UTV/Golf Carts

On December 18, 2017, the Clear Lake City Council passed an ordinance to permit the operation of off-road utility vehicles (UTV) on certain streets. The ordinance only applies to UTV operation within the City of Clear Lake.

Highlights of the new law are:

  • A permit issued by the police department is required before operation on a city street.
  • The permit is issued for a specific UTV, valid for one calendar year, and must be affixed to the left (driver’s) side rear fender or similar component. The fee is $25.00. There is a $5.00 replacement fee for lost permits.
  • Only a valid licensed driver, at least 18 years of age, may operate the UTV.
  • Before a permit is issued, an inspection will be conducted by a police officer that includes:
    • Proof the owner/operator has liability insurance covering city street operation in an amount not less than $300,000 in coverage.
    • The UTV is equipped with a slow moving sign (triangle), seat belts, and a rear view mirror.
    • The brakes and muffler work properly.
    • State DNR Registration has been obtained
    • The UTV has a manufacture installed roll-over protection system (ROPS)
  • Occupancy shall not exceed the number of passengers designed for by the manufacturer and no one may stand while the UTV is being operated.
  • UTVs cannot be operated upon any city streets with a posted speed limit of greater than 35 mph or on any city streets or parts of any city streets listed below:
    • US HWY 18
    • Iowa HWY 122
    • 4th Avenue S., between S. 24th Street and the eastern city limits;
    • N. 8th Street from 14th Avenue N. to the north city limits;
    • S. 8th Street from 15th Avenue S. to the south city limits; and
    • However, UTVs may cross the aforementioned streets, except US HWY 18 and HWY 122 shall be crossed at controlled intersections.
  • They cannot be driven on trails, sidewalks, the portion of a street designated for parking, city parks, and city owned property.
    • The city council may authorize operation in parks and publicly owned land for special events.
    • Can be operated on sidewalks for official city use or for snow removal.
  • UTVs may be operated on city streets only from sunrise to sunset. However, UTVs with working headlights and tallights may be operated during prohibited hours to perform snow removal activities and also to travel the most direct route from place of residence to and from Clear Lake to be operated on public land, snow, or ice of Clear Lake in compliance with Iowa Department of Natural Resources rules.  They cannot be parked overnight on city street or at any time in alleys.

UTV operators must obey all traffic laws and drive in a safe manner. The permit to drive a UTV within the city limits may be suspended or revoked if the owner/operator is found to be in violation of the ordinance. There is no refund of the permit fee and application for reinstatement is handled by the city council (must receive a majority vote).

 Click here to obtain an application for golf cart or UTV permit.

UTV – Golf Cart Permit Procedure

  • Owner/Operator completes UTV/Golf Cart application- applications are available at the police department (PD) or online at: www.cityofclearlake.com.
  • UTVs must be registered with the state prior to an inspection by a Clear Lake Police Officer. State permitting questions and locations are; Iowa DNR. Iowa residents can obtain registrations from a County Recorder’s Office.
  • Completed application is submitted to the police department in person, by email, or fax – please ensure all information is current and correct.
  • Applicant will be contacted primarily through email, if noted, or by phone to schedule an inspection by a police officer. Inspections usually occur between 8am and 2pm, unless other arrangements have been made.
  • Once inspection is completed successfully, the officer submits the report for administrative review and approval.
  • After approval, applicant will be contacted, primarily by email unless otherwise noted on application, to pay the $25.00 fee and pick up the permit at the police department – do not drive your UTV or golf cart to the PD until your permit has been affixed to the vehicle.
  • Any questions about the permit process can be answered by calling the PD at 641-357-2186, or by email at [email protected].

Please contact the police department at 641-357-2186 or by email at  [email protected] with any questions.

      City of Clear Lake Iowa
      15 N 6th St. | P.O. Box 185 Clear Lake, IA 50428  |  Phone: (641) 357-5267  |  Fax: (641) 357-8711
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