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Council puts carts law into neutral

POSTED: January 12, 2012 6:00 p.m.
Photo by Pat Donahue/

Incumbents Troy Allen and Gary Weitman and newcomer Steve Shealy are sworn into office as Springfield City Council members Tuesday night by Judge Ed Reddick.

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Springfield City Council wants to know more about a new state law before taking action on a golf cart ordinance.

A state law that went into effect Jan. 1 put golf carts into a personal transportation vehicle class. It also established guidelines for local governments seeking to enact ordinances on how those golf carts could be operated on roads. The golf carts also have to be registered with the state Department of Motor Vehicles and must have brakes, tail lights, a horn, a rearview mirror and a reverse warning device. They also must have seat restraints at the hip. The carts must not be able to go over 20 mph and must weigh less than 1,375 pounds.

“It’s as if all the work we spent the last few months went out the window,” City Manager Brett Bennett said.

The city had been delving into what an ordinance needed in order for golf cart drivers to cross a state highway in the city limits.

“I feel like if you register with the DMV, a lot of the requirements we have are unnecessary,” Bennett said.

Mayor pro tem Jeff Ambrose wondered if the city needed to enact an ordinance, in wake of the state’s new law.

“That’s the question I have,” Bennett said.

Bennett also asked how the city would permit the golf carts if they are not registered with the state.

“What are we going to do with the folks running around with carts now?” asked council member Charles Hinely.

“That’s an interesting question,” said Springfield Police Chief Paul Wynn.

Wynn said they still would not let golf carts operate at night.

“I can’t see them allowing anyone to ride down the bypass in a golf cart,” Bennett said.

In 2010, then-Gov. Sonny Perdue vetoed SB 519, which would have mandated that anyone driving a motorized cart had to have a driver’s license. Gov. Nathan Deal signed SB 240 into law last May. The new law does not pertain to power wheelchairs and scooters, nor does it have any effect on all-terrain vehicles.

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