Waxahachie Golf Cart Guidelines

Jumping on a golf cart to get a burger could soon be a thing of the past in Waxahachie.

City leaders are seeking to create an ordinance that clearly outlines what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to the use of golf carts, neighborhood electric vehicles and all-terrain vehicles .

Last week, Chief Constable Wade Goolsby briefed the City Council on issues the department has recently noticed with these types of vehicles.

Of the three, neighborhood electric vehicles, which are similar to golf carts except that they have a bench in the back for passengers, are used more often in questionable locations.

Goolsby said state law allows golf carts to be used in a planned community, on a public or private beach, or on a street where the speed limit is less than 35 mph and no more than 5. miles from the golf course and for the purpose of coming and going from the golf course.

He said the requirement for neighborhood vehicles and off-road vehicles is the same as for golf carts, except it must be within 2 miles and only to and from a golf course. it is not a planned community.

Goolsby said there appears to be confusion in state law regarding “master planned community.”

“Did the legislature intend to legalize golf cart driving in any subdivision that has an HOA, or did it intend for a more specialized community?” said Goolsby. “I think it was the latter. I don’t think they intended to make it legal in every subdivision, otherwise they wouldn’t have used the term main planned community.

“As soon as the law came out, people were like, ‘Oh, I can ride them on all the streets in our neighborhoods,'” Goolsby said. “And that’s not what he says. But that’s where the confusion is. »

Goolsby said the Legislature later passed a provision saying a county or municipality could ban golf carts if they felt it was in the interest of public safety. Or they may allow them with certain security provisions. But until the city passes an ordinance, operators must follow state law.

Chief Constable Wade Goolsby

Council members said they saw these vehicles driving through neighborhoods that do not meet the state’s criteria, including on major thoroughfares. Mayor Pro Tem Billie Wallace said she noticed them along the sidewalks towards Whataburger. Councilman Travis Smith said that in one particular neighborhood that didn’t meet the criteria, he saw as many as 20 neighborhood electric vehicles in one weekend.

Goolsby said the vehicles were also seen in parks and on trails. State law restricts them to public sidewalks, walkways, public parks, schoolyards, or other public recreation areas not designed for motor vehicle traffic.

“We see them everywhere,” Goolsby said.

Officials are concerned about the dangers of driving these vehicles on busy roads. Additionally, Goolsby said there was an incident when a teenager died after falling from a neighborhood electric vehicle and hitting his head.

Goolsby plans to draft an ordinance stating where the vehicles can be used and then present it to the council for adoption.

Smith said he would like to require that vehicles can only be used on unpaved streets in neighborhoods where the speed limit is 30 mph or less.

He also pointed to the city of Ovilla’s ordinance, which limits such vehicles on state highways, eliminating much of the travel outside of a neighborhood.