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Spring Hope considers rules for golf carts

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SPRING HOPE — Town officials are putting around the idea of developing stronger rules for golf cart use on public streets.

The conversation kicked off during last week’s budget meeting when Commissioner Ricky Tucker asked Police Chief Nathan Gant about carts driving around town late at night.

“At midnight I saw kids driving around a golf cart,” Tucker said. “I’d hate to see them get hit by a car.”

Gant said he’s been studying the issue and has looked at other towns’ rules. He said regulations should reflect Spring Hope’s circumstances rather than mimic those written for a golf resort town like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“I don’t want the rules to be too light or too hard,” Gant said. “I’m trying to find a happy medium.”

Gant said he’s considered a golf cart permit, but the coronavirus pandemic, business shutdown and stay-at-home order sidelined any plans to move forward. 

As is, the town follows the state-established minimum guidelines, which include a law that no one under 16 is allowed to operate a golf cart on a public street, road or highway.

A golf cart is defined in state statute as a “vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 mph.”

N.C. General Statute 153 allows local governments to require the registration of golf carts; charge a fee for the registration; specify who is authorized to operate golf carts; and specify the required equipment, load limits and the hours and methods of operation of golf carts.

There’s nothing stopping the town from adopting stricter policies.

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