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Police Drive Golf Carts From Pinehurst Streets

Posted January 22, 2008

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— For local golfers, driving to the green is a daily pastime. But if they try to drive to the greens in their golf carts, they now face a ticket.

Golf carts have scooted around on public streets in Pinehurst for decades as duffers head to and from the links. Al Lowrie said he's driven his cart around the village for 16 years, and it's become a second car to him.

"I've passed police cars all the time. I wave to them, they wave to me," Lowrie said.

Last week, however, he was pulled over on his way to Pinehurst No. 5.

"When I turned into the golf course, I heard a police siren," he said. "I'm sitting there thinking, 'He's going to give me a ticket.' He comes back from his patrol car and said, 'I'm going to cut you a break this time.'"

State law forbids driving an undocumented vehicle, including a golf cart, on a public road. Pinehurst police never enforced the law, but Chief Ronnie Davis said safety concerns prompted him to order officers to begin ticketing cart drivers.

Police issued 10 verbal warnings to golfers last week, but they have not issued any tickets yet.

"We've got 150,000 vehicles through Pinehurst ... a day," Davis said, citing state Department of Transportation figures. "My big fear (is) that someone will be severely injured or killed."

Davis asked the Village Council to seek an exemption from the General Assembly to allow Pinehurst to set its own regulations. Fifteen other North Carolina towns, including nearby Whispering Pines, have such exemptions.

"(We could) regulate what streets they could ride on, who can operate the vehicle, what time of day it can be operated," he said.

Because the Village Council didn't act on his request, Davis said his officers would enforce the state law. But council members have asked the police department to hold off on enforcement while it studies its options.

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  • WRALSUCKS Jan 23, 2008

    Great to know that the police are on the job, working the high priority criminal issues in Pinehurst! I'll sleep better at night, knowing that my tax dollars are being spent wisely to keep me safe in this dangerous, golf cart ridden world.

  • Iron Man Jan 23, 2008

    What can you say? The priviledged expect priviledges even when they break the law.

  • puddinghead Jan 22, 2008

    This is stupid. Soon you won't be able to ride a bicycle on the street ever without a title, insurance and a license. Wbearp, you sound like a crazy person. You are comparing riding golfing community in a neighborhood to going 8mph down I-40.

  • wbearp Jan 22, 2008

    Golf cart have NO business on public streets and highways, period. These carts are not only on secondary streets in the VOP, but also are going down State Highways, (5, 2, 211, 15-501) It is not only illegal, but is also a diaster waiting to happen. They are a menace on the highways. Not only that, but they carry no liability insurance. If you were involved in an accident w/ a golf cart, and they were at fault guess who pays for your loss? YOU DO. Chief Davis and his Officers should be commended. They, like every LEO are sworn to enforce ALL the laws. They can not, and should not pick and choose which ones they want to enforce. And where does it end? Can a person driving an ATV towing a bag carrier drive on the streets? Can kids drive them to school? If you loose your license can you just drive around town on one?
    The Pinehurst CC members know it is against the law and simply ignore the law. Buck up folks. Build a cart barn at the club and get the carts off the streets!