Dayton approves use of golf carts on city streets

Haley Parnell
Haley Parnell
Haley is a reporter for LINK nky. Email her at [email protected]

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Golf carts are now street legal in Dayton, with some rules and regulations — and other river cities may soon follow.

With buzz around ordinances to make golf carts street legal in Bellevue back in June and now in Dayton, Dayton City Administrator Jay Fossett said Newport is also considering an ordinance, and there may soon be an agreement to drive carts between cities.

“Fort Thomas has had it for a couple of years. Newport is in the process of considering, and Bellevue just adopted it too,” Fossett said. “So, we’re talking about having an interlocal agreement between Fort Thomas, Bellevue, and Dayton and perhaps even Covington and Newport that allows you to travel from one city to the next in your golf cart.”

Newport City Manager Tom Fromme confirmed that a golf cart ordinance would be on an upcoming agenda.

Dayton resident Pat Goetz said the ordinance caught her attention.

“It would kind of connect us with our neighbors in Bellevue and Fort Thomas and would connect them to us,” Goetz said.

She said at the Dayton City Council meeting on Aug. 2 that she hopes it gets accomplished.

“I think that it would unite some of the different cities that it would connect us,” Goetz said. “I think we might see people frequenting the businesses that might not normally come down to Dayton.”

Dayton City Council member Joe Neary said he was interested in pursuing an agreement between cities so that everyone remains on the same page regarding regulations.

He also noted that Lincoln Road is divided — half of the street is in Dayton, and the other half is in Bellevue. Currently, the Bellevue side could use golf carts, but Dayton could not before the council passed the ordinance at the meeting.

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Neary also had some concerns about the ordinance.

A lot of homes in Dayton do not have driveways or garages. Neary said he worried about the carts taking up street parking in a city that already has limited car parking.

The ordinance reads that a golf cart can only be parked on hard-surface pavement like parking lots, parking spaces on city streets, and parking spaces designated by the city in its parks.

They may not be parked on sidewalks.

“I’d say that in many neighborhoods, it’s going to be an issue, and like I said, not many people have a driveway or garage, especially down in this area of town,” Neary said. “And I sympathize with their neighbors that are already having parking problems.”

Dayton City Council member Jeff Volter disagreed.

“I started to research for the price of about new golf carts in cost anywhere from about $9,000 to $14-$15,000,” Volter said. “I don’t envision this invasion of carts. And also, I think if people were going to pay that kind of money to have them, they’re probably going to keep them in a garage or a covered area.”

Goetz said she hardly ever sees golf carts in the cities that allow them.

“Some people had concerns about being overrun with golf carts,” Goetz said. “I don’t really feel that’s an issue. If you drive through any of the other cities, you don’t see them.”

Below is the information you need to legally be able to take your cart for a spin in the street.  

Each cart must have:

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  • Headlamps
  • Tail lamps
  • Stop lamps
  • Front and rear turn signals
  • One red reflex reflector on each side as far to
  • the rear as practicable, and one red reflex reflector on the rear
  • An exterior mirror mounted on the driver’s side
  • of the golf cart and either an exterior mirror mounted on the passenger’s side
  • of the golf cart or an interior mirror 
  • A parking brake 
  • A seatbelt for each seat that conforms to the
  • federal motor vehicle safety standard 
  • A horn 
  • A slow-moving vehicle emblem

Golf cart owners must have insurance for the golf cart and always keep it inside the cart. The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office must also inspect the golf cart. Golf cart owners can pay $40 to have the inspection done at their house. Or a $20 fee if they bring it to the sheriff’s office.

Once those items have been completed, the owner must obtain a permit and windshield sticker from the city for $25. The permit and sticker are valid for one year.

Golf carts can operate on public roadways only if the cart does not exceed a speed of 25 mph and can only drive on streets with a speed limit of 25 mph or less.

The driver may also not cross an intersection where the intersecting road has a speed limit of more than 35 mph or more.

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