City man says ‘golf cart’ ordinance is hurting his business

Marysville resident Handy Randy Murphy stands next to his UTV which he wants to use as a work vehicle but is prohibited from driving on city streets with speeds over 25 mph.

MARYSVILLE – His first name is Randy Murphy, but everyone within a 20 mile radius of Marysville knows him as Handy Randy and he’s carved out a good life and reputation to live up to his nickname as Handy Randy is just that. He swung a hammer or drilled a hole on anything and everything and installed flooring, countertops, drywall, tile, decks, bathrooms, and more. for many years and is proud of the work he does.

In the normal course of his business, Mr. Murphy some time ago bought a Honda Pioneer all-terrain utility vehicle (UTV) to use for his job. Since he drives a truck the size of an ocean liner, it hasn’t always been easy to deliver heavy or bulky materials into the tight spots of someone’s backyard (even with a light truck) in which he planted posts and erected a terrace. He needed a smaller “utility” vehicle that could carry a lot of weight without taking up much space or tearing up the soft turf of suburban lawns. For this, the Honda Pioneer fits a T. Also called a side-by-side, this Pioneer has a flat-back cargo area (which converts to additional seating), a dump bed, can carry a half ton or more of concrete mix/wood/stone/shingles/whatever, has a tongue weight of 1000 pounds on the hitch and can probably pull two tons on a good day. And go north of 45 mph in a heartbeat.

Too bad he can’t drive it anywhere.

Well, that’s not really true, because since he lives within the city limits, he can drive on any street that has a speed limit of 25 miles per hour or less. exception of the dozen prohibited areas listed in the ordinance. , most of which are located in the Uptown area. If he drove down a street with a speed limit of 26 miles per hour in his Pioneer, Handy Randy would be committing a misdemeanor and getting a ticket.

According to an ordinance approved by the Marysville City Council in January 2020 (Section 343, linked at the bottom of the article), Handy Randy’s Honda Pioneer was lumped into the same category as low-speed vehicles, reduced-speed vehicles, and mini-trucks, none of which, according to Section 343, are permitted on roads with a speed limit of more than 25 mph. Since the same vehicles aren’t allowed on county or state roads unless you tow them on a trailer or have them airlifted, Mr. Murphy can’t legally drive his UTV from his east side home. from town to Mill Valley.

“It’s not a golf cart,” said Handy Randy (whom he prefers to Mr. Murphy) pointing out the Pioneer 700’s features in what clearly sounded like a work vehicle: big tires, heavy-duty suspension, huge payload for its size, heavy tow package, tipper. “It’s not for driving around and visiting neighbors.”

Handy Randy wanted to use the UTV as it was designed, which is as a work vehicle. He fully intended to be able to drive the UTV to Lowes (or Home Deport or Walmart), load it up to 30 bags of concrete mix and deliver it to the construction site without having to lay a finger on it. until he is seated three feet from where the work is being done.

But with Section 343 in place, if he wants to use the UTV, he has to tow it to the site, which defeats the purpose of having the thing in the first place. Rather than carrying the load for three or four miles, as he can well do, his Pioneer carries supplies for two or three hundred feet. This after it is manually unloaded from the truck to the UTV. If he doesn’t feel like towing the UTV to a site, those 30 bags of concrete are picked up and transported by hand or wheelbarrow from the truck to the work area. Handy Randy says it’s a waste of time, labor and elbow grease, keeping all three is essential in the construction industry. He bought the Pioneer to help ease the pressure of time and expense. This trailblazer was supposed to be a godsend in time and a true scoliosis saver when it came to heavy lifting. But now he’s just taking up space in his backyard. Unable to use this very expensive part or equipment for its intended purpose – that is, hauling heavy loads over two or three mile stretches – it sits unused on a (new) trailer.

Handy Randy said UTV is completely street legal. It has been inspected and passed by the Union County Sheriff’s Office to have all the proper equipment: brake lights, turn signals, proper restraints, headlights, horn, mirrors, and everything else expected of it. a motor vehicle. Tags were issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle and are properly displayed on the back of the UTV.

“But,” said Handy Randy deadpan, “here it is.”

Handy Randy was invited to the last Marysville Service/Safety Committee meeting last month and was obviously unhappy with the answers to his question, which is whether Ohio State and UCSO are both convinced that his UTV is in working order, why is the city not in working order? of Marysville?, a question he asked several times during the meeting and our interview. He said this Honda Pioneer is perfectly safe to cross town as it is able to follow a speed limit of 30 to 35 miles per hour in the short amount of time it takes to get to major stores in the southeast of Marysville from anywhere in the city is all he would need.

Handy Randy made a point of saying that his Pioneer was not a cross-country vehicle or an electric putt-putt designed to haul a few big duffers and their Pings. He said he knows enough not to drive his UTV on U.S. Route 33 at any time and that he would never put himself or anyone else in a position where he could be in danger or break the law because that his UTV was on a street that allows driving at a maximum speed of 25 mph. All he asks, he said, is permission to come and go from the east side of town to the west side and back without risking a ticket.

Another topic that rubs Handy Randy the wrong way is the last clause of the ordinance which clearly states that the 25 mile per hour rule does not apply to equipment or city employees, namely : Section 343.02 (I) “This chapter does not apply to the use of low-speed vehicles, reduced-speed vehicles, utility vehicles or mini-trucks by employees of the City of Marysville or Union County in the exercise of their duties.” (Italics added.)

So yes, UTVs (and other low-speed vehicles) owned, maintained, and operated by the city can drive just about anywhere they want whenever the mood strikes, regardless of posted speed limits or ordinances. from the city. Handy Randy pointed out that a city UTV was recently seen at a fast food drive-thru on Delaware Avenue. If a kid working for the city can pick up a UTV through Taco Bell, Handy Randy said, he should be able to drive his to Down and Back.

Handy Randy said he was asked to attend the next Service/Safety Committee meeting, September 13 at 6 p.m., an hour before the regular Marysville City Council meeting where his concerns will again be discussed.

Here is the link to Section 343 of the Marysville Code, which is commonly known as the “Golf Cart” Ordinance and was enacted on January 13, 2020.