Anyone who has ever been immobilized can surely sympathize with the pleas of a Columbiana World War II veteran and his daughter to allow him to use his golf cart or neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) on city streets.
The daughter and a caregiver approached Columbiana City Council recently to ask that legislation be passed allowing the 86-year-old to use his golf cart in and around Firestone Park.
However, the Ohio Revised Code prohibits the use of NEVs on city streets and Police Chief Tim Gladis is rightfully concerned about the safety hazards the carts pose. Even though the vehicle is equipped with front and rear lights, a rear view mirror, a horn and a slow-moving vehicle sign, Gladis points out that if a golf cart is struck by a full-sized vehicle, its driver or passengers could be seriously injured.
Gladis also said council would have to create an inspection bureau to make certain the golf carts are registered and properly equipped to be on the road. We also would hope the vehicles owners would be charged a licensing fee to help defer the cost of this bureau to the city.
Some citizens have already registered complaints about the one cart being driven on city streets which prompted the chief to issue a warning to the elderly vet. The complaints and the dangers the carts pose could quickly escalate out of control if everyone was allowed to operate golf carts in town.
Mayor David Spatholt emphasized that "we have to be fair to everyone," and council should keep this in mind when considering a change in law to benefit one person.