DANVILLE — Roger and Patti Bray always have enjoyed riding their four-seat golf cart down Don Road to visit friends and relatives — not knowing it was against the law.
Now they’re street legal.
Danville Township passed an ordinance allowing people to use golf carts and utility-terrain vehicles on township roads after the vehicle has been inspected and an annual $25 fee has been paid.
Bray, who lives on a dead-end road, said their son lives five houses down, adding, “Instead of getting in a car, we used the cart all the time.”
There were no problems until someone got upset about it, he said. He and others learned that if the cart left personal property, it could be confiscated by law enforcement and the owner fined, he said.
“A lot of people in the neighborhood have them,” Bray said. “They’re wonderful to have. We use it almost every day.”
In addition to using it for pleasure, Bray has put a lawn sweeper on the back of the cart and uses it to when he mows his 5-acre property. He also likes to drive to Big R in Tilton, which is 4 miles away.
The Brays were the first to receive a license after the ordinance went into effect on April 1.
“We really appreciate that Mike West and A.J. Wright worked to get it,” he said.
Mike West, Danville Township supervisor, said he was shocked at how many people showed up at a township meeting to support the ordinance, which is based on Tilton’s law.
People may view the ordinance at the highway office. Some of the rules include: the driver must be licensed and at least 18 (or 16 with a licensed consenting adult); must obey all traffic laws of the state and the municipality; may operate the vehicle only between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.; and must stay off sidewalks and township parks other than parking areas.
Also, all golf carts and utility-terrain vehicles may not cross Illinois Route 1 except at the 14th Street overpass, unless it is closed. In that case, vehicles may cross only where the Illinois Department of Transportation approves a crossing.
The vehicles will not be permitted on First Street and Second Street in Tilton at any time, nor Hungry Hollow or Brewer Road, due to safety concerns. However, they’re allowed on other township roads, such as Batestown Road, Vine Street, Greenwood Cemetery, Murray Clark, Home Gardens, Hillery and others.
The law does not apply to ATVs, and people may not use them on Danville streets.
West said if there’s a traffic violation, an officer can cite the driver. Then, the sheriff’s department notifies the township. Every violation is kept on file, and the township may revoke the vehicle’s sticker if the offense is serious enough.
“You want them (drivers) to use the privilege, but also play by the rules and not have any violations,” West said.
The vehicles will need to be inspected before they’re street-legal, so owners need to use a trailer or truck to get the cart to the township highway garage. The vehicle needs a slow-moving vehicle triangle, and its mirrors, lights, seat belts and other items will be inspected.
Drivers need to wear seat belts and reflective vests. Proof of insurance is needed, as well.
The $25 annual fee will be used to install caution signs on certain roads, West said. The licenses are renewable every April 1, and an inspection is required every year.
West and A.J. Wright, highway commissioner, say there are lot of benefits to allowing golf carts and utility vehicles on township roads.
“It’s a neighborly thing,” West said. “You can create camaraderie among neighbors. They love to take an evening ride in the golf cart.”
Of course, there are fuel savings as most are electric, and it helps the environment, he said.
To schedule an inspection or for more information, call the Danville Township Highway office at 442-3599. Carts must be brought to the highway building at 601 E. Eighth (behind Danville Stadium) for inspection.