03/16/09 — Pikeville considers allowing citizens to use golf carts on town's streets

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Pikeville considers allowing citizens to use golf carts on town's streets

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on March 16, 2009 1:46 PM

Pikeville residents might soon be able to jump in their golf carts and head to the grocery store or the post office.

Town officials have requested legislation that would allow the use of golf carts within the town limits to help offset economic woes bearing down on its citizens.

"With gas prices being really high, we've had a lot of citizens call and ask if they could put golf carts on the streets to save money," Town Administrator Kathie Fields said. "We have listened. We're trying to help any way we can."

The bill passed through the state House and is currently in the Senate where it has been referred to a committee on local and state government.

The golf cart bill will have stipulations that residents will have to follow if they decide to use the motor vehicle alternative.

Golf carts will need to be registered at Town Hall and must be street-approved, meaning the carts must have seat belts, brake lights, headlights and rearview mirrors, Ms. Fields said.

The town hopes to also save money and has already purchased one golf cart to use to check meters and on other items around town.

But Ms. Fields said she is waiting on the bill before putting it on the street.

If it is passed, Ms. Fields said the town might purchase another cart for town officials to use.

The towns of Fremont and Mount Olive both have ordinances on golf carts.

Fremont's has been in place since August 2008, and Town Manager Kerry McDuffie said the ordinance has "been great."

"We'd had a few problems with golf carts, so we decided that we would need to either stop it or make it legal," McDuffie said. "We decided to make it legal."

But he said Fremont doesn't have as harsh of restrictions on the carts as other towns might.

"Some (towns) make you have it registered at town hall and make you pay a fee. We don't do that. We just make sure it is street-appropriate, that the carts yield to cars and that you not go over 35 mph, but I don't know too many golf carts that will go over 35 mph," he said.

Fremont has purchased two golf carts to use in the town.

"We use it for the public works department to check water and electric meters," he said. "It's been a good thing."

McDuffie said he isn't sure of the amount of money the town has saved so far, but believes the savings will come in the long run.

"You save money with an electric golf cart because you don't have to buy gas. It's more of a long-term investment," he said.

Mount Olive passed an ordinance around the same time as Fremont, but the southern town's ordinance is much stricter.

The town's ordinance includes the provisions that golf carts be street-appropriate, may not be driven on Breazeale Avenue other than to cross the street, may not be driven on any sidewalk and must be registered and have a valid permit sticker issued by the town.

Ms. Fields said that town officials haven't yet decided if Pikeville residents will have to pay a registration fee.