(Independent File Photo)


   Though many residents have already seen golf carts within the city, Owosso City Council voted to approve a golf cart ordinance amendment to allow the carts during the Monday, June 21 meeting at city hall. Golf cart enthusiasts must legally wait another 20 days after the passage of the ordinance, however.

   Recognizing the city did not have formal guidelines in place, Kevin Lenkart, Director of Public Safety, drafted a proposed ordinance amendment for city council to adopt. Lenkart states in a May memorandum that the “adoption of this ordinance would allow limited use of golf carts on city streets.” There are restrictions in place and Owosso Public Safety will now be able to uphold those rules.

   A public hearing was held at city hall Monday evening. Several residents addressed the council in favor of permitting carts and ORVs. The ruling approved by council is only for golf carts, though council did decide to look at a separate ruling regarding ORVs next month on Monday, July 5. Because council must hold two public hearings regarding such changes, a second public hearing could be held later in July before any possible ORV ordinance amendment is passed. At this time, only golf carts are allowed on city streets and only after the 20-day period is over.

   Council members voted 6–1 to allow golf carts, but only as defined in the ordinance, some of which is mandated by state law on golf carts. Golf cart operators must be 16-years-old and have a driver’s license. Operators must comply with traffic signal requirements (turn signals), whether with blinkers or by hand. A person operating a cart on a road must drive as close to the right side as practical and be particularly cautious when passing a stopped vehicle. No carts are allowed on M-21, M-52 or M-71, though carts can directly cross these highways. If a path is provided along a road/street, the operator must use the path. Other restrictions include not allowing golf carts on sidewalks or in cemeteries, a speed limit of 15-mph, no golf cart driving allowed between dusk and sunrise and no carts permitted on the James Miner Trail/Riverwalk Trail. Helmets are not required. The complete ordinance is available at the city clerk’s office under traffic and motor vehicles.

   An ORV is a motor vehicle designed primarily for cross-country use and is part of a family of similar vehicles often used for recreation. A golf cart is typically not used for cross-country, having been originally built to transverse golf courses. There is usually less equipment involved in a golf cart, though some can be modified to include windshields, blinkers and other technology.

   Golf carts and/or ORVs are already allowed in a number of nearby municipalities including Bancroft, Chesaning, Corunna, Durand, Laingsburg, Perry and Ovid.

Golf Carts Approved in Owosso with Restrictions was last modified: June 29th, 2021 by Karen Elford