New rules for golf carts?

November 9, 2009 4:52:29 PM PST
Slow moving golf carts are popular with people who live in neighborhoods near the beach. But League City says they can create dangerous situations when they travel onto major roads. There are some upgraded golf cars that are classified as neighborhood electric vehicles. They are street legal with limited use. But what League City police are taking aim at is the growing use of actual golf cars made for the course that are continue to find their way on to the open road.

David Whitt and his sons like to play golf regularly, but he has found that his club car is also handy for everyday errands.

He said, "I run to pick up my kids at school. It's just a quick way to jump in, you know, unplug the golf cart, you run over here and grab them."

He lives in the golf course community of South Shore Harbor and League City police say the golf car traffic is growing and drivers are becoming bolder.

Lt. Greg Flowers with the League City Police Department explained, "We are seeing the golf carts driving on sidewalks. They are operating on major highways and roadways that are causing traffic congestion."

Lt. Flowers say some of these major arterial roads in League City are beginning to see more and more golf cars and they are not sure these are the safest roads to be on, including South Shore Boulevard, FM 518 and several others.

"Oh yeah," said Whitt. "That happens every Saturday morning. Someone is going down South Shore Boulevard to cross 518 to get coffee or go to the store or go run errands."

While League City police say they don't recall any accidents they would like to better define current state law concerning the use of golf cars. Currently you are allowed to operate a golf cart to and from the golf course within a master planned community.

"We are looking to increase safety while trying to still allow the public to still use the golf carts," Lt. Flowers said.

Here is what LCPF will propose to their city council:

  • Golf cars are to be used within a half mile of where they are stored, like a home.
  • They can only be driven on a road of 30 miles per hour or less. State law currently says 35 miles or less.
  • They can operate only during daytime.
Meantime, Whitt says he will stick to driving to the golf course.

He said, "For me personally, it's not going to be a problem. As soon as it's gets dusk, I am pretty much done playing golf so I am on my way home."

Lt. Flowers says the League City police department will make its presentation to city council next Tuesday. No immediate vote is expected.

The City of Galveston is also studying the use of golf carts on public streets. Last week, the city council voted to form a committee to study it. People who live on the west end of the island say they use their carts to visit neighbors and go to the store, and don't want a ban.

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