Richmond Hill Police Chief Billy Reynolds said all golf carts must now carry a city-issued decal when operated inside the city limits or else face potential fines and other penalties.
This could include impounding vehicles with multiple violations.
There are a whole new set of rules for drivers of these vehicles as well, applicable solely in Richmond Hill. The ordinance was introduced by Reynolds and was passed into law by city council on Oct. 2 in a unanimous vote, but the registration of vehicles was waived until now in order to give the city time to institute this program.
Reynolds said the department is now ready to roll with the ordinance in its entirety.
"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. 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. With this program, we can trace a decal number and hold the individuals accountable who have caused an accident or allowed kids to drive their cart."
Application forms for registration and copies of the ordinance are now available at the Douglas T. Ellis Law Enforcement Center. Registration is done strictly at the police station and not at the tag office seeing how it is a city ordinance and not a state DMV requirement. Reynolds said there is a $5 charge "to cover the expense of the decals and paperwork involved" and proof of liability insurance and a valid Georgia driver’s license is required.
"The liability policy can be through homeowner’s or a separate policy," Reynolds said. "I’ve called around to a couple local agents, and a separate policy is pretty inexpensive."
Here are some of the other rules included in the ordinance: the vehicles can only be driven in areas with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or lower, can only be driven by those 16 or older with a valid driver’s license, during daylight hours, and cannot exceed the amount of passengers for which the vehicle was designed.
The new ordinance also designates the city streets where golf carts can and cannot operate.
Reynolds said some signs will be put up this week throughout the city. It outlaws the use of such vehicles on the following streets: Edsel Drive, Ivy Street, Frances Meeks Way, or any street where the speed limit is above 35 mph. The ordinance also outlaws such vehicles on or within 100 feet of state routes, such as GA 25 and US 17 and county roads, such as Harris Trail Road, Timber Trail Road, Brisbon Road and Port Royal Road, unless on a properly marked cart path. Reynolds said electric scooters do not have to be registered, but they are not allowed to operate on city streets.
Yan pick up a copy of the ordinance at the station or call RHPD at 756-5645.