Late last year, a number of residents approached council about allowing these licensed, insured and inspected vehicles on certain streets. Eight Ohio villages and cities already do, but an existing Middleport ordinance, addressing golf carts, prohibit them.
Those who would like to see them permitted in the village have been strong in making a distinction between these under-speed vehicles and conventional golf carts.
Gerlach broke a 3-3 tie on a vote last year to amend the existing ordinance, placing the issue back under consideration before the vehicles are allowed on the streets. Since then, he said, there have been discussions between council members and proponents of the USV’s being allowed on certain streets.
Gerlach said the issue may be presented once again to council on Monday.
The issue first arose in Middleport when Sheriff Robert Beegle said underspeed vehicles will now be inspected as a requirement for road use outside village limits.
State law allows these vehicles to be licensed, after inspection, as long as they are driven on roadways with speed limits of 35 or less and under other requirements. By state definition, USV’s are only legal if they travel a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.
The inspection program does not allow lawful operation of underspeed vehicles on village streets, if, like Middleport, the village has an ordinance banning them.
While they are often referred to as golf carts, the vehicles passing inspection are better equipped, and as safe as conventional automobiles, in that they are equipped with lights, mirrors and other safety features. supporters of their use say.
“Through the inspection program, an underspeed vehicle must display a license. Everything is regulated in such a manner as to ensure the vehicle is as safe on the road as any other licensed vehicle,” Brian Conde said, noting insurance is also required. Conde has encouraged council to consider amending its ordinance to allow the vehicles to be used.