Columbus to consider allowing golf cart use on some streets

Published 5:00 pm Monday, May 21, 2012

Tryon also researching use
Columbus Town Council agreed last week to look into allowing golf cart use in the town after receiving a request from Sandra Gillie, who attended council’s Thursday, May 17 meeting.
Gillie said Saluda already allows golf cart use and the Town of Tryon is also looking into the possibility.
Interim Tryon Town Manager Joey Davis said Tryon is informally researching the use of golf carts.
Gillie said she moved to Columbus three years ago and lives just outside the city limits. She said she’d like for Columbus to allow golf cart use on secondary roads, specifically to go to the park and swimming pool. She said from her research, the town would have to designate someone to inspect the golf carts and would have to issue stickers and designate areas where golf carts could be ridden.
“I just want to continue doing some of the things I’ve done all my life,” Gillie said.
Gillie said she has always loved the outdoors but after being diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and suffering joint pain, she can’t walk. She said she still works and when she gets home she likes to ride her golf cart.
Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre said Columbus could talk with Saluda to see how they regulate golf carts.
Councilman Ricky McCallister said the research has already been done in Columbus as former police chief Butch Kennedy looked into the idea and said it wasn’t feasible for Columbus at that time. McCallister suggested the town could look into the idea again, however.
State legislators have to approve the use before a city or town can allow golf cart use. Saluda asked legislators to sponsor a bill and in 2006 the N.C. General Assembly approved an act to authorize the City of Saluda to regulate golf carts on public streets or highways within the city.
The state gives the city or town permission to enact its own ordinance regulating the operation of golf carts. Through the ordinance, a city may 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 the operation of golf carts.
Golf carts on public streets require certain equipment, such as lights, per state statutes. Areas can restrict golf carts to secondary roads and golf carts are allowed only on streets with speed limits under specified levels.
In addition to Saluda, several other towns and cities across the state, allow golf carts.
Saluda’s regulations allow golf carts within city limits, including on Main Street. Saluda enacted an ordinance and requires golf cart users to fill out a registration form and sign a limited liability waiver.

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