Golf carts on Blair's streets? Not yet

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On paper, it sounds like an acceptable proposal.

Earlier this month, a Blair resident requested the City of Blair consider the use of golf carts within city limits. The request was referred to the city council's transportation committee.

Golf carts on city streets aren't unheard of in Washington County. The City of Fort Calhoun and the Village of Arlington and Kennard have ordinances that allow their use.

However, there are two noticeable differences between these communities and Blair: the size and the amount of highway traffic.

With a population of more than 8,000 residents, Blair dwarfs the other communities, of which Arlington is the largest at more than 1,200.

Blair also has three highways intersecting right in the middle of the city, which brings thousands of trucks through town.

While golf carts would only be allowed to cross highways at a traffic light under the proposed ordinance, semi-tractor trailers and golf carts just don't mix.

Allowing golf carts would give Blair police one more thing to deal with on city streets.

Though they're not golf carts, Blair already has an ordinance that allows utility task vehicles (UTVs) on city streets. That ordinance, which was approved in May 2015, requires drivers to be at least 18 years old and own and carry a Class O operator's license.

UTVs also must be issued an identification tag by the Blair Police Department.

UTV operators are required to have liability insurance and should be able to provide proof of insurance within five days of the request. The headlights and taillights must be on when the UTV is in operation and the vehicle must have a bicycle safety flag. UTVs can operate from sunrise to sunset.

Adding golf carts to Blair's streets is an interesting concept. It could bring in a small amount of revenue for the city and potentially increase tourism.

However, at this point, there are more downsides than upsides to this proposal. Maybe once the bypass is in place and truck traffic is decreased, the city could revisit this possibility. But for now, it's just better to keep golf carts off the streets and on the golf course.

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