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Larry Simpson is “trailblazer” on his golf cart

September 22, 2012
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Toledo resident Larry Simpson didn't intend to be such a pioneer when he bought a new golf cart. He made the purchase from local dealer Thys Chevrolet shortly after the Toledo City Council legalized cart use on city streets in July.

Simpson then was issued the first Toledo permit for a golf cart to be operated within the city. No one else has applied to date according to City Clerk Julie Wilkerson who is in charge of inspecting and licensing the carts.

Simpson, 69, has it for transportation. "I don't play golf and don't intend to play golf," he said last week.

Article Photos

Larry Simpson takes a swing through downtown Toledo on his totally-legal golf cart on Thursday, Sept. 13. Simpson remains the only resident to license a golf cart since they were allowed on city streets in July. Chronicle photos/John Speer

Instead, he pointed to its economical and fun operation.

He said his wife, Eve, and he " go for a ride on a nice evening and people out in their yard stop and visit with us."

If the weather is good, Simpson said the couple freely "hop in and go out for pizza or supper."

Fact Box

See attached pdf for the complete ordinance governing golf cart operation on Toledo city streets.

His mother Lucille Simpson, a resident of Carrington Place of Toledo, "loves to ride" and looks forward to outings on the golf cart, he said.

Grandchildren and neighborhood children have also enjoyed riding with him.

He estimates the cart speed at top end at between 10-15 mph. Since April he has filled the cart's five-gallon gasoline tank twice he said.

Simpson retired as gas foreman for Alliant energy seven years ago. He still works as an Alliant representative in the summer for contractor construction projects.

The question arises why more people haven't obtained licenses to cart operation.

In adopting the ordinance, the council said a concern for city liability was important in deciding upon provisions.

Simpson, a former long-time Toledo city council member himself, said, "(Council member) Brian Sokol did a pretty goo job on this." Sokol spearheaded the ordinance allowing operation of the carts. The ordinance grew out of Iowa League of cities information.

Simpson said a "little tweaking" will likely result in more carts being licensed.

He said he paid for Thys Chevrolet to add headlamps and tail lights to the cart to comply with the ordinance. He said the light requirement may be holding some people back as the ordinance only allows for their operation from "sunup to sundown."

This was an issue during public hearings before the ordinance was adopted. Resident Les Koch said at one hearing "only about 10 percent" of the carts at the Tama-Toledo Country Club have lights because you don't play golf at night."

Simpson also said the ordinance provision requiring operators to be 18- years-old seems somewhat contrary "when 16-year-old drivers can be licensed to drive cars on the highway."

Calls for the ordinance to be less restrictive and more like neighboring Tama's golf cart operation ordinance have been heard.

No light requirements is part of the Tama rules.



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