35 MPH.  You can consult with the Michigan Secretary of State for more specific details.

Know that we do enforce the law prohibiting golf carts on roadways.  We respond to complaints on a regular basis, as well as dealing with them while on patrol.  Violators are subject to having the cart impounded, as well as the issuance of a traffic citation.

David K. Elwell
Chief of Police
Columbia Township