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County Road Golf Cart Debate Continues
Updated April 9, 2014 8:26 AM
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(BEDFORD) - The debate continues on if golf carts will be allowed on Lawrence County roads.

At the last meeting, Commissioner Bill Spreen says he had received several requests from Fayetteville residents asking the commissioners to pass an ordinance to allow golf carts on county roads.

Mitchell has an ordinance allowing carts to be driven within its jurisdiction; Bedford has passed no such statute. State highways do not permit golf carts, and Bedford's Fifth Street, 16th Street and Mitchell Road all are considered state thoroughfares.

At that meeting, Commissioner Chris May asked Highway Superintendent Dave Holmes to look into what other counties have done about golf carts. Holmes reported Tuesday, that he contacted 15 different counties and found only one that had passed an ordinance to allow golf carts on their county roads and that was Clark County. He then presented the commissioners with a copy of Clark County's ordinance.

"I think we are opening up a can of worms," says Commissioner Bill Spreen. "The top speed on a golf cart is 15 to 20 miles per hour and we have vehicle travel at 35 miles per hour or faster on the county roads where some have lots of hills....and if there is a crash.... It just becomes an issue of public safety."

But Commissioner Dave Flinn says there was one area of the county where golf carts are on the roadways.

"We allow golf carts in one area of the county (the Stone Crest Golf Community) and I see no different between those roads and the roads in Fayetteville," Flinn says.

The golf community is on 540 acres just west of State Road 37 on Bennett Lane.

However County Attorney Dave Smith reminded the commissioner that when the commissioners agreed to take over the care and snow removal for those roadways the ordinance stated the golf carts could only cross the county roads "not travel up and down the roads."

"And if they are driving the golf carts on the roadways they are in violation of state law, because you have not passed an ordinance to allow golf carts on county roads," Smith added.

Commissioner Chris May has concerns on how a golf cart ordinance will affect the county's liability insurance. Parker's Group told May that there would not be a change if the ordinance is in compliance with state law.

"The General Assembly says no golf carts on county roads," says Smith.

So May says the insurance will probably increase.

"We just may not be able to afford or be allowed to do this," May says.

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