COVINGTON - Since the City Council enacted an ordinance last November allowing golf carts on certain streets, a handful of residents have obtained permits and the carts have posed no problem to local law enforcement, a Covington Police Department spokesman said.
Lt. Wendell Wagstaff reported 18 golf cart permits have been issued since the ordinance went into effect. Restrictions on where the carts can be driven are the likely reason more people haven't taken advantage of the ordinance, he said. The Square in downtown Covington is one area where golf carts aren't allowed because it is mostly a state route.
"We've had a lot of people come down here and they didn't realize they can't cross or drive on state routes or on streets in excess of 35 miles per hour," he said. "There are a lot of limitations and a lot of people, when they found that out, didn't get (a permit) because they couldn't drive it much anywhere."
Wagstaff said the department hasn't had any problems with golf cart drivers obeying the law, adding that no tickets have been issued to anyone driving a cart.
"Everybody is aware of what they need to abide by," he said, adding that standard traffic laws apply to golf cart operators.
With the warm spring weather apparently here to stay, those interested in obtaining a golf cart permit can go to the Covington Police Department to fill out an application.
The CPD inspects all golf carts to make sure they are safe to drive.
"If they can't drive it to the Police Department because they have to travel over state routes, we will come out to their house and inspect the golf cart," Wagstaff said.
Roadworthy golf carts should be equipped with windshields, turn signals, brakes, a horn, headlights, brake lights, safe tires and, if gas-powered, an exhaust system.
Once the inspection is completed, the owner will receive a sticker to place on the golf cart.
Permits cost $15 and are effective for five years.
A map showing a complete list of approved streets for driving golf carts is available at the Police Department, as well as a copy of the ordinance showing those streets that are not approved.
Once the decal is issued, residents will need to make sure proper signage is on their street and should call the office of the police chief at 770-786-4425 to request a sign.
Councilman Keith Dalton suggested last year that the city look into developing a golf cart ordinance, saying it would improve quality of life, save on gas expenses and help with traffic congestion and pollution.
"I think it's one of the best improvements just to the quality of life that I've seen in Covington for a long time," Dalton said at the time. "Everybody drives by in their cars with the windows up and the radio blaring ... this will slow the pace down so neighbors will go back to speaking to one another."
News Editor Barbara Knowles contributed to this story.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.