YOUNGSVILLE — It’s now legal to ride golf carts on Youngsville streets as long as the carts are insured for liability, equipped with headlights, brake lights and turn signals, and are operated by licensed drivers during the daytime.
And the slow-moving carts — with top speed a putt-putting 25 mph — cannot legally venture onto state highways or other high-volume thoroughfares that crisscross Youngsville, a bedroom community to Lafayette’s southeast that has the fastest-growing population in Louisiana.
Youngsville Councilman and Mayor-elect Ken Ritter said he pushed for the ordinance for a few reasons.
“It places restrictions on those vehicles because they’re becoming more popular,” Ritter said.
“Secondly, it recognizes that Youngsville is a city of neighborhoods,” he said. “We’ve created neighborhoods that in a lot of cases are self-contained, where there’s a park, a pool, tennis courts, common areas inside the neighborhoods.”
Ritter said residents in the city’s many subdivisions flock to the neighborhoods’ common areas, many of them riding golf carts. Some of those residents requested the ordinance to clarify what is and is not legal.
“We were being proactive with it. The truth was, people were using golf carts illegally,” said Ritter, who will be sworn in as Youngsville’s mayor in early January.
Louisiana law allows carts that are “street legal” to be operated on nonstate highways, Ritter said. He said Youngsville’s ordinance in some instances is not as stringent and does not require add-ons such as seat belts.
“A golf cart that is not street legal in terms of the state can be street legal in Youngsville,” Ritter said.
Ritter said Youngsville’s ordinance also enacts age requirements: No one under the age of 6 can be a passenger.
Youngsville’s eight-page ordinance was adopted with a 3-2 City Council vote in October. The ordinance includes a clause that specifies golf carts must be registered with the city, and that registration includes signing a document that releases Youngsville from liability.
Youngsville’s law is specific to golf carts, defining them as “four-wheeled, electric powered” with cruising speeds of 20 to 25 mph. Not included are all-terrain vehicles, riding lawn mowers and tractors.
The City Council in the neighboring city of Broussard is studying and discussing Youngsville’s ordinance.
Broussard Councilman David Bonin said he introduced at least the idea to the council last month after requests by residents.
“They want to know if they can ride them,” Bonin said. “(People) ride them everywhere else.”
The council has not formally taken action, but there have been conversations.
Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais’ input into the conversations leaves no doubt where he stands.
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Langlinais said. “What I have a problem with is passing more ordinances that cannot be enforced.”
Langlinais said he has no problem with Broussard residents operating golf carts within neighborhoods without there being a city law.
“Before it’s all over, (Youngsville’s) going to have to hire another person to take care of the golf cart ordinance,” Langlinais said.
“Look, Ken’s (Ritter) a good friend of mine, but all I can said is he’s going to be stuck with this,” Langlinais said.
According to Youngsville’s ordinance, golf carts are not allowed to traverse the following state and city roads in Youngsville: La. 89 (Youngsville Highway), Guillot Road, Fortune Road, Griffin Road, Church Street, School Street, Verot School Road, Chemin Metairie Parkway, Bonin Road, Almonaster Road, Détente Road, Railroad Street, La. 92 (East Milton Avenue), Iberia Street, North and South Larriviere Road, Savoy Road, Chemin Agreable Road, or Langlinais Road.