Column: Fishers has a golf cart controversy


Commentary by Larry Lannan

Fishers is facing a number of issues, including putting together a budget for the new city in 2015 and determining which streets and roads need repair and maintenance work. Yet, what issue is receiving plenty of publicity?

How about golf carts?  That’s right, it’s the use of golf carts on town streets.

Here’s a little fact from the attorneys contracted by the town: there is a state law that explicitly says golf carts are not to be driven on any public streets or roads unless there is a local law or ordinance allowing it.

I am sure that’s news to plenty of homeowners in Fishers. I see golf carts on the streets of my subdivision regularly. I understand golf carts travel the streets of other Fishers subdivisions even more frequently.

I suspect the people driving these golf carts around their subdivision streets are not aware of the fact they are violating the law. Former City Council candidate Brad DeReamer pointed out to the council his Homeowners Association (HOA) has, in its covenant, language allowing golf carts on the streets.

Since state law supersedes the covenant for an HOA, anyone in that that neighborhood is violating the law by operating a golf cart on the streets.

As of this writing, the Fishers Town Council is considering an ordinance that would allow golf carts on the streets under some fairly stringent conditions.

The first major condition requires 75 percent of all lot owners in a neighborhood or subdivision to approve the use of the golf carts on the streets. How often do you see 75 percent of lot owners even show up for an HOA meeting and/or bother to vote in any HOA election?  My guess is very few subdivisions will get the 75 percent yes vote.

Another provision of the proposed ordinance would require the Town of Fishers to inspect the streets and roads in that area to determine whether golf carts can safely use the streets. I am guessing there are neighborhoods where the inclines would make golf cart traffic unsafe.

Golf cart drivers would be required to have a valid driver’s license, a minimum amount of insurance coverage and only be allowed to operate the golf cart during daylight hours.

There are no proposals being considered by the Town of Fishers allowing golf carts on any streets outside a subdivision or neighborhood.

I predict we will see very little legal golf carting on the streets of Fishers.

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