City and golf cart drivers at crossroads over new state law

April 19—THOMASVILLE — Residents of Thomasville who like to ride golf carts downtown may soon be faced with a dilemma.

A new state law has restricted golf carts and other low-speed vehicles to streets with a maximum speed limit of 25 mph.

“There aren’t many streets that are 25 and under,” Mayor Jay Flowers said at a recent city council meeting. “This is a significant change for Thomasville.”

The Broad Street limit in the city center is 25 mph. But most of the streets that connect to Broad are 35 mph.

“You can’t get downtown where it’s 25 mph,” City Manager Alan Carson said. “That’s what we’re dealing with here.”

Council members were confronted with the concerns of residents driving their golf carts downtown.

“I like to ride,” said Pam Wright. “I go to Lake Cherokee, I drive it to church, I go to the grocery store, I go downtown and I go shopping.”

Wright also said tourists and other visitors enjoy the sight of golf carts driving through downtown streets.

“They get tickled to death when they visit and they see it’s a golf cart community,” she said.

Golf cart drivers do not need to be registered, but drivers must have a license. Carts must have horns and if driven at night must have lights. Seat belts are not required on golf carts.

Vehicles known as side-by-sides, which include ATVs and UTVs, are not permitted on city streets, Flowers reiterated.

The new state law, however, has the city thinking about what to do to accommodate golf carts.

“We’re not entirely sure either,” Flowers said. “Thomasville has a very nice climate and atmosphere. It’s a long conversation just beginning.”