Bellevue is amending its golf cart ordinance to allow the use of carts on Fairfield Avenue.
Previously, carts could cross Fairfield Avenue at a light in an intersection but couldn’t drive up and down the street. The city council voted at its meeting Wednesday evening to amend the ordinance with no restrictions. The city could have chosen to restrict the carts on the avenue from sunup to sundown but decided not to do so.
Residents have been able to cruise around town in golf carts since last June, excluding Fairfield Avenue and Memorial Parkway. According to the city, there are now eight registered carts, which are few compared to neighboring Fort Thomas, with a comparable golf cart ordinance and 48 registered carts.
The ordinance change was initially brought up at the June 14 city council meeting by Bellevue City Administrator Frank Warnock, who said he had heard sentiment about allowing them on the avenue. Council members also expressed interest, and the ordinance change was formally presented at the July 12 meeting; however, the council voted to table the item for more information.
Warnock said the police and fire chiefs were against allowing them on the avenue at the June meeting due to safety concerns.
“The police chief said no, don’t do it. The fire chief said no, don’t do it,” Warnock said. “Their interest is public safety, and they don’t want to see people get hurt on Fairfield Avenue.”
Council member Sean Fischer said at the July 12 meeting that he understood the safety concerns but said when he thinks about Bellevue, it is multimodal.
“We end up with this type of ordinance preferencing the dangerous vehicles and disallowing the less dangerous vehicles on the avenue,” Fischer said. “We have bicycles; we have motorcycles; we have pedestrians; we have scooters, all of these under this type of thinking we wouldn’t allow on the avenue because they’re not as safe as a Ford F-150.”
Fischer also mentioned the lack of parking or space for everyone to have a full-size vehicle at the July meeting. He said the golf cart ordinance solved some urban problems and environmental challenges they face.
“I want to make sure that we keep all that in mind alongside outlawing someone’s ability to do something for their own safety,” Fischer said. “Should we allow them to take that risk for themselves if there’s a greater societal benefit for them? Having this mode of transportation is something we should consider.”
All council members, excluding Pat Hogan, voted to approve the change. Hogan said he has opposed allowing golf carts in the city since the conversation started, so he was against the amendment.
The ordinance still prohibits the use of carts on Memorial Parkway. Further information on the rules and regulations of golf carts can be found here.