Vanderburgh Co. ordinance could allow golf carts, ATVs on select county roads

Vanderburgh Co. ordinance would allow golf carts, ATVs on select county roads

VANDERBURGH CO., Ind. (WFIE) - We're getting our first look at where golf carts and other off-road vehicles could be allowed in Vanderburgh County.

Commissioner Jeff Hatfield says Vanderburgh County is only one of a few in southern Indiana, especially southwestern Indiana, which excludes it.

The newly crafted ordinance cleared its first hurdle in a unanimous vote of the county commissioners Tuesday afternoon, but it could take another month before it becomes law.

Commissioners have been looking into this for about a year. It’s nothing they want to take lightly. Safety is among the top concern.

14 News also turned to a neighboring county where a similar law is already in place.

A list of Vanderburgh County roads where golf carts or UTV’s will likely never be allowed was on display during the meeting. It is just too dangerous with the traffic volumes and speed limits. The list could be modified.

“We took a year studying this, and we can certainly add to that list if we need to,” Commissioner Hatfield recalled.

But, on lower speed and lesser-traveled county roads, Vanderburgh Commissioners are considering expanding the traffic laws.

“It’s becoming a popular mode of transportation,” Hatfield said. “If they buy them from dealerships, they’re really well equipped.”

The governing body has no authority in Evansville city limits or the town of Darmstadt, so those areas are excluded, too, along with state roads.

"We just excluded all of our urban areas and opened it up initially to rural areas,” Hatfield added.

Commissioner Hatfield says he was first approached about considering the changes about a year ago and has heard from other residents since.

“I think it’s an opportunity for Vanderburgh County to be able to expand,” local resident Andy Rickett explained. “There’s a lot of community activities at restaurants and things that people do in these other counties.”

Neighboring Posey County has a very similar law allowing some off-road vehicles on county roads. Sheriff Tom Latham says there have been very few issues, adding it helps people be more mobile, the farming community, and fundraisers too.

“There’s a big one that’s coming up in March for diabetes; it’s a diabetes Poker Run,” Sheriff Latham said. “And it does up raise some funds to offset costs and help in trying to find cures, so it is beneficial, and it does give everyone a chance to do something a little different.”

If approved in Vanderburgh County, those off-road vehicles must have headlights, taillights and brakes.

Drivers would need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid license.

The second reading will be in two weeks.

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