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Golf Carts, ATVs Legal on Fort Madison Streets


The city council several weeks ago narrowly approved the use of golf carts, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and utility task vehicles (UTVs) on city streets despite plenty of public opposition. The city has since decided that the first day the vehicles can be operated legally will be Friday, November 1.

The vehicles will be allowed on all roads within the city except these high-traffic streets (unless the driver is crossing one of the high-traffic streets to access another road):

  • Highway 2
  • Highway 61
  • X32/18th Street to Avenue L
  • J48/15th Street to Avenue H
  • 48th Street
  • Bluff Road

The vehicles can be driven only by someone 18 or older who has proper insurance. The vehicles can be used between sunrise and sunset as long as they have a safety flag, a slow moving vehicle sign, brakes, and brake lights.
Some of the other rules include:

  1. Golf carts/ATVs/UTVs are not allowed during inclement weather.
  2. All riders must be seated at all times.
  3. The maximum occupancy is two adults in the front seat and, if applicable, two adults in the back seat. Children are allowed to ride with an adult.

The Lee County Recorder’s Office said it will start registering the vehicles for Fort Madison residents on November 1.  The vehicles must be registered with the Iowa DNR and Lee County to be legally driven in Fort Madison.
How long the program will remain in effect in Fort Madison remains to be seen.

Each vote on the ordinance was 4 in favor and 3 against. And two of the four “yes” votes are leaving the city council and a third “yes” vote is being challenged for his seat.

A couple of the candidates in next week’s election have said they would like to see the new city council vote on whether to rescind the golf cart ordinance.

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