WBPD: Got a license for that golf cart?
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · May 10, 2013

Want to drive a golf cart from home to the course?

You can, but only if you carry a valid driver’s license and stay off the city’s main roads.

West Branch Police Chief Mike Horihan said residents and motorists have complained about people, mostly teenagers, driving golf carts on main roads or goofing off while driving.

Driving a golf cart on city streets is regulated by state law: Iowa Code 321.247 states that it is permitted unless the street is “a primary road extension through the city,” though it does allow a golf cart to cross such a street.

The law also requires such golf carts to have a slow-moving vehicle sign and bicycle safety flag, and only allows driving from “sunrise to sunset.”

Horihan interprets a “primary road extension” to mean streets like Main Street and Downey that run all the way through town.

“We want to educate people, not give them a hard time,” the police chief said. “But we do get complaints.”

Horihan said he has never caught someone who was violating the law, but has received complaints and then found people on golf carts who admitted it had been them.

“My concern is kids riding golf carts who pull in and out of traffic or who drive at night,” he said. “I will pull them over if I see them.”

Since only licensed individuals may drive golf carts on streets, the same rules apply as to driving, he said. For example, an adult with a suspended license is not allowed to drive a golf cart on a city street.

Horihan said drivers could be fined $100 plus court costs — the charge is a simple misdemeanor — and unlicensed teens would likely have their parents called.

“We’re not going out gunning for them,” the police chief said. “But it is a safety issue. And if they crash (into something or someone) they are responsible.”

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