Golf Carts in Bay St. Louis: A Way of Life

September 27, 2017admin

Edmond Meyer, who lives a block from the Beach Boulevard and Main Street intersection, slowly drove his golf cart through Old Town one evening before sunset, while his friend named Wild Bill hopped in his cart. People strolling on the street waved and said hello to them.

Meyer is one of those residents in Old Town who enjoy driving golf cart along the beach. “It puts you at ease,” Meyer says, “if I could not drive my golf cart when I want to come into Old Town, It can kill me.”

Golf cart is a big part of what this town is all about. When it comes to Second Saturday Artwalk when the city’s artists show off their work, people can forget about a car because they can park more golf carts here than cars. Those who don’t own golf cart will rent one just for this monthly event. They come to the town from miles away, enjoying the coastal charm, restaurants and live entertainment, and looking around in antique shops, art galleries, gift shops, and boutiques.

So, if you ask anyone who uses a golf cart to get around Bay St. Louis whether golf carts should be get rid of, they will definitely say “No, keep our carts”.

However, some people require a local and private bill that sets up a registration and inspection program for golf carts and designate areas where they are permitted, as they think the growing trend of using golf carts in this compact beach town and entertainment district could lead to public safety issues.

On one hand, some residents feel that police don’t do enough to ensure public safety about golf carts and drivers. Outgoing Councilman Lonnie Falgout, who lost his bid for re-election, recently took potshots at police by declaring they’ve ignored golf cart safety, since the police allowed children to drive for their drinking parents.

On the other hand, opponents think the officers are doing a good job of dealing with any unsafe issues they see, handling anything unsafe in an appropriate way. Police Chief Darin Freeman indicates that the Bay St. Louis Police Department has received only one complaint of a child driving a golf cart since then.

Currently, Freeman is working with state Sen. Philip Moran, R-Kiln, on the bill of a registration and inspection process and permitted area for the local golf carts.

There are good examples for similar golf cart program:

According to Diamondhead Deputy City Clerk Tammy Garber, it’s working well in Diamondhead, with 865 registered golf carts. The planned golf club community now turns into a town where people love to use LSV in most area. In Diamondhead, golf cart drivers are required to have license as well as proof of financial responsibility, while obeying all rules of the road.

In fact, NHTA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has already set up a few safety standards for the use of golf carts, which require low-speed vehicles to have four tires, a roof and a top speed of 20 to 25 mph, as well as safety equipment, including seat belts. Besides, LSV is not allowed to drive on the roads with a speed limit above 35 mph. Based on the above safety standards, the state has the right to set up their own laws.

In other words, If the golf cart owner has the right safety equipment, insurance and a driver’s license, and the speed limit is low, it’s legal.

Though the golf carts being driven around Bay St. Louis are driven safely, passing a local and private bill will help the residents to regulate golf carts, meet safety inspections with drivers’ insurance.

“We should get bumper stickers.” Meyer says.

His friend Wild Bill also says, “If anybody on the council in Bay St. Louis wants to get rid of the golf carts, we’ll get rid of them next time.”

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