PORTSMOUTH Portsmouth City Council moved forward with discussions regarding an ordinance that would make golf carts a legal vehicle to drive on certain roads within the city.
During the meeting Monday, council members discussed an ordinance that would permit golf carts and under-speed vehicles to be operated within the city of Portsmouth. Councilperson Dennis Packard addressed the group asking for consideration of a few amendments to the ordinance.
“There are a couple of items I would like us to consider,” Packard said. “One is any modified cart that would go faster than 25 miles per hour would not be considered a slow-moving vehicle under this ordinance, and two any children under the age of six being transported on carts must be in a federally approved safety device.”
Packard also proposed that the city might want to consider a liability clause stating that any passenger or operator would waive any claim against the city allowing the operation of the carts.
“We wouldn’t have any liability for it anyway,” City Solicitor John Haas said. “We’ve got immunity.”
Council members Edwin Martell and Charlotte Gordon also agreed with Packard on the two amendments he would like to add.
“In different states, there are different requirements for safety seats for children,” Haas said. “I don’t have a problem putting child safety seat language into it.”
After more discussion, councilperson Packard made a motion to amend the ordinance to add the two changes. Council voted and approved the ordinance, which will move on to a second reading with the changes.
In a previous meeting, held June 28 council introduced the ordinance hoping to separate golf carts from ATVs and other fast-speed vehicles. Questions involving routes, drivers and ages were discussed during the meeting where the council thanked Packard for his work and research on the matter.
“One thing that people have said is they’re concerned with children in the carts, and that wasn’t in any of the rules,” Packard said in the June 28 meeting.
After a few minutes of discussion about safety concerns at the meeting, Portsmouth Mayor Kevin Johnson asked the council if they thought they should table the ordinance until they have more information.
“I like the idea of the golf carts personally. I like the idea,” Johnson said. “But safety is a factor. Maybe we should look into establishing the routes instead of just passing it. Maybe we should look at certain routes.”
Johnson also proposed then that golf cart drivers would have to follow federal and state laws just as motor vehicle drivers do, including seat belt safety.
“I think there needs to be some thought behind it,” Johnson said during the June 28 meeting.
With the amended ordnance from the July 12 meeting, the council will vote on a second reading at the next Portsmouth City Council meeting scheduled for July 26.
Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927, or by email at email@example.com.
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