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State Fair implements new restrictions on golf carts for safety

HURON -- The South Dakota State Fair has implemented new restrictions on golf carts for the safety of fair-goers.

"With a 27 percent increase in attendance in the last five years, the State Fair has been faced with the challenge of managing golf cart traffic and keeping patrons safe," said Jerome Hertel, State Fair manager.

"At an average attendance of more than 30,000 per day, the potential for accidents involving golf carts and pedestrians has increased dramatically in the past few years,"

Hertel explained. "In an effort to keep the fairgrounds safe, the State Fair will implement new restrictions on golf carts beginning with this year's fair."

To eliminate the risks associated with operating personal golf carts during the State Fair, personal golf carts will no longer be allowed on the fairgrounds during the annual event. Many other transportation options will be available, however.

"It's a challenging situation because many people rely on golf carts for transportation," Hertel said. "But it's very important that we keep the tens of thousands of people safe who walk through the gates each day. I'm certain we have enough options available so no one should feel denied the State Fair experience."

Golf carts will be made available for rent from an authorized golf cart vendor prior to and during the State Fair. Information on rental rates and reservations can be obtained by contacting GTI Golf Carts at 1-800-477-0467.

Renters will be required to obtain golf cart permits from the State Fair office and show proof of liability insurance before operating a golf cart on the grounds. Information on golf cart permits will be posted on the State Fair website at or by contacting the State Fair office at (605) 353-7340.

Disabled golf cart permits are for transporting disabled individuals only. The disabled individual who is issued the permit must occupy a seat on the cart whenever it is used.

Violators will have their golf cart privileges revoked.

More courtesy carts and drivers will be made available for rides. Courtesy carts operating on the fairgrounds will be increased by 50 percent. The State Fair will also

add more trams to the routes.

Golf carts will be restricted from operating in high traffic areas, such as Independent Midway Avenue, areas near the NorthWestern Energy Freedom Stage, Expo building,

Women's Building, and Arts and Education building.

Those areas will be marked on the State Fair map and clearly marked with signs. Only authorized State Fair personnel will be allowed to operate golf carts in those areas.

The State Fair also has made arrangements with a vendor to have more personal scooters on hand for patrons to rent. Information for reservations will be posted on the

State Fair website.

All golf carts operating on the State Fairgrounds will receive a copy of the rules and regulations that will be strictly enforced. Additional security personnel will be hired this year to monitor golf cart traffic on the fairgrounds. Failure to abide by the rules will result in the operator's permit being revoked and possible removal from the premises.

Golf cart rules and regulations

1. The use of personal golf carts is not allowed on the State Fairgrounds during the annual State Fair. Only those carts authorized by the State Fair will be allowed to

operate on State Fair property.

2. All golf carts and operators must be registered with the South Dakota State Fair. Permits will be displayed in a highly visible area.

3. All golf cart operators must be 16 years of age or older and have a valid driver's license.

4. The South Dakota State Fair reserves the right to restrict golf carts that have been accessorized, altered or modified from a standard golf cart design.

5. South Dakota Motor Vehicle Laws apply to all operators of golf carts.

6. The maximum speed limit is 15 mph.

7. No unauthorized signs or advertising on golf carts is allowed.

8. All golf carts are restricted to designated camping areas and established roadways. No unauthorized golf carts will be allowed in the show areas or

restricted areas. Please refer to the map issued with the golf cart permit for restricted areas.

9. No more than the allotted number of people can ride on available seating on golf carts.

10. Golf carts are required to yield to pedestrians at all times.

11. No golf carts can be operated without lighted headlights from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.

12. Operation of a golf cart while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is prohibited by state law. No person may possess or consume alcohol or drugs while

operating a golf cart on State Fair property; violators are subject to arrest for DUI.

13. Careless driving or behavior that endangers or would likely endanger any person or property will not be tolerated.

14. Failure to abide by the rules will result in the operator's permit being revoked and possible removal from the premises.

15. Golf carts for the disabled are to be used for transporting disabled individuals only. The disabled individual must be present while the cart is being operated.