Golf carts discussed in Murfreesboro

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 21, 2008

MURFREESBORO – Citizens here are coming up with a different way to get around town in order to combat rising fuel prices.

For approximately the past two years, Diane Dixon has used a golf cart to drive around town. Never venturing onto Main Street, Dixon was able to take care of her errands in a more affordable way.

“I did it for two reasons, (the increase in the cost of) gas was the main purpose and the environment,” she said about her choice in alternative transportation. “And it’s just plain fun. It makes you feel good that you’re doing something for the environment and your community.”

However, when Dixon was stopped by a police officer, she permanently placed her golf cart in park. Eventually, she sold it.

Holding no ill will against the officer who she said “was just doing his job,” Dixon set out to urge the town to establish ordinance in regards to golf carts. Currently, the town does not have an ordinance, instead relying on state code in regards to these types of transportation.

“I would like to see the town pass an ordinance allowing golf carts,” she said.

At last week’s Murfreesboro Town Council, Dixon brought the topic before council members during public comment.

Dixon said with gas prices on the rise, council should strongly consider allowing golf carts as a mean of transportation in town.

She continued by saying she would support restrictions on where golf carts would be allowed and any fees for permits or stickers the town would require.

Council members along with Public Safety and Police Chief Darrell Rowe and Town Attorney Buddy Jones discussed the matter at length.

Main Street, which is a state maintained road, was a point for dialogue. While golf carts could cross Main Street, they could not be driven down the road without certain requirements.

Rowe stated you can drive a golf cart on a state maintained road as long as it was equipped with headlights, seatbelts, turn signals, a license plate and all the other features motor vehicles have. He also noted golf carts with those features can be expensive.

“I’m not against it,” said Rowe. “My fear is the safety issue.”

Rowe said if there were an ordinance, it should be well detailed.

Mayor Pro-Tem Molly Eubank agreed with the research into the ordinance.

“I don’t see the difference in (a golf cart) and a bicycle,” she said.

Councilman Bill Theodorakis voiced concerns of golf carts on sidewalks and suggested the ordinance should encompass that as well.

Dixon, along with Rowe, Jones and Town Administrator Cathy Davison were appointed to a committee to study the issue.

Since the meeting, Davison said she has emailed other town administrators/managers in order to collect information on their community’s golf cart ordinances.