Salem Lakes to discuss allowing golf carts on village roads

The Salem Lakes Village Board is going to take a look at allowing golf carts on village roads.

Trustee Ron Gandt, at a committee of the whole meeting Monday, proposed allowing legal use of golf carts on village roads as a convenience for people traveling short distances, usually within their neighborhood such as to a lake or river or a store.

“This is something that people have asked me about,” Gandt said. “I think it would really ease a lot of things in this village.”

Trustee Ted Kmiec said he noticed increased use of golf carts especially over the last year, when people during COVID restrictions were visiting neighbors.

“I don’t see why we should prohibit them from being able to get around the neighborhood in golf carts,” Kmiec said. “I’m 100 percent in favor of golf carts.”

Trustee Mike Culat said a friend of his who is a police officer in Johnsburg, Illinois, where golf cart use is allowed on village streets, said there have been no problems.

Trustee Dan Campion sounded more guarded, offering examples he has encountered in Paddock Lake, where golf cart use on village streets is legal. Specifically he cited an example where he saw a passenger he estimated to be about 6 years old “holding on for dear life” on a golf cart traveling too fast for conditions.

“There’s no seat belts, there’s no lights, there’s no horns,” Campion said. “This is a young person, that if this was a car traveling the same road at the same speed would be in a car seat.”

“This is a much bigger issue than just let’s have golf carts,” Campion said.

Campion said the issue reminds him of the village’s chicken ordinance, where rules were set, but how strictly to enforce it has been an open question.

“Are we going to go down another chicken rabbit hole?” Campion asked.

Administrator Michael Murdock pointed out a golf cart ordinance would not be enforced by the village, but by the Sheriff’s Department, which the village contracts with for additional police protection.

Village President Diann Tesar asked Gandt to distribute a copy of the Paddock Lake ordinance, which he feels is a good model, to the other members and staff with more discussion to come at a future committee of the whole meeting.

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