Golf cart joyriders are unsafe on city streets
June 20, 2013
Residents who take joyrides on golf carts in town flout a 24-year-old city law that allows people to drive carts to the Carroll Municipal Golf Course.
It's a growing problem that opens the scofflaws to fines and puts them at-risk of a dangerous crash, police Chief Jeff Cayler said.
"Our biggest concern is that when kids are out driving on these carts that someone's going to get hurt," he said.
Here's an example:
"We had a near-miss this year," Cayler said. "Three young girls - maybe 14 years old - blew a stop sign in front of another vehicle that had the right of way. Luckily, they were able to get stopped before they hit them."
Under city law, residents who have a driver's license and insurance can drive between home and the golf course. The carts cannot be driven on a primary road and are required to have a slow-moving-vehicle sign and flag.
The law was adopted in 1989 because there are no storage sheds to house the carts, and golfers would otherwise have to use a trailer to get the carts to the course.
Brenda Bruggeman, the clubhouse manager of the course, said there are about 160 members who have carts. There are other non-members who drive carts there, too, she said.
Those who violate the city law face a $195 fine. Children can be ticketed as if they were driving a car without a license - a $330 fine.
All golf-cart drivers are subject to traffic laws that govern typical transportation.
"Should they have an accident, and they're not insured, that's a $875 fine," Cayler said.
He did not know how many citations his officers have issued in past years, but said no one has been ticketed this year.
"It's not a huge, huge problem yet. ... We're not at the point of asking to end the ordinance," Cayler said. "But there's enough abuse that we're just trying to encourage people to follow the law."
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