Police inspection required for golf carts on city streets

by Laura Bednar

Independence City Council enacted legislation that requires residents to have their golf carts inspected by Police Chief Robert Butler before they are permitted to drive on city streets.

Under Ohio Revised Code, golf carts are permitted to be driven on city streets if registered with a license plate. The ORC defines a golf cart as a motor vehicle running on electricity or gas which cannot exceed 20 miles per hour.

Butler said the department views the inspection “as an additional safety measure, which is good.”

The inspection includes checking for a seatbelt on each seat, a working horn, headlights and taillights, a rearview mirror and directional signals, according to Butler. He said the inspection is consistent with other area communities such as Cuyahoga Heights. Ohio law states only a police chief can inspect golf carts. The Independence police department will keep a record of inspected carts.

Butler will issue a certificate of inspection, which the cart operator must have at all times when driving. Only a person with a valid driver’s license is permitted to drive the cart. The certificate of inspection is used to get a title, license plate and registration from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

If a cart already has been inspected, titled and registered in another jurisdiction, the owner must provide proof of the inspection and certification to Butler to ensure it meets Independence’s standards. Golf carts are permitted on city streets from April 1-Oct. 31.

The ordinance states a golf cart cannot travel on a city street with a speed limit higher than 35 miles per hour. Motorists can pass a golf cart, but Butler said to use caution, as if driving around a mail truck or bicycle. At the April 11 city council meeting, resident golf cart driver Dan Brenner said, “The majority of the time, people treat us like we are a bicycle.”

“I still question the ability to be able to drive a golf cart on [Route] 21 in rush hour traffic,’’ Councilman Tom Narduzzi said. “ I am so worried about somebody getting hurt on one of these things. … Let the state regulate it and do what you have to do, but I am not for it.”

He cast the ordinance’s sole no vote.

Said Vice Mayor David Grendel, “I agree with [Councilman] John [DiGeronimo] as far as maybe definitely having a ban on Rockside Road. I see time and time again how people drive on that, and it’s just too hairy.”

Council amended the ordinance to prohibit golf carts from driving on Rockside Road and Pleasant Valley Road, east of Route 21.

“There’s a group of people who have golf carts in the neighborhood, and we all agreed that nobody wants to drive their golf cart on Rockside Road,” said Brenner.

Butler said he doesn’t think the ordinance will cause an influx of golf carts, but he foresees additional trips to the pool and Elmwood Park to offer proactive safety education to golf cart drivers.

To make an appointment for an inspection, call the police department at 216-524-2380. ∞