Chet Skwarcan column sig

I’m not much of a golfer but I do know it’s considered poor form to pick up a lost golf ball before it stops rolling.

I also know what a golf cart looks like. And I’m starting to see them everywhere — apparently, a golf course is no longer required.

Granted, it may not be unusual in Florida where many communities use their golf cart for the majority of their transportation needs such as the Wednesday shuffleboard tournament (previously held on Tuesdays but conflicted with the 2 for 1 at Denny’s). But for those of us in the Midwest, it’s a fairly new transportation trend.

Driving a golf cart on any roadway is unlawful (illegal) unless you are in a city or town that has adopted an ordinance permitting it. So if you are in such a community, check with your local municipality — there are few things you need to know.

Here are some typical requirements from several Indiana golf cart ordinances — your community likely requires some of the following stipulations:

• Not allowed on state highways (except to cross).

• Driver must have a driver’s license and insurance.

• Register with the local police department.

• Side mirror, headlights, tail lights, horn, seat belts, and turn signals.

• One person per seat (maximum of four — varies by community).

• No standing while the golf cart is in motion.

• Slow moving vehicle sign on the back.

• Cannot exceed 20 mph (varies by community).

• May not carry child passengers less than 4 years of age (varies by community).

• Not permitted on trails or sidewalks.

• Cannot park on the sidewalk.

• Nighttime use not permitted.

• Cannot smile or otherwise appear to be having fun (again, varies by community).

So, the next time you hop in your golf cart, remember this simple acronym: WOMBAT

  • W
  • ith seat belts
  • O
  • ne person per seat
  • M
  • irrors
  • sign on
  • B
  • ack
  • he
  • A
  • dlights
  • no s
  • T
  • anding

And because ordinances vary from city to city, be sure to check with your local municipality regarding the laws in your area.

States such as Indiana have different laws for Low Speed Vehicles (LSV) as opposed to golf carts. But golf carts can be modified so their classification actually changes to LSV — so keep that in mind if you get in a modification competition with your neighbor.

For example, LSV’s (street-legal) must be registered and licensed.

Have fun and be safe.

Chet Skwarcan is president of Traffic Engineering, Inc. in Danville. He is an Indiana traffic engineer with more than 30 years of experience solving traffic problems statewide.