The Webster Groves City Council during a Jan. 5 work session said it plans to discuss the use of golf carts on city streets as early as Jan. 19.
Mayor Gerry Welch said the city will explore legislation currently in place in Crestwood and based on a proposal by some Webster Groves residents.
Webster Groves Police Chief Dale Curtis has numerous concerns about allowing golf carts in the city.
“It is currently illegal for golf carts to be driven by anyone on public streets,” Curtis said.
Council Member Pam Bliss said the city could consider making golf carts legal, but insist on safety measures such as licensing, and accessories like seat belts and insurance.
City Attorney Neil Bruntrager said age limits could be put in place for golf cart drivers.
“I don’t feel golf carts are so dangerous that we need to criminalize them,” Council Member David Franklin said.
Council Member Emerson Smith said he has concerns about people driving golf carts “down the middle of Lockwood and disturbing traffic.” He questioned what would stop a 16-year-old from driving a golf cart to school.
Chief Curtis recommended against the use of golf carts due to safety factors. He said many carts don’t meet National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations requiring headlights, brake lights, reflectors, speedometers, seat belts, turn signals, mirrors and windshields.
Curtis said one of his department’s concerns is that proliferation of golf carts could become a nuisance factor, especially in the Old Webster area and near schools.
“We could get a lot of complaints if, all of a sudden, there is a larger use of them,” Curtis said. “If they are allowed, I would ask they be required to be registered with the city to ensure they meet guidelines, and ask that no carts are allowed on streets with a speed limit of more than 25 miles per hour.”
Council Member Laura Arnold said certain types of golf carts are used on the campus of Webster University and by the Webster Groves School District. Mayor Welch said some of those vehicles are loaded with safety features.
The Webster Groves City Council is expected to further discuss the use of golf carts at its next meeting on Jan. 19.