That could be the sound heard ‘round Goldsboro when the City Council finalizes its golf cart on residential streets ordinance.
The state decided in 2009 to allow local boards and councils to decide whether allowing golf carts — or “personal transportation vehicles” (PTVs) as the industry knows them — was a good move for their communities.
City Council approved the ordinance on May 20, but that passage was conditional with amendments pending for debate.
PTVs on neighborhood streets are right for Goldsboro, as they have had a positive impact on areas that have accepted their use on roadways. People can move about their neighborhoods with ease, and engage with others in a way they never would if stuck in their homes, limiting themselves to driving past others in their cars and trucks sealed up tight and running air conditioning.
When it comes to the amendments that may be attached to the ordinance, we offer council members this caveat: Don’t allow regulations to become so excessive that people become uncomfortable taking advantage of a PTV.
For the most part, we agree with the terms we have seen. PTVs should only be used on roads with a maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour, and the police should inspect and safety check PTVs annually. Where we disagree is with an age regulation of 18 or older to operate a PTV on city streets. It is too restrictive. If people younger than 18 can be licensed to drive hurling pieces of metal, glass and polymers at 70 mph on a highway, they should be allowed to drive a PTV in a neighborhood. Also, keeping PTVs from crossing streets with speed limits higher than 35 mph is too great a restraint. Pedestrians and bicyclists cross roads that carry speed limits greater than 35 mph. As long as they do so in a manner that is legal (prescribed crosswalks and signals), safety is not a concern. Why should it be a concern for PTV operators and riders if they follow the same laws?
Many times, government — in its effort to allow something normally seen as simple — will place so many restrictions on the use or activity that it sucks all the fun from it. Scooting about neighbors at speeds of less than 20 mph in an open-air vehicle could be fun. We hope that the Council doesn’t ruin it for its residents with an excessive number of regulations.