Golf carts on city streets would be legal under bill moving through Legislature

ST. GEORGE — Golf carts on city streets? That could become a reality for some Utah municipalities if a bill that recently passed the Utah House makes it all the way through the Legislature.

Rep. Marc K. Roberts, R-Santaquin, speaks on the House floor of the Utah Legislature, Salt Lake City, Feb. 12, 2020 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Legislature, St. George News

Municipal Regulation of Golf Carts, designated as HB 184 in the 2020 Utah Legislature, would grant Utah towns and cities the ability to choose whether to allow golf carts on their streets. Currently, driving a golf cart on the road is illegal under Utah law.

Bill sponsor Rep. Marc K. Roberts, R-Santaquin, said constituents of Elkridge, a municipality in his district, were wondering what they could do about golf carts, as residents used them to drive between their homes and a nearby golf course.

“They wanted the ability, on the local level, to control and allow it to happen in specific areas,” Roberts said on the House floor prior to the bill’s passing unanimously Feb. 12.

Robert’s bill would give a municipality the ability to select what streets would be legal for golf cart use, what hours of operation on the street would be allowed and who was allowed to drive the golf carts on the roads.

The ability of a city to control the use of golf carts had been unclear to some, and HB 184 helps clarify that, Roberts said in a prior House committee meeting.

If passed and signed into law, the bill allows municipalities to either chose to incorporate the new law into their ordinances or ignore it.

“This would be an option for each city to adopt,” Roberts said.

Golf carts at the Green Springs Golf Course, Washington City, Utah, Feb. 18, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Much of the language of HB 184 is taken from previous legislation governing the use of electric scooters.

Under the bill, a golf cart is exempt from requirements related to titling, having an odometer statement, vehicle identification, license plates and registration. It is also exempt from county emissions inspections and maintenance programs as well as vehicular insurance requirements.

Exemptions aside, the bill’s text states that “a golf cart shall comply with the same requirements as a bicycle for traffic rules.”

Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson, whose city hosts the Green Springs Golf Course, said he liked the premise of the bill and allowing municipalities the ability to choose what they would like to do.

“I would agree with that,” he said, adding he wondered if allowing golf carts on the streets would help increase play at the local golf courses.

HB 184 passed the House unanimously on Feb. 12 and was sent to the Senate for consideration. It was heard in the Senate’s transportation committee last Thursday and passed with a favorable recommendation.

The bill now awaits consideration on the Senate floor.

The 2020 general session of the Utah Legislature concludes March 12.

For a complete list of contacts for Southern Utah representatives and senators, click here.

Check out all of St. George News’ coverage of the 2020 Utah Legislature here.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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