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Interest Growing in Street-Legal Golf Carts

There could soon be a new way to get around Fort Madison as the city council approved the first reading of a measure to allow golf carts on city streets this week.

City Manager Byron Smith says the only exceptions would be three of the city’s high-traffic streets: Business 61, Avenue E, & Avenue A near the high school.

He says golf carts would be required to have a “slow moving vehicle” sign, brakes and front and rear reflectors.

They would not be required, though, to have headlights or tail-lights, which means they could not be driven after sunset.

“If you are not going to require headlights and tail-lights and things," says Smith, "then the safety factor goes way down.”

He says the idea of legalizing golf carts first came up in Fort Madison in 2011, but did not gain enough support.

This attempt resulted from requests from both city council members and members of the general public.

The maximum speed limit for the golf carts would be 25 M.P.H. 

Smith expects more discussion prior to the city council’s next vote, later this month, as several council members had concerns about seat belt requirements, age restrictions and the use of trailers.


While Fort Madison is working towards approving the use of golf carts on city streets, Warsaw is already there.

The city council approved a relatively strict plan last week.

It requires a golf cart to have headlights, tail-lights, seat belts and a rearview mirror, along with brakes and a “slow moving vehicle” sign.

Drivers must be at least 21-years old and hold a special permit from the city.  The fee in Warsaw would be $40.

Fort Madison is considering a $50 fee.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.