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Beacon Archive

May 2004
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From the Sheriff

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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