Golf carts could become street legal in one Ouachita Parish neighborhood

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is considering making golf carts street legal in the Frenchmen’s Bend neighborhood. (Source: KNOE) -

OUACHITA PARISH, La. (KNOE) - The Ouachita Parish Police Jury is considering making golf carts street legal in one local neighborhood.

District C Juror Walt Caldwell introduced the ordinance at Tuesday’s OPPJ meeting. The ordinance would allow golf carts to be driven legally on the roads within the Frenchman’s Bend area. If passed, this would become the first ordinance of its kind within the parish.

“State law allows the parish to designate parish roads upon which it is ok to operate a golf cart but state law also has a lot of requirements for those golf carts,” said Jay Mitchell, Assistant District Attorney.

Caldwell stated in the public meeting that he was approached by the Frenchman's Bend Homeowners Association about the possible chance. The potential ordinance would be in accordance with LA. R.S. 32:299.4, and follow strict guidelines.

“You would have to be a licensed driver, the equipment would have to be equipped with things like brake lights, head lights, and you would have to have insurance. So, a lot of things like driving an automobile,” said Mitchell.

Under the 2015 revised state statute, no person shall operate a golf cart upon a parish road or municipal street without a valid driver's license, a rule that would affect young teens from using the popular motor vehicle.

“Senior citizens who are driving a block down to the golf course, that’s a pretty safe thing. The problem is that the law doesn’t allow for them to drive on the road any more than it does a 9, 10 or 11-year-old kid who might not be able to safely operate a golf cart,” said Mitchell.

People who work for local retailer West Monroe Golf Carts say a lot of their clients stay in the Frenchman’s Bend area. Office Manager Christy Tisdale says unfortunately, none of their carts are sold street legal, but they can modify them. A complete remodel could cost upwards of $1000.

“Most of our clients don’t have this done because it’s not cost efficient,” said Tisdale.

But Tisdale says she’s not too excited about taking the keys out the hands of people without a license. She believes the carts are a good tool to teach kids how to drive with the proper rules.

“My girls have a golf cart right and we let them ride around in our neighborhood, but of course we have rode with them and we have guidelines,” Tisdale.

The Police Jury will hold a public hearing and then consider the ordinance at their next meeting on September 17th.