Ocean Springs, Miss., a city of 17,500 residents on the eastern side of the state’s Gulf Coast, is the latest municipality to allow golf carts to drive on public roads alongside cars, provided the carts include a variety of safety features and stick to roads with a maximum speed limit of 30 MPH.
In an Ocean Springs News 25 interview, the city’s Mayor Shea Dobson explained the new ordinance as an environmentally-friendly way to appease local residents who had requested the new law and extend the city’s reputation as a tourist center, as well.
“Residents have been asking about the golf carts for quite a while, so we just wanted to give them another option to get around, to get around to the festivals in the neighborhoods. It is going to be environmentally friendly and will go a long way to make Ocean Springs the beautiful, well-connected city that we are,” the mayor said.
The golf carts will be allowed to cross over streets with higher speed limits, so long as their paths returns them directly to another 30 MPH road. They must also be outfitted with numerous, relatively affordable safety features, such as headlights, taillights, brake lights and a rear view mirror.
The carts must also have seat belts, turn signals, a windshield, a parking brake and side reflectors. There was no mandate for windshield wipers, despite the inclusion of a windshield, according to the ordinance posted on the Ocean Springs Police Department Facebook page.
Drivers must also have a valid license to operate the golf carts on city streets and be able to prove the golf cart is insured if authorities ask for proof.
A Sun Herald article on the ordinance noted that the golf carts were making in-roads (no pun intended) in Gulf Coast communities in the state. Golf carts are “less expensive than a car or truck and can be used to shop, drop kids off at school or just drive for the love of a ride.”
Meanwhile, ordinances friendly to golf carts have passed in nearby municipalities of Diamondhead, Pass Christian, Pascagoula, Bay St. Louis, Waveland and Long Beach, the paper reported.