City wants to ride golf cart bill

Published 5:52 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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Franklin’s City Council voted unanimously on Jan. 11 to seek inclusion in a General Assembly bill that would allow travel by golf cart throughout most of the city.

Currently, state law only allows travel by golf cart on public roads where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour or lower, and bars them from crossing any highway where the speed limit exceeds 35 mph. Del. Emily Brewer (R-64) is sponsoring House Bill 1752 on behalf of the town of Smithfield, which would amend the law to allow the town to enact a local ordinance permitting golf cart travel in speed limits up to 35 mph. HB 1752 would further eliminate the speed limit cap for a golf cart to cross a highway — provided the Virginia Department of Transportation marks a golf cart crossing.

“Now’s our opportunity if we wanted to be added onto this bill,” City Manager Amanda Jarratt told the City Council members. “We need to make that request to our delegate, Del. [Roslyn] Tyler.”

“The city of Norfolk specifically has lots of golf carts down in their downtown area, and there’s a few areas that are 35 mph zones, so they’re also interested in this as well,” Jarratt added.

But the fact that more than one municipality has now expressed an interest in raising the speed limit for golf cart travel doesn’t mean the bill will become law. It still must go through the General Assembly process. As of Jan. 15, it had been referred from the House of Delegates Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns to its Committee on Transportation.

Brewer is also sponsoring House Bill 2122, which would add Ivor to the list of towns that may authorize the operation of golf carts and utility vehicles on designated public highways despite not having established its own police department.