Huber Heights council considers allowing golf carts on streets

Council members are exploring ways to allow residents to drive golf carts on certain Huber Heights roads.

State law classifies a golf cart as an “under speed vehicle,” meaning it cannot be operated on a street with a speed limit over 35 miles per hour. The city can authorize under speed vehicles on streets with speed limits 35 miles per hour and below.

Huber Heights Police Chief Mark Lightner recommends council adopt a speed limit of 25 miles per hour or less for golf carts, which would permit carts to go on most of the city’s streets. He said the city can permit the golf carts to cross over 35 mile per hour streets, like Brandt Pike or Old Troy Pike, at intersections.

“If you have to cross a speed higher than that, like a Brandt or Troy you can, but you just have to cross, you can’t go on” the higher-speed street, Lightner said.

Ohio law also requires the driver of the cart to be licensed.

Lightner said the city could also mandate the use of seat belts on golf carts, as well as prohibit children who need car seats or booster seats from riding on the vehicles.

“Some ordinances have seat belts, headlights, horns, and so forth,” Lightner said of other communities that have adopted similar legislation. He added, “There’s some mandatory things that have to be on there, and then there are some things you have leeway on.”

Several residents have spoken in favor of golf carts at recent council meetings and work sessions. Council discussed the topic for about 15 minutes at a recent work session.

Council members largely expressed openness to exploring different proposals.

“Generally speaking I’m in favor of this,” said Councilman Glenn Otto. “I think just the way we’re moving as a society, we’re getting to smaller, lighter and different technology in vehicles. I think we’re going to see a lot more smaller local vehicles anyway, we might as well get used to it.”

Mayor Tom McMasters proposed an alternative plan, which would create zones in the city where golf carts could drive. Gerald McDonald, the city’s law director, said he did not think the zone proposal would work under Ohio law.

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