Legalizing golf carts in Southampton County would cost $10,000

Published 10:59 am Thursday, December 1, 2011

COURTLAND—Spending $10,000 on road signs to make it legal for motorists to drive golf carts on Southampton County’s roadways proved to be too steep.

Supervisors during their Monday meeting agreed that a proposed ordinance that would allow golf carts to travel on 67 qualifying roads should require drivers, not taxpayers, to pick up the tab for the required signs.

Supervisor Anita Felts during the October meeting suggested the golf cart issue be put on the agenda, given the popularity of the vehicles.

Without a law on the books, it’s illegal to drive them in the county. The county does have the option to adopt an ordinance, which as dictated by the state, would allow people to drive golf carts on roadways posted at 25 miles per hour or less.

The state also requires that operators be licensed drivers, and a golf cart must be equipped with a slow-moving vehicle emblem. Golf carts without lights can be driven from sunrise to sunset. The law also requires that roadways designated for use by golf carts be posted with appropriate signs.

It was determined 67 roads in the county, not including incorporated towns like Boykins and Courtland, would need the signs. Assuming one is placed on each end of every roadway, the cost is estimated at $10,000.

“To post signs for golf carts when I can’t pay to send a child to the library . . .,” said Supervisor Ronnie West, referring to an $11,300 request to restore the youth program at the library in Courtland, which also was discussed during the same meeting.

“We’re still in a very rural area,” West continued. “Putting golf carts on a road in the same direction of travel (isn’t a good idea).”

County Administrator Mike Johnson noted the ordinance could require anyone wishing to drive a golf cart on a certain road to pay for the signage.

“Whoever wants it on the street, can pay for it,” said Supervisor Chairman Dallas Jones.

The proposed ordinance will be presented early next year.