Golf Cars In The News

Exploring Golf Car Regulations in the City of Union

PHOTOGRAPHY: shutterstock / SevenMaps

City officials in Union are researching how various municipalities manage golf car regulations on their streets before establishing their own guidelines.

The city of Union is currently in the process of studying how other cities handle the presence of golf cars on their streets before crafting its own set of regulations. City Administrator Jonathan Zimmermann presented aldermen with a compilation of golf car rules from different cities, including Washington, Camdenton, Overland, Warrenton, Shelbina, Wright City, and Osceola, during a recent meeting of the Parks, Buildings, Development, and Public Service Committee.

Zimmermann emphasized the need for thorough research, stating, “What I’d like to do is not make a decision tonight, because we’re getting more information from other cities. A lot of them – it’s safety-based, it’s maximum speed, seat belts, headlights, tail lights, flags on some of them, is what I’ve seen.”

Several of these cities also extend their regulations to cover all-terrain vehicles, utility vehicles, and electric bicycles under the same policy. Zimmermann noted that electric bicycles, commonly seen on Union’s streets, can accelerate quickly, posing unique safety challenges.

For instance, Washington permits golf cars for government use, agricultural and industrial purposes on business premises, and individuals with disabilities for short-distance travel.

Zimmermann plans to gather further insights from additional cities before presenting the regulations to the aldermen for a vote. “So you can see more cities,” he affirmed.

During the discussion, Alderman Dennis Soetebier inquired whether the proposed rules would allow golf car drivers to cross Highway 50. Alderman Russell Rost responded that the city could permit golf cars to cross a state highway, but they would not be allowed to drive on the highway itself.

Zimmermann disclosed that he has contemplated allowing golf cars on roads with speed limits of up to 35 mph. “So that would take them off 50, 47, Independence Drive, right?” questioned Soetebier.

Zimmermann concurred, adding that this measure would also prohibit golf cars from using Prairie Dell Road, near East Central College, where the speed limit is 40 mph.

Alderman Jacob Doepke suggested that the city should reconsider whether allowing golf cars on city streets aligns with the community’s interests.

Mayor Bob Schmuke noted the increasing prevalence of golf carts with faster engines, remarking, “Everybody’s getting in the game, so we’re just going to see more and more of it.”

City Attorney Matt Schroeder cautioned against overly complex regulations, which might prove challenging to enforce. “If you nitpick off different streets for different types of vehicles, you’re going to have to post that, or else they’re going to say ‘Hey, I didn’t know.’ You might be better off leaving it at the state statute, 45 mph or faster, you can’t cross it. Less than 45 mph, you can cross it,” he suggested.