CLINTON — All-terrain vehicles and golf carts may share Clinton’s streets if the City Council passes a proposed ordinance.
The Committee of the Whole recommended Tuesday that the city establish regulations and rules for operating all-terrain vehicles, off-road utility vehicles and golf carts on the streets of Clinton.
The city began looking into allowing off-road vehicles on streets a couple of years ago, after Clinton County allowed the vehicles on county roads, Councilman Sean Connell said Tuesday.
With the help of the city attorney and the Clinton Police Department, city officials created an ordinance. “We’ve looked at a lot of different municipalities,” Connell said.
“It’s basically allowing the use of UTVs, ATVs and golf carts, with some restrictions, throughout the city,” said Connell, “but on designated roads, not on main thoroughfares.”
Connell presented the ordinance during Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting to see “what the temperature was” among the council.
“Over the past 12 to 18 months, I’ve received calls, emails, on the same exact thing,” said Councilman Bill Schemers. People ask why Clinton doesn’t allow off-road vehicles on city streets when the city is surrounded by communities that do, he said.
“In some ways, this has probably created confusion,” Schemers said, “because we have people that are licensed through the county driving through the city, saying, well I’m licensed through the county, why can’t I go into Clinton?”
Schemers said the move is a positive step for the city. “It does give some guidelines finally, I guess, for the police department. Which, up to this point, they don’t have any.”
A couple of business owners told Schemers that this would open new industry to them and help them out, the councilman said.
Mayor Scott Maddasion worked with city officials to draft the proposal. “The ordinance is pretty solid, but we’re still at kind of the beginning discussions of this as far as getting it approved. It will take some time to do that.”
“There are some things that need to be done on the back end,” said Maddasion. He wants all of the office work finished before the ordinance is approved.
“When we roll this out, I want it to be done the right way the first time so that we’re not going back on what we said and then confusing people and changing things,” Maddasion said.
The city attorney thinks the ordinance is solid, and Clinton police are on board, said Maddasion. “I want this to happen for people. I think it will be great. I think people will enjoy it. But I also want it to be done the right way.”
Vehicles must be registered with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, but to ride on Clinton streets, they’ll have pay for a city sticker as well.
“It’s going to be similar to boat tags,” said Maddasion. The vehicle must be registered every two years at a cost of $75.
The ordinance says riders must be 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license. Owners of the vehicles will have to provide proof of ownership and proof of insurance.
The vehicles won’t be allowed on city streets that are primary roads through town, such as U.S. 30, Iowa 136 or U.S. 67. They can cross the roads to reach streets where they can lawfully drive.
ATVs and UTVs will be permitted on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or less. Golf carts will be restricted to streets of 25 mph or less.
Golf carts will have to display slow-moving vehicles signs. They will be allowed on city streets from sunrise to sunset only.
Golf carts, ATVs and UTVs must have bicycle safety flags at least 5 feet tall, adequate brakes, tail lights, rear or side mirrors and mufflers.
UTVs must have safety belts, and UTVs and ATVs must use headlights from sunset to sunrise.
The City Council will have to approve three readings of the ordinance before it becomes law.