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Golf cart on-roading causes concern in South Heart

As the days heat up and the sun shines, residents might enjoy a round of golf.

But South Heart officials are concerned about the equipment leaving the course. The city council is considering instating an ordinance prohibiting driving golf carts on city streets.

The issue was raised that golf carts are being used as a form of transportation in town by children. To control the issue, an ordinance prohibiting use or some type of regulation on how they can be used on city streets must be put in place, Councilman Chuck Andrus said.

It is too soon to determine how the ordinance would be stated, Andrus said, but there are comparable regulations that may serve as a guideline.

"There are laws that restrict certain types of vehicles on the books, such as ATVs and so on," Andrus said. "We are looking at something similar to restrict golf cart drivers."

North Dakota Century Code prohibits driving on federal, state, or county highways in the city, but grants governing bodies of cities to allow carts on city streets.

Most carts do not have lights or signals and "are not street ready vehicles," Andrus said.

Who is behind the wheel is just as important as the type of vehicle.

"The concern is that minors are driving," Andrus said, adding that they are unlicensed. "It is a bad circumstance to have someone who has no driving experience able to run a vehicle on a highway or city street."

South Heart resident Margaret Braun said she has seen kids driving golf carts, but they haven't been a nuisance. However, she was concerned about the well-being of the youngsters.

"They can get a little reckless," she said, adding that many aren't aware of hazards because of driving inexperience. "It is a fun thing for them, but they need to realize it is not a toy."

Andrus said the area has seen increased heavy truck traffic due to a recent oil boom and that more vehicles mean more chances of incidents.

Some allowances might be made for adults driving to the nearby Pheasant Country Golf Course, Andrus said.

The council is researching what other communities are doing to control golf cart traffic and information will be presented at the next monthly meeting.

"Just like any community we are concerned about our citizens and protection of life, limb and property, so we are taking a serious look at it," Andrus said.