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O’Fallon approves golf cart use on city streets

The use of golf carts on city streets in O’Fallon has been approved.

Council member Dale Kling [Ward 3] had introduced Bill No. 7136 at the Oct. 10 council meeting, including a Public Comment session and first reading.  The bill amends Chapter 300 of the O’Fallon Municipal Code by inserting a new section [340.360] authorizing the use of golf carts on streets and roadways within the city, but with specific conditions and restrictions.

At its Oct. 24 meeting, the City Council approved Bill No. 7136.1 by a vote of 10 to 0.

The State of Missouri already has rules about golf cart use on roadways, but they are less precise and difficult to enforce.  This O’Fallon bill establishes specific, more easily enforceable rules for what a golf cart is, and how and when a golf cart can and cannot be used.

Those rules include (slightly paraphrased):

1. A golf cart is any motor vehicle that is or was originally designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes, and is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour (MPH).

2. All-terrain vehicles and off-road vehicle are not “golf carts” within the meaning of these regulations.

3. No golf cart may be operated on any private property without permission of the property owner.

4. Golf carts may be operated on any public street, other than a state or federal highway, having a speed limit of 30 MPH or less.

5. Golf carts may be operated on public sidewalks and public pedestrian and bicycle paths, which have a travel surface of at least 6 feet wide, unless prohibited by posted signs.

6. No person shall operate a golf cart:

a. Without a valid driver’s license.

b. In a negligent or careless manner so as to endanger any person or property of another.

c. While under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.

d. Who is less than 16 years old.

e. At any time between ½ hour before sunset and ½ hour before sunrise the following day, unless the golf cart is equipped with a lamp on the front with a white light visible from at least 500 feet to the front, and either a solid red taillight visible from 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful low-beam headlights on a motor vehicle, or a flashing LED taillight together with a red reflector visible 600 feet

f. Without a bicycle safety flag, triangular in shape, with an area at least 30 square inches in a dayglow color, and extending at least 7 feet above the ground attached to the rear of the golf cart.

g. Without a horn or other device capable of emitting an audible warning signal.

h. With more passengers than the golf cart is specifically designed to carry while seated.

i. With any passengers standing in the rear bag storage area or hanging onto the golf cart.

j. On any state or federal highway, other than to cross a portion of the highway which interests a street upon which golf cart use is lawful, except that no golf cart shall cross any street which has a posted speed limit of more than 45 MPH (even if there is a traffic light).

k. On any public street, sidewalk, pedestrian or bicycle path, or other public way of any kind other than the streets, sidewalks, and paths designated above.

7. Any person operating a golf cart shall:

a. Yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian or bicyclist, and

b. Give an audible signal before overtaking or passing a pedestrian or bicyclist, and

c. Move the golf cart to the far-right side and yield to faster-moving vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and

d. Maintain proof of financial responsibility or maintain any other insurance policy providing equivalent liability coverage for operation of a golf cart, and

e. Adhere to all applicable state and local laws including, but not limited to the provisions of this code.

Mid Rivers Newsmagazine previously published a story about this on Oct. 14.

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