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Social Circle passes ordinance for golf carts on city streets

SOCIAL CIRCLE --Golf carts are now legal in Social Circle.

By unanimous vote, the City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that would allow motorized carts to travel on city streets.

The City Council heard the first reading of the ordinance in August.

Councilman David Keener said he asked City Attorney Joe Reitman to draft a proposed ordinance after hearing from several citizens that they would like to be able to drive golf carts in their neighborhoods. Keener pointed out that a newly enacted state law, Senate Bill 240, allows golf carts to operate on city streets.

Reitman said he patterned Social Circle's ordinance after one he prepared for the city of Madison. He said most cities that consider adopting ordinances that would allow golf carts on local streets pattern their ordinances after Peachtree City, which has allowed motorized carts for many years.

Mayor Jim Burgess asked whether Social Circle's streets were equipped to safely handle motorized carts like Peachtree City's are.

"It will be more in line with what Covington did by adapting the roads after the fact, by narrowing lanes to accommodate bikes and golf carts," Keener said.

He said through the ordinance, the golf carts will largely be confined to subdivisions, which are isolated from busy city streets.

"There is nothing in our current ordinances to prohibit us from doing this," Keener said. "We can always modify it if we have problems."

Reitman said that generally, motorized carts would only be allowed to operate on city roads where the speed limit is 35 mph or less. They would not be permitted on any state highways, such as Ga. Highway 11, which runs through the center of Social Circle.

In an effort to restrict golf carts to subdivision streets, Reitman recommended that motorized carts not be allowed to exceed 25 mph. The carts must comply with state law governing motor vehicles, including having functional brake lights, turn signals, headlights and taillights. The ordinance also requires that all passengers must wear seatbelts and remain seated at all times. No passengers will be allowed to sit on another's lap while riding in the golf cart.

The ordinance states that owners of motorized carts to be operated on public streets will need to register the vehicle for a $12 fee.