‘Share the Road’

Published 5:05 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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MURFREESBORO – Along with cars and trucks, golf carts may soon be seen traveling on some roads in Murfreesboro, thanks to a new ordinance approved by the town council.

The decision was made at the Sept. 28 meeting after several months of discussion by the council and the town’s police chief to iron out the details of what would be necessary to include. The result is a comprehensive ordinance that lays out the requirements for golf cart registration, road restrictions, safety necessities, and more.

Murfreesboro did not previously have any ordinance regulating golf carts.

According to the ordinance, a golf cart is defined as a vehicle for operation on a golf course or recreational purposes, and is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour. Other vehicles, such as ATVs, 4-wheelers, go-carts, side-by-sides, are not permitted to be operated on town streets.

Other than a handful of streets where operation is prohibited, golf carts will be allowed on all public streets within the town where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less. The prohibited streets are Main Street, NC Hwy 11, US Hwy 258, Spring Avenue, and Union Street. Drivers can, however, cross over these prohibited streets to a street that is directly opposite.

But before golf cart owners can hit the streets, the new ordinance also requires that the vehicle must first be registered with the town. Applicants must fill out a registration application, pay the $75 annual registration fee, and show proof of liability insurance. The golf cart must also be inspected by the police chief.

Registrations will be valid for one year starting on July 1 through the following June 30.

Golf carts must also include safety features which include two operating headlamps, two operating taillights, a rear or sideview mirror, at least one reflector per side, a parking brake, no more than four rows of seats, and brake lights.

Golf cart operators and passengers must also follow important safety regulations such as staying seated while the vehicle is in motion, not exceeding 20 miles per hour, obeying all traffic laws, yielding the right of way to pedestrians, prohibiting the consumption of alcohol, and more. Additionally, golf carts are subject to the same parking regulations as traditional motor vehicles.

Operators must be 16 years of age or older.

Golf carts are not permitted on the shoulder of any street, any sidewalk, or any multi-use pedestrian path.

According to the ordinance, anyone in violation shall be subject to penalties, which includes a $50 fine for each offense.

Council member David Brown motioned to adopt the new ordinance, and Craig Dennis provided the second. The vote was unanimously in favor from those in attendance.

Council member Berna Stephens was unable to attend the meeting.

Later in the meeting, Murfreesboro Police Chief David Griffith stated, as he has in previous meetings, that he is in favor of lowering speed limits on some areas from 25 mph to 20 mph now that golf carts will be sharing the roadways as well. He stated that would be safer for all involved.

The council, however, has not indicated yet whether they’ll pursue those changes.