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New golf cart rules in effect
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Richmond Hill officials have just passed a new ordinance to regulate the use of golf carts, motorized scooters, ATVs, dirt bikes and other similar vehicles.

The vehicles must now be registered and there’s a new set of rules for drivers to follow.

Here’s some of them:

The vehicles can only be driven in areas with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or lower, can only be driven by those with a valid driver’s license, during daylight hours, and cannot exceed the amount of passengers for which the vehicle was designed.

A future amendment to the ordinance, to be presented before and voted on by city council, will also designate specific subdivisions in which these vehicles will be outlawed from.

The ordinance was introduced by RHPD Chief Billy Reynolds and was passed into law by city council on Oct. 2 by a unanimous vote.

"I can’t tell you the amount of calls I have gotten about golf carts filled with three or four kids driving recklessly through subdivisions," Reynolds said. "It’s just a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured or even killed."

Reynolds said he also recognizes the fact that some residents have legitimate uses for motorized vehicles in the area. He pointed to the up and coming golf course community of Richmond Hill Plantation as an example.

"The time to regulate is now," Reynolds said. "The state allows the city the right to control what type of traffic can travel on city streets, and we are exercising that here."

Reynolds also said drivers of these vehicles must adhere to the same road rules as any other vehicle on the road. He used the example that being caught drinking while driving a golf cart will have the same consequences as being caught while driving an automobile under the influence.

The registration fee will be $5. Reynolds said it is simply enough to cover the expense of the decals and paperwork involved. He also said registration will be waived until 2008 in order to give the city time to institute this program.

The new ordinance document is available for viewing at the Douglas T. Ellis Law Enforcement Center.

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