The Acadia Parish Police Jury will consider an ordinance regulating the use of electric-powered golf carts, such as the one depicted above, on parish-maintained roads.
‘Golf carts’ on parish roads?
An ordinance that would regulate the use of “golf carts” on parish roads is expected to be introduced when the Acadia Parish Police Jury meets in regular session here Tuesday.
Presented to the jury’s Legislative Committee last Tuesday, the parish ordinance “tracks the state statute,” according to parish attorney Glen Howie, who drafted the document.
“I was asked by a member of the previous jury to write an ordinance, but it just kind of died after that,” Howie said.
The reincarnation of the proposed new law was requested by Jury President Chance Henry, who originally asked that the ordinance allow the vehicles on specific streets in Midland.
Other jurors, however, said specifying particular streets would only confuse and hamper enforcement of the ordinance and recommended an “all or nothing” approach to parish roads.
As written, a golf cart is defined as “an electric four-wheel vehicle originally intended for use off-road on golf courses and other green spaces whose maximum speed is 25 miles per hour.”
It would exclude any similar vehicles powered by gasoline engines.
The carts would only be allowed on parish roads from sunrise to sunset and must be operated by a licensed driver.
The vehicles shall be issued an annual permit by the parish after passing an annual physical inspection. The annual fee for the inspection will be $75.
The permit will include a waiver of liability by the owner of the vehicle of any claims, causes of action or right of action against the parish for bodily injury, property damage or otherwise occurring from the use and operation of the permitted vehicle and shall include a hold harmless and indemnity clause in favor of the parish of any such claims, which hold harmless and shall include all costs, including but not limited to attorney fees and other expenses.
Each vehicle must meet the requirements for equipment operated on public roads — including but not limited to brakes, lights, safety equipment and controls — and must be registered with the state through the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Office of Motor Vehicles, as an off-road vehicle and display a decal issued by the Office of Motor Vehicles.
The owners of the vehicles will be required to maintain liability insurance on each vehicle in an amount not less than $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident and property damage coverage of not less than $10,000 per incident.
Proof of insurance must be carried in the vehicle.
The penalty for violating any term of the ordinance will be a fine of not more than $200 and/or a term of not more than 60 days in jail.
If the ordinance is introduced on Tuesday, the jury will call for a public hearing, likely to be held prior to the July 14 meeting. It will then be considered for adoption.
The Legislative Committee is also recommending an amendment to the parish blight ordinance that would allow — but not require — the hiring of a qualified third party contractor to demolish and clear away blighted buildings.
“The way its worded right now, the jury is required to hire a private contractor. This simply gives the jury the authority to hire a contractor or have the work done by parish employees,” explained Howie.