Bills would allow golf carts on Washington streets


by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News and Associated Press

Posted on January 26, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 26 at 6:50 PM

Do you think golf carts should be allowed to the streets?

TACOMA, Wash. -  Two Washington legislators are looking to move golf carts from fairways to roadways.

A bill by Rep. Tami Green of Lakewood would let people drive golf carts in bike lanes and on sidewalks throughout the state.

A bill by Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen of Camano Island would let local jurisdictions create golf cart zones on low-speed streets.

"For me, it's an issue a lot about particularly older people who are willing to give up their car but they want to still need to go down and get their mail," said Haugen.

Haugen's bill would require a cart driver to have a valid driver's license.

Right now, state law allows police to ticket people who drive golf carts on roads.

But, four months ago the city of Orting enacted a policy allowing golf carts on most of its streets as long as it's during the day and not on a highway. And three years ago the city of Liberty Lake in Eastern Washington did the same.

Police worry whether it's safe to allow golf carts to share the road with cars.

"Well they don't have seat belts. They don't have airbags, so I wouldn't think they would be as safe," said Pierce County Sheriff's Deputy Jim Cowan.

Some drivers who have to share the road with the carts in Orting aren't thrilled.

"There's enough road rage without going behind a golf cart doing 25 miles an hour when you're wanting to get around him," said one driver.

Environmentalists support Sen. Green's bill. They say it gets people out of their gas guzzling cars.



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