In South Dakota, the “Great Golf Cart Debate” consumed state government.
According to the Mitchell Republic newspaper, South Dakota law now bans golf cars from traveling on roads outside municipalities, state parks and unincorporated townships “unless the golf cart is crossing a highway at a right angle to maneuver between these allowed areas.” Backers of House Bill 1215 want to change that – but first they have to figure out what a golf car is, exactly. “I’ve seen golf carts that seat eight people and can probably do 70 miles an hour,” Rep. Kirk Chaffee said in the state senate chamber, according to the newspaper.
Rep Tim Reisch, the bill’s sponsor, was quoted as saying that in the proposed law, a golf car is defined as “a four-wheeled vehicle originally and specifically designed and intended to transport one or more individuals and golf clubs for the purpose of playing the game of golf on a golf course.” Some residents in Reisch’s district “currently have to break state law in order to drive their golf cart from their lake house to the course,” the newspaper reported.
Joel Peterson, the assistant superintendent in charge of field operations with the South Dakota Highway Patrol, spoke of concerns at proposed 25-mile-per-hour speed limits for golf cars; only a small number of state highways have speed limits of 25 in general, and he was worried about higher-speed vehicles getting out of the car’s way
According to the newspaper, the bill “will move at a reasonable speed over to the Senate, where it should be heard in committee in the coming week.”