Residents of Welsh will soon get to legally drive golf carts on town streets. It's been a long two year battle for residents of Welsh and the town council, but the legislature finally gave them the go ahead, and now golf carts will be a new mode of transportation.
Tuesday night's 4-1 Council vote in Welsh will legally allow golf carts to be driven on certain streets. Alderman Becky Hudson voted to approve the city ordinance.
"We want people to be able to use the golf carts and use them with a lot of discretion and know that this is a privilege and along with the privilege comes the right and also comes the responsibility of being a good driver and being a safe driver," said Hudson.
Golf carts will be considered motor vehicles by the Welsh police department. Drivers must have a valid license, and the carts must be inspected yearly. Welsh police chief Tommy Chaisson says the ordinance may work, but there are still some concerns.
"We have citizens that need a way of getting around and they have no way of getting around," said Chaisson. "So this is a good idea. I just hope that no one gets hurt."
The carts are not allowed on the two highways in Welsh, unless crossing at the designated areas. There are three: two across Louisiana highway 99 at Nichols Street and Beaufort Street, and one across highway 90 at Polk Street.
The reason for the crossing on Polk Street is so that the golf carts can access a pedestrian bridge which is wide enough for them to pass and reach the Sportsman's park.
Hudson says the town will try the ordinance out, and if it isn't working as planned, they'll make a change.
"If we find that it isn't working the way that we want it to, we can adjust or we can change it or we can repeal it," said Hudson.
But Chaisson and Hudson hope the golf cart ordinance can enhance the overall well being of the town.
"I think it can add to people who need to get around other than on foot and rely on somebody all the time, it will give them access to get around," said Chaisson.
"We do have people who find that it's easier to be in golf carts than it is in cars, and it's a way right now with the economy the way that it is, it will save money as far as gasoline goes," said Hudson.
The city is not liable for the golf carts, and failure to comply with regulations will result in a 100 dollar fine.
The ordinance officially goes into effect March 1.