by PJ Rooks
Despite advance indications that there would be, there was no discussion of a possible city ordinance allowing golf carts on public streets of Tracy during a meeting of the city’s aldermen last week.
In a later interview, Mayor Rita Rhoads said that city officials have not yet decided about the golf cart question.
“We’ve got other things we’re trying to work on,” she said, although she declined to elaborate.
Golf carts on streets of Tracy had been discussed at the previous month’s meeting and the topic was mentioned by Rhoads in a “News from Tracy City Hall” newsletter distributed on April 20.
Rhoads stated that while minors in the past have driven golf carts on the streets, there haven’t been any such incidents lately and said that golf carts could be beneficial to people with challenges in walking.
“We have several elderly that use them to get around town in,” she said. “To go to the park or the recycle bins at the park or to take their grandkids over to play at the park. It’s just a convenient transportation for somebody that doesn’t walk very well.”
Otherwise prohibited by Missouri statutes, section 304.034, dated August 28, 2011, enables a municipality to allow golf carts and motorized wheelchairs on the streets in its jurisdiction, provided they are "equipped with adequate brakes" and "meet any other safety requirements imposed by the governing body."
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Collin Stosberg said that golf carts on city streets are not recommended by the Highway Patrol because they don't offer the same level of protection that certain motor vehicles do and that crashes sometimes involve serious injuries or fatalities.
"What we find is typically people driving in neighborhoods, to and from the pool, with small children," Stosberg said. "They run the risk with a child being unrestrained and, if they are involved in a crash, becoming injured. They don’t have signals or horns and have limited visibility in some cases. We ask that everyone exercise the highest degree of care at all times, especially when children are involved.”
Even in cities where golf carts on streets are legal, he said, "If someone finds themselves in a traffic crash, they can incur a lot of damages civilly.”
And even if the golf cart driver was doing everything right, he said, an accident could still be caused by another motorist.
"We want people to be safe," said Stosberg. "There’s nothing worse, from our perspective, than getting called to these crashes and seeing people injured and often times it could have been prevented if they had used good judgment."