Golf carts OK’d for streets in some city neighborhoods

Effective January 4, street-legal folf carts can now roll down approved neighborhood streets with a resolution passed by Clinton’s Board of Aldermen last month. In order to be street legal, golf carts must have “headlights, taillights, brakes and seatbelts,” Mayor Phil Fisher said. “A golf cart without those things will not be allowed as a street-legal golf cart.” Back-up lights are not a requirement.

In addition, no one under the age of 16 will be allowed to drive a street-legal golf cart on the specified streets, as the driver must have a valid driver’s license.

Golf carts, which are specifially defined as a vehicle designed and manufactured to be operated on a folf course, are not allowed to exceed 20 mph when driven on an approved street.

The ordinance, which goes into effect this week, cites that the street-legal golf carts are not allowed on the freeway, limited access roads, principal arterial, minor arterial or collector roads as definded by the City’s comprehensive plan, except for crossing these streets; however, the driver must use the shortest traveling distance to cross streets.

When a cart is driven from dusk to dawn, the cart must use taillights and headlights, and may only be operated in the outside lane. The driver must also remain seated. If a golf-cart driver doesn’t comply with the items in this ordinance, the driver can be issued a traffic citation in the same manner as if the infraction occurred while operating a vehicle.

“How does this apply to the Christmas parade?” Ward 5 Alderman Jan Cossitt inquired.

“Since the streets are closed to traffic, the special event authorization applies to the Christmas and Caterpillar parade,” Ward 1 Alderman David Ellis said.

The golf carts are not required to have a license plate.

“The vehicle must be a golf cart. Anything that doesn’t meet the definition of a golf cart will be prohibited,” Ward 6 Alderman Mike Cashion said.

The ordinance was proposed after residents of at least one larger Clinton neighborhood and also in the Olde Towne area requested to drive golf carts in those areas. However, “if you’re going to drive it, you do need to have a license. State laws in numberous communities they are working with require a driver’s license. A golf cart is not legal until retrofitted with turn signals, brake lights, and headlights – this all has to be done before it is legal,” Fisher said.

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