Poll shows residents don’t want golf carts, ATVs on streets

Opinion

An overwhelming response to a six-day Facebook poll showed that about 64% of our readers don’t believe golf carts, ATVs, and UTVs should be allowed on the streets.

It’s an interesting poll and quite a few people questioned us on how many of the respondents were from Fort Madison. We don’t believe it’s relevant because about 93% of our readership is north Lee County and those readers have a viable opinion.

They move through Fort Madison on a regular basis, and when you consider that we had more than 70 comments on the issue on the post, they were genuine opinions.

Here’s ours for what it’s worth. Why not?

Former City Councilman Brian Wright has been railing publicly against the issue, and on the Facebook post saying the council voted it down in the past due to safety concerns and he asks, “what’s changed”.

First and foremost, the council has changed. Councilman Matt Mohrfeld rejuvenated the idea about 10 weeks ago calling it a piece of Americana – folks riding to the park with sandwiches and lemonade to listen to music or visit an art fair or what have you.

Councilman Bob Morawitz says the vehicles aren’t rated for street use, which is indicative that the manufacturers don’t even believe they are safe on city streets.

But there is merit to the argument that a bicycle, a moped, or City Manager David Varley’s motorcycle are no safer on the streets than a golf cart, and are probably a little less safe than an ATV/UTV with a roll bar. I mean that’s real….that makes sense. The safety argument doesn’t fly in our opinion.

There is a lady that rides right down our street on a motorized scooter, the type of which you’d see in a grocery store. Again, you can’t make the argument for safety. It just doesn’t fly.

What would fly is one of the vehicles that isn’t working properly going 10 mph with an orange flag waving in the air and backing up traffic for three blocks. We cover the news…. we gotta go.

Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber said he had his doubts when the county installed a new law allowing the use of the vehicles on secondary roads. They can cross highways but only perpedicularly to get from one secondary road to the next.

Weber said just as recently as Tuesday that he’s been surprised by how little trouble has been caused by the new code. He even referenced a rally at Charleston Board of Trade where more than 60 ATVs and UTVS were on site and the sheriff’s department had no issues with any of the riders on or off the site.

Chris Greenwald went on record with me last week saying he will not be selling golf carts at his dealership, River City Motors Plus. He said he’s got way more credible product lines.

We have a park-to-park historical district and we, for one, think that riding around in golf carts could enhance that image. But I think you’re going to see very few golf carts and more ATVs/UTVs.

Think about tourism. The way Iowa is going, you’re going to be able to get just about anywhere on an ATV or UTV, side-by-side, whatever you want to call it. People could hold rallies for charities like they do with Poker Runs. This is the base entertainment for a lot of people and if they now can come through Fort Madison isn’t that good for a lot of people?

We just ask one thing. If the speed limit is 25, for the love of god, please try to stay close to the speed limit. Golf cart gridlock will not sit well with the wife.

By the way, we also allow horses on the street…as you will see very very soon, but that’s Beside the Point.

About Chuck Vandenberg 5809 Articles
Pen City Current and pencitycurrent.com are products of Market Street Publishing, LLC, a multi-platform media company delivering hyper-local news, sports and advertising information to Fort Madison, IA and surrounding communities.

1 Comment

  1. Despite the fact that all polls point to the citizens being against this the city council continues to ram it through with no regard for what the citizens want. I see only two council members stepping up to do the right thing on this issue. Very sad.

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