With the advent of spring, and another busy tourist season on
its way, some words on traffic safety are appropriate.
The Charlevoix County Sheriff's Office would like to remind all
residents, both permanent and seasonal, as well as tourists, that
Beaver Island is part of the State of Michigan. Although our isolation
and sometimes laid-back lifestyle might suggest otherwise, we
must all abide by the laws enacted by our State Legislature.
Because of the increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic this
season brings to the Island, we should all review our driving
habits. Adherence to the posted speed limits and to all traffic
control devices will go a long way in promoting safety in the
downtown area. Maintaining a reasonable speed and being cautious
on the Island's predominately dirt roads is also very important.
During 2003 we had three personal injury accidents here. Two
were excess-speed-related accidents. Fortunately there were no
serious injuries, but in one case it was necessary to fly off
six injured people. This has become terribly expensive, which
in itself should be a deterrent to careless or reckless driving.
There have been some complaints expressed to the Sheriff concerning
excessive speed, so additional emphasis will be placed on traffic
safety this spring and summer to keep Beaver Island a safe, healthy,
and pleasant place.
In another related matter, the Sheriff's Office has researched
the ORV/golf cart issue that came up during the summer of 2003.
Specifically, there is a section in the Michigan Motor Vehicle
Laws which allows the operation of an ORV or golf cart along the
public roadway. A township or other municipality may adopt this
as part of its local ordinance, and may issue permits to disabled
persons to operate ORVs or golf carts within township limits.
However, the term is very specifically defined, and medical certification
of a disability is required.
Until such a law is adopted by the townships, enforcement of
ORV/golf cart operation on the public roadways will remain the
same. That is, a written warning will be issued on the first violation,
and a Uniform Law Citation on subsequent offenses. This is sure
to make some residents unhappy, but, as stated above, we must
live by the same laws that govern all of Michigan.
J. A. Campbell, Deputy Sheriff
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