City enacts golf cart regulations

By Andrea Cordle
Southwest Editor

“If they want to be legal and, on the road, rules will have to be followed,” said Grove City Councilman Jeff Davis.

Davis was talking about the city’s new legislation on low-speed and under speed vehicles, more commonly referred to as golf carts.

At the Oct. 21 meeting, Grove City Council unanimously approved legislation to regulate golf carts and similar low speed vehicles.

“Most golf carts you see on the road are not legal,” said Stephen Smith, law director. “This legislation gives residents a path to make them legal.”

Smith said the legislation stems from people using golf carts on public streets and on city bike paths. The law director said people are not just using the carts to drive down their residential street, they are using them to run to the grocery store or stop by a local park.

“The reality is, they are out there, and we want to ensure they are safe for the occupant as well as the general public,” said Smith.

Under the approved ordinance, the city would strictly prohibit the low-speed vehicles from main thoroughfares in Grove City, such as Broadway, Stringtown Road and London-Groveport Road. The legislation also requires that the golf cart operator have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance. If a golf cart driver wanted to take the vehicle on a street with a 35 mile per hour speed limit, that cart would have to be inspected by the Grove City Division of Police or another law enforcement agency. The cart would have to be equipped with safety features such as properly working brake lights, head lights, taillights and turn signals. The cart would also need a windshield, a review mirror, seatbelts and a front and rear license plate.

Smith said most of the golf carts on the roads today do not meet these safety standards.

Even though council unanimously approved the legislation to regulate low speed vehicles, some had concerns about the new rules.

Councilman Roby Schottke said he is concerned about how this legislation would impact the Pinnacle community; an area built around a golf course. He said residents there expect to use their golf carts on the streets or bike paths to get to the golf course. He also said some carts may not easily convert so that they follow the law.

Smith argued that the golf carts are not legal now, nor have they ever been under the Ohio revised code.

“The residents are not in a worse position now,” said Smith. “Now, they have a way to make them legal.”

Davis said he would not have a problem with the golf carts staying within the confines of a neighborhood, where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. He did express concern with allowing the legal carts on roads that allow for 35 miles per hour speed.

“Golf carts disrupt traffic. They do not go 35 miles per hour,” said Davis.

Councilman Ted Berry agreed, saying golf carts slow traffic and drivers cannot go around them as they could with a bicycle.

“Driving a golf cart during rush hour traffic is not a smart thing,” said Berry.

Though council approved the legislation as presented by the city’s administration, council members could revisit the issue to address the carts traveling on roads with a 35 mile per hour speed limit.

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