For the Lakeside Leader
People driving golf carts on roads in Big Lakes County are raising concerns about the law and safety. However, county council isn’t about to ban their use; nor is it even willing to post signs in Joussard reminding drivers of the law. A motion to do that was defeated at council’s Aug. 14 meeting.
Ted Hickey, the county’s director of community and protective services reminded council the use of golf carts on roads is contrary to the Traffic Safety Act.
“We want to curb the use of golf carts on roadways,” he said.
Hickey told council county staff has seen unsupervised minors driving golf carts, drivers failing to obey traffic signs and close-calls with other vehicles on hamlet roadways. The problem is particularly bad in Joussard, he said.
Councillor Richard Simard, who represents Joussard, agreed.
“Kids are hanging onto golf carts as they’re moving,” he said. “It’s illegal to drive them on roadways.”
Enforcement is difficult, Hickey told council. The county does not have the authority to enforce the provincial law.
It was that situation that led some councillors to question the effectiveness of signs.
“If we can’t enforce it, what’s the good of signs?” asked councillor Ken Matthews.
Councillor Ken Killeen said the RCMP doesn’t seem to be doing much about it. His colleague, councillor Don Charrois, suggested setting up a meeting with the RCMP to discuss the matter.
There are other related issues. Many councillors say reckless driving with all-terrain vehicles in hamlets is more of a concern than golf carts.
“We shouldn’t disallow golf carts,” said councillor Fern Welch. “Quads are the bigger hazard, and they’re louder.”
Some council members think golf carts should be allowed on roadways, even though they are not registered, insured or licensed.
“We should lobby the government to change the regulations,” said Matthews. “Why not allow golf carts?”
Many seniors do use golf carts, said councillor Ann Stewart. Banning the carts would not help them.
“You’re going to punish good users because of a few bad drivers,” she said.
Matthews’ final observation was that many seniors drive more safely in a golf cart than in a regular vehicle.