SYCAMORE – Motorists in Sycamore may soon be able to drive their golf carts and all-terrain vehicles, or ATVs, within city limits.
It’s part of a proposal up for Sycamore City Council consideration Monday, and includes street-legal golf carts and ATVs.
City staff will ask council members to weigh in and indicate whether they’d like to modify city code to allow people to drive golf carts on public roadways within city limits. The discussion is set to take place during the scheduled 7 p.m. regular council meeting at the Sycamore Center, 308 W. State St. in the city’s downtown. There is no vote yet scheduled.
Sycamore Second Ward Alderman Chuck Stowe said Friday a resident recently reached out to him and Second Ward Alderman Pete Paulsen about the matter.
“He said there were other people in the neighborhood that would like to be able to do this,” Stowe said.
Stowe said that was why he previously brought up the matter during the Nov. 1 city council meeting and requested it to be on the upcoming Monday agenda.
“I figured, let’s at least discuss it,” Stowe said.
According to the Illinois Vehicle Code, non-highway vehicles, such as golf carts and ATVs, are not specifically designed to be used on a public roadway and generally aren’t permitted. However, local municipal governments could allow them within village, town or city limits, if local governing bodies so choose, state law reads.
Stowe said he talked to Sycamore police officials about the request before the scheduled Monday meeting.
Sycamore Police Chief Jim Winters confirmed he discussed the matter with Stowe. He said there is always a concern about what requests mean in regards to public safety.
“You just have to look into what the law allows and how it would be used in the community,” Winters said.
Winters said there are minimum requirements those who are operating non-highway vehicles must adhere to by state law.
“The state requirement still applies that the drivers still have to be licensed,” Winters said.
Illinois state law requires non-highway vehicles authorized by local governments to have several safety features. Those include: vehicle insurance coverage, brakes, a steering apparatus, tires, a rearview mirror, red reflector warning devices in the front and back of the vehicle, a white headlight visible at least 500 feet away from the front and a red tail lamp – including brake lights and turn signals – visible at least 100 feet from the back.
Winters said the city could also choose to place additional requirements for such motorists.
Stowe said golf cart drivers would have to be a licensed by the State of Illinois and they won’t be able to drive on sidewalks or bike trails.
“City staff has done extensive research on this over the past few years,” documents state. “Further, there are several restrictions to the operation of authorized non-highway vehicles, as well as required safety equipment, operating rules, and additional requirements by law.”
Stowe said the council is just discussing the concept for now, and no code amendments for a vote have yet been created as of Friday.
“We’re just trying to get a feel for the rest of the council and what their thoughts are,” Stowe said.
If the council wants to pursue the code changes, then police officials will help, and comment on how the changes could impact traffic in the area, Winters said.
“I think a lot of those questions will be answered after that discussion,” Winters said.
Stowe encouraged residents to weigh in at Monday’s meeting.
Until the proposed changes are drafted, Winters said it remains to be seen whether or not it would be a good idea to allow the vehicles on public roadways.
“I think it’s too preliminary right now,” Winters said. “And that’s why they’re only discussing it.”