It started when Terri Kimpel’s husband was cycling on the Midland Trace Trail and was nearly injured by a golf cart that also was being driven on the trail.
“A golf cart came around one of those blind curves and was coming toward him and was passing pedestrians on the other lane, so it came into his lane on the blind curve,” Kimpel said. “His pedal actually touched the golf cart and he almost went of the trail. He could’ve been injured pretty severely.”
Kimpel launched a petition asking the city to rescind Ordinance 18-50, which allows golf carts to be used on a stretch of the Midland Trace Trail between Carey Road and the city’s downtown. Golf carts must be registered through the Westfield Police Dept. for use the trail.
Communications Director Vicki Duncan Gardner said the ordinance is a test for golf cart usage on trails.
“It’s to create accessibility into downtown,” Duncan Gardner said. “It was a pilot to see how this works.”
Golf carts are not allowed on the rest of the Midland Trace Trail or on the Monon Trail, but Kimpel fears they eventually will be permitted. She worries consistency might become an issue if golf carts are allowed on Westfield trails but not Noblesville or Carmel trails.
She also claims to have seen golf carts on the Monon, where they’re not allowed, near the Chatham Hills subdivision in northern Westfield.
“The trails were initially started by bicyclists and are now a great resource for Westfield and other communities, and it’s going to be a problem. The trails were made and built for biking and walking and outdoor activity, not for motorized vehicles,” Kimpel said.
Kimpel’s petition, which had received more than 270 signatures as of press time, requests that the city rescind the ordinance and instead include a golf cart lane on 171st Street.
“That way the motorized vehicles are together,” she said.
Council President Joe Edwards said he expects that several members from the community will speak at the Aug. 10 Westfield City Council meeting during the public comment section, but he doesn’t expect the council to vote on an ordinance that night.
For more about the petition, visit change.org/p/westfield-city-council-no-golf-carts-on-midland-trace-trail.