ATVs, golf carts to be allowed on city streets effective May 27

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Spencer City Council Chambers sign

ATVs and golf carts will be legal to drive on city streets effective May 27.

On Monday, the Spencer City Council voted 7-0 to approve the third and final filing of two sets of ordinance revisions that make those vehicles street legal on all city streets but not state highways in town.

City Manager Amanda Mack said the city will work to spread awareness of the rules, including who may drive the vehicles and how to do so legally. 

Ward 4 City Councilman Donavan Wunschel suggested the city do more to share what is allowed under the ordinances. He added that there was confusion about the golf cart ordinance in the community.

“We’ve got a lot of young, under age 16 kids thinking they’re going to drive (golf carts) and we definitely don’t want that,” Wunschel said. 

Mayor Kevin Robinson said the city would undertake a media campaign to “get the rules out.”

Golf cart ordinance revisions

The revisions to city code affecting golf carts now allow golf carts to be driven on city streets, but not state highways 18 and 71. That includes the Grand Avenue bridge.

Golf carts can cross those highways “after making a complete stop and at a place where no obstruction prevents a quick and safe crossing,” according to the golf cart ordinance revisions.

The ordinance makes no other changes to current city code on golf carts.

Under existing code, drivers must be “at least 16 years old and possess a valid motor vehicle operator’s license.”

Golf carts can only be driven from sunrise to sunset even if it has lights. 

Among other rules that are still in place, golf carts must also have a slow-moving vehicle sign attached to the back and a bicycle safety flag. 

ATV ordinance revisions

As with golf carts, the ATV ordinance revisions state those vehicles will be allowed on city streets, but not on state highways. ATVs are allowed to cross state highways. 

If an ATV is used for snow removal, then the ordinance will require those vehicles to have yellow or amber flashing lights visible from all points at all times.

ATVs will be allowed to operate after dark if they have at least two headlamps, at least one red rear light and a signal lamp that signals an attention to stop.

Other provisions in current city code regarding ATVs still apply, including the requirement that ATVs must be registered with the state, drivers must have a valid driver’s license and drivers 16 or 17 years old must have in their possession a valid ATV education certificate issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Operators must also have proof of insurance to operate an ATV on Spencer streets.

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