MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Should golf carts share the road with cars? It's a question of safety versus convenience.
More than a dozen towns are asking for special legislation to put cars and carts together. Among them are Morrisville, Freemont and Wrightsville Beach.
Carts are already on the roads in the Triangle.
Cary is one of about a half-dozen North Carolina towns in which golf carts mingle with cars. The state Legislature gave the town permission to put carts and cars together in 2001. But carts can hit the road only in their designated lanes around Prestonwood Country Club.
“You have to be a member. You have to live at Prestonwood to be able to get a sticker from us to be able to drive to the golf course,” said Vance Hefner, with the country club.
Now, at least 15 other towns want the power to put carts on the road, and not just around golf courses. Morrisville is one of them.
Sen. Janet Cowell, D-Wake, said it’s up to the local authorities to figure our how and where they want to allow the carts and other details. The state has to grant the authority, however.
Cowell is sponsoring the Morrisville golf cart bill. She said she has heard from people concerned that carts and cars are a bad mix. But with more people using them, it's time to lay down the laws and the designated lanes, she said.
“Particularly when you have an exploding retirement populations, and folks are not only using it for the golf games, but other uses,” Cowell said, “that we will have safe laws. Then everybody, whether you're on it or you're not, will be safe.”
Cathy Cooper, a golf cart owner, said she thinks golf carts and cars can co-exist.
“If they put a cart lane in and have them on the side of the road and obey traffic laws, I think that would be fine,” Cooper said.
The General Assembly bills simply allow the towns to put carts on the road. The specifics are up to the local governments. Different cart bills have passed the House and Senate and are in conference committee.