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Golf carts may be legalized on city streets

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Springfield council looking into fuel-saving options

By Jimmie Earls

By Jimmie Earls

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Sun Staff Writer

There are no fairways, sand traps or greens, but perhaps an occasional water hazard can be found. Still, the streets of Springfield could see a lot more golf cart traffic in their future.

Springfield City Council member Mike Elliott is preparing legislation for the next city council meeting on August 12 that could allow residents to use golf carts within the city limits.

“Gas is not going to get any cheaper,” said Elliott. “This could be a big issue. There could be a lot of golf carts, bicycles and mopeds among other things.”

The golf carts can also be very fuel-efficient, using very little gas or running on battery power.

“I’ve had a personal golf cart at the golf course,” said Elliott. “Put three or four gallons of gas in it and you can get maybe eight to ten rounds of golf out of it. A golf cart would have to get in excess of 100 miles to the gallon, I would say. It just goes forever.”

Although Kentucky recently passed a state-wide law allowing the carts, it’s up to each city as to whether they may be used. Unless your town has such a law, it’s still illegal to use them despite the state law.

Dr. John Isaacs, a local dentist, has been riding a golf cart on local streets. He said he would like to see Springfield make the practice legal.

“I think it’s an excellent idea. I’ve been doing it for years, illegally. I’ve been kind of sheepishly driving around,” Isaacs said. “I was told by the mayor, an insurance agent and a circuit judge that it is illegal. That’s why I bought a scooter. They are legal.”

Isaacs said if golf carts are legal, he will be one of the drivers using them on Springfield streets. He said he has to gas up his golf cart about twice per year, and averages around 100 miles to the gallon of gas, spending about $20 per fill-up.

“It’s a good way to travel, and just a friendly way to get around town,” Isaacs said, adding that he is not worried about safety on a golf cart on city streets.

“I’ll stay off the main roads like 555, but I have no other safety concerns at all,” he said. Isaacs pointed out that he has had an accident on his scooter, so he sees the golf cart as a safer option.

“If golf carts are made legal, I’ll certainly use that more. It’s safer than a scooter, and I’ve proven that,” he added with a laugh.

The state law allows the carts on roads with speed limits of 35 miles-per-hour and under. They can only be driven from sunrise to sunset and be used solely on designated streets by individuals with a valid state-issued drivers license.

If the city council passes the law, persons wishing to use a golf cart in the city would be issued a permit by the city, show proof of insurance, display a slow-moving vehicle emblem and have the cart inspected by the sheriff’s office.

Golf cart drivers are also not allowed to cross streets that have a speed limit above 35 mph, meaning you cannot cross across the intersection at state Route 55 and state Route 555 toward Bardstown.

“We don’t want an unsafe issue out there,” added Elliott. “We don’t want anybody to get hurt or create a situation where it’s a safety hazard.”

Having golf carts on the city streets may require a period of adjustment as those who drive cars, trucks and other conventional vehicles get used to the slower moving carts and vice versa.

“The public has to be educated about golf carts and bicycles as well as the people who drive carts have to be educated on watching out for cars. I believe it’s a start in the right direction,” Elliott said.

The next Springfield City Council meeting will be held Aug. 12 at city hall, it is open to the public.