Meadowlakes passes new golf cart rules for streets

MEADOWLAKES — Worried about the safety of children driving with other children, the City Council Tuesday approved several new restrictions for golf cart drivers on streets. At the top of the list: Nighttime golf cart operators are now required to have a driver’s license. And daytime operators without a driver’s license must have someone 21 or older in the cart with them.

“I’m mainly concerned with 10- and 12-year-olds operating a golf cart without adult supervision,” said Councilman Joe Summers.

Under previous rules, minors without a valid driver’s license could operate a golf cart on city streets as long as there was licensed driver in the vehicle. But that created a situation where a 10-year-old could operate a cart accompanied by a licensed 16-year-old, something that didn’t sit well with the council.

“Instead of being a licensed driver, it should be a parent or grandparent,” said Councilwoman Christine Forsyth — or at least someone 21 or older, she added.

Summers said several communities such as Lakeway have adopted similar rules.

Councilwoman Franzella Jones said while she unde rstood her colleague’s concerns,  when her grandchildren visit she likes to “treat” them by letting them drive a cart on the road with her in it.

The new rules would take the “treat” away from her grandchildren, she said.

Anther requirement approved by the council calls for all occupants in a moving cart to be seated.

Forsyth said the ordinance protects juveniles who ride in carts while hanging off of them.

Golf carts on streets must also have a city-issued decal so code enforcement and law enforcement officers can determine who owns the vehicle in case of a violation.

“So if somebody is misbehaving with (a golf cart), we have a way to track it back to the owner,” said Mayor John Aaron.

There will not be a charge for the decal, he added.

Golf carts operated at night must have head lamps, taillights and brake lamps, council members said.

“You may not believe it, but we do have people who drive their golf carts at night with no lights,” the mayor said.

In other business, the council approved the city’s financial audit completed by Neffendorf, Knopp, Doss and Co.

Keith Neffendorf told the council that the city is in sound financial shape.

The council also approved a special election May 8 to allow residents to vote on a city manager form of government. The election will be held in conjunction with the general election for the mayor’s and two council spots.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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