Eddyville, KY

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Golf carts could be coming to a county road near you

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - Updated: 1:02 AM
By Jody Norwood jnorwood@heraldledger.com

Lyon County is continuing to develop an ordinance that would permit golf carts on some county roads.

The Lyon County Fiscal Court brought up the issue last month and again last week.

Magistrates are considering a possible ordinance, but took no action Thursday during their regular monthly meeting. Court members and area residents discussed if participation would be large enough to warrant proposed increased regulation.

Ray McCutchan, a Kuttawa resident, voiced about regulations that would be part of the ordinance.

"I don't understand really why you're doing this," McCutchan said. "I don't know of a lot of problems in my neighborhood. Everybody there, practically, has a golf cart. Most of them don't have turn signals and all this other stuff you've got to have to make them street legal. A lot of the homes are weekend homes. They come in from out of town and go out on their golf carts. Whatever laws you pass, if you have a lot of requirements, chances are a lot of these people won't even know about it.

"If there's not a big problem, I don't see what the rush is to make people get insurance on them, have turn signals put on, and lights.... It looks to me like the easy way out is to not do anything."

County Attorney Lee Wilson said state and federal laws would mandate requirements like a safety triangle, seat belts, head lights and turn signals. Operators would also be required to have a valid drivers license. Golf carts, according to federal definition, would be limited to vehicles designed not to exceed 35 miles per hour, carry less than six passengers, a max weight of 2,500 pounds and meets federal standards for low speed vehicles.

Vehicle insurance will also be required, just like for a car or truck.

"If the county does this, we're going to have to issue permits for golf carts, we're going to have to inspect the golf carts," Wilson said. "They're going to have to pay a fee to have it inspected. You can only operate these golf carts on posted roads where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less.

"You're not going to be able to take a golf cart you would play a round of golf on, pull it up here, have it inspected and have it pass. Not to mention, you're probably not going to be able to get insurance on one of those."

If an ordinance is put into effect, Wilson urged the county to put up signs designating which roads allow golf carts.

Judge Executive Wade White said current traffic laws prohibit the use of golf carts, ATVs, side-by-sides and other non-traditional vehicles from being on county roads. Kuttawa does have an ordinance allowing golf carts on some city streets.

The ordinance does not allow for golf carts to be operated on county roads.

White asked the court if the county would just be assuming more expense to pass an ordinance that might not be utilized.

"How much trouble are we going to go through -- and expense -- and not [have] many people do it?" White asked. "We're going to go through an expense."

Road Superintendent Tommy Melton said sign posts would be a significant expense, costing the county about $20 each.

Sheriff Kent Murphy said his department has inspected about 20 golf carts in Kuttawa. Deputies carry inspection sheets in their cruisers to give drivers not in compliance with the city ordinance. Murphy said the ordinance has worked out well for the city.

"Right now, we just deal with each golf cart complaint individually," Murphy said. "But, like in Kuttawa's instance, they made it legal. Since they did, everybody has the chance to do it legally, so we try to make sure they're operating the right way. You can drive to Kuttawa and see people with the flags and little inspection stickers."

Murphy cautioned the court to consider the cost if additional residents want to include more roads after the ordinance takes effect.

Wilson asked magistrates to collect addresses of their constituents requesting to have roads included in the ordinance.

In other business, the court approved $2,000 to purchase viewing glasses for the solar eclipse in August. Magistrate Bobby Cummins made the motion, which was approved.

White said the glasses will cost about 33 cents each, and will be given out to area residents.

Experts encourage using the glasses to safely view the eclipse.

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