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New Haven Considers Permitting Golf Carts on City Streets

It may soon be legal to drive golf carts on some streets in New Haven, if a new ordinance passes. An informal council member vote tally at Tuesday night’s city council meeting showed 4 to 3 in support. 

The measure is intended to increase quality of life, particularly for older New Haven residents. It’s clear however that golf carts on the roads could be a safety hazard.

During the measure’s second hearing, Fire Chief John Bennett was asked if he thought it was a good idea. He said that “since it appeared the measure had support from council, he simply tried to offer as many safety feature amendments as possible.” Bennett and others recommended requiring front and rear lights, and prohibiting driving during poor weather, among other things.

New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald says he hasn’t heard much interest in such an ordinance, and that it’s a bad idea. But he doesn’t expect much of a public response either way.

McDonald says “I think a lot of people are going to say oh that’s silly and stay home. If people were really concerned about the safety on the streets, people would behave better on the streets when they’re driving their motor vehicles, and two, they would have spoken up to the statehouse when mopeds were allowed on the streets.”

Dozens of other cities in Indiana permit golf carts on the road, but New Haven is a little different. It has a larger population, a major highway running through it, and a lot of traffic because of its vicinity to Fort Wayne.

The safety regulation amendments will be added to the ordinance before being approved for public hearing in the coming weeks.