Golf cart legislation waiting for Governor's signature -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Golf cart legislation waiting for Governor's signature

A signature from Governor Nathan Deal could put golf carts in traffic on local streets across the state.

The House put its stamp of approval on the Senate bill that would allow golf carts that travel under 20 mile per hour and have some safety features on roads if local governments allow. Right now, Albany is one of several cities that have an ordinance banning golf carts from its streets.

Many neighborhoods across southwest Georgia have golf carts, they've become an inexpensive way to easily get around and socialize. Police say the problem is not may think of them like a car, which is exactly what police say adults need to do.

More golf carts are popping up not on the course but on Dougherty County streets. Police say, that's fine as long as the rules of the road are followed.

"You have to have a license to drive one, just like you would with a vehicle also," said Lt. M.J. Wood, Dougherty County Police.

That's not what often happens.

"They'll have their children, frequently elementary to junior high age and normally more than one person on them and that would be illegal," said Lt. Wood.

It's why the city of Albany has banned them from city streets.

"There's a lot of potential danger, particularly if you get away from just a purely neighborhood street, do you require light, tail lights, any other safety requirements, seat belts, things like that so it's not an easy issue," said Albany Assistant City Manager Wes Smith.

Which is why the state legislature has been pushing for more guidelines. If the Governor signs the legislation, it would require carts on the street to have necessary safety features.

"They've got to have headlights, tail lights, brake lights, signal lights everything just like a vehicle," said Lt. Wood.

A horn, rear view mirror, and hip restraints as well. At Battery Source, they've found the carts are helping neighbors get to know their neighbor with ladies cart clubs.

"They'll enjoy getting to meet each other, they'll ride their carts for about two hours, next Saturday they do the same thing, different house," said Tommy Stone, Battery Source manager.

It's happening in several Dougherty County neighborhoods. The legislation has been pitched as a jobs bill for Georgia since there are three manufactures here. Battery Source thinks it could also help their business as well.

Battery Source also says they set their carts so they don't go any faster than 14 miles per hour. The law is for carts under 20 miles per hour, on roads with speed limits at 35 miles per hour or less. Governor Sonny Perdue vetoed similar legislation last year.

If signed by Governor Deal, the measure would take affect January 1, 2012. Local governments can ultimately decide whether to allow it in their community.

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