Mobile Police Department is cracking down on illegal golf carts driving the streets of Downtown Mobile during the Mardi Gras season.
MPD said only licensed golf carts can be driven to parades. It's a law that police said has been in effect, just hadn't been enforced.
"We've not issued any citations and we wouldn't do that unless it was an egregious situation so people that fail to comply with our request to keep it safe. Don't impede traffic, don't block barricades, don't block golf carts," said Public Safety Director James Barber.
The state of Alabama does not permit golf carts not registered for street use on public roadways.
During Mobile’s Mardi Gras, no golf carts are permissible on the parade route while the parade is in progress. However, golf carts that have been upgraded into low-speed vehicles (LSV) are permitted downtown during Mardi Gras under certain provisions.
The LSV must meet the following requirements to be considered licensed for street use. It must have:
- A 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number;
- Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin certifying that the LSV complies with state safety regulations; and
- Department of Transportation-approved windshields, seat belts, mirrors, four-wheel brakes, headlights, taillights and directional signals.
Individuals on LSV must comply with the Rules of the Road.
- Must ride with the flow of traffic;
- Not allowed on sidewalks; and
- Cannot travel on blocked streets due to emergency vehicle access.
A waiver is granted to those associated with conducting an approved business activity related to Mardi Gras such as a vendor.
Barber said the goal is to make Mardi Gras safe, convenient, and fun for all revelers who attend. He said some of the fun can be interrupted when golf carts are parked illegally. Barber added some golf carts have been used to barricade areas and commandeer sections from other revelers.
"We don't want anybody blocking barricades and sidewalks. Period. Even if they do that with golf carts or if they try to bring rope. It's a publicly accessible area and we want the public to have access to it," he explained.
Meanwhile people who use golf carts to get to parades, especially those in RV city are not happy with the changes.
Valarie Sanders said she brings her RV and golf cart to RV city for the convenience and accessibility of it ever year.
"For the amount of money to make it street legal, it wouldn't be a problem had we had more notice other than a week to have one," Sanders said.
Once she heard the news of MPD enforcing the rules, she said she ordered a new "street legal" golf cart. She's just waiting for it to be delivered to her. She said it's personal for her and many others, they use the carts because of disabilities they have.
"I can't stand for a length of time because of my back and they bring their golf carts to the parade. I haven't been to my first parade yet because I don't have a golf cart," Sanders explained.
One other person at RV City who didn't want to be identified said the good shouldn't have to suffer for the bad.
"I think that Mobile ought to really think about it because all you're doing is you're hurting a lot of people because of some people that don't abide by the law," that RV owner added.
MPD said there were no tickets issued for golf carts no scooters so far this Mardi Gras season.
Barber said scooters are geo-fenced and cannot get into the parade areas, so that shouldn't be a major problem.