Jackson County

Drivers will soon share the road with golf carts in Ocean Springs. But there's a catch.

Edmond Meyer, right, and Wild Bill, enjoy riding a golf cart in Old Town Bay St. Louis. Beginning  May 31, carts will be legal on some streets in Ocean Springs.
Edmond Meyer, right, and Wild Bill, enjoy riding a golf cart in Old Town Bay St. Louis. Beginning May 31, carts will be legal on some streets in Ocean Springs. Robin Fitzgerald

Golf cart operators who have longed for the right to drive on city streets will soon have their way — provided they comply with an ordinance effective May 31.

A long-discussed ordinance, passed by aldermen on Tuesday, will allow the low-speed vehicles only on streets with a speed limit of 30 mph or less. Golf carts will be able to cross a road with a higher speed, though, opening up more areas for people to travel around the city.

If you plan to drive your cart in town, you must have a valid driver's license and proof of insurance.

The ordinance also says your cart must have:

  • Headlights

  • Taillights

  • Seat belts

  • Turn signals

  • Brake lights

  • Parking brake

  • Windshield

  • Rear-view mirror

  • Side reflectors

And there's one catch on driving on four-lane roads — golf carts are to stay in the right lane.

The ordinance also requires that operators abide by all traffic and parking laws, or run the risk of towing, arrest and losing the right to drive a golf cart on public streets.

And yes, you can be arrested for DUI, the ordinance says.

Ocean Springs is the latest Mississippi Coast city to say "yes" to golf carts after receiving approval from state lawmakers.

Golf carts are no longer just for golf courses in resort areas, including the Coast. They're less expensive than a car or truck and can be used to shop, drop kids off at school or just drive for the love of a ride.

Ocean Springs will join Diamondhead, Pass Christian and Pascagoula in allowing golf carts on public streets. Bay St. Louis, Waveland and Long Beach are the latest cities to receive legislative approval.

It's been a hot-topic issue not only in Ocean Springs but also in neighboring cities, such as Bay St. Louis.

An ongoing debate has been are they just a cheap, easy way around town or are they too dangerous on city streets.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews
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