As the warmer temperatures arrive in Southport, so do the golf carts.

While it’s legal to drive golf carts on city streets, there are some rules by which the operators must abide. Southport Police Chief Todd Coring wants to encourage citizens to become familiar with the golf cart ordinance.

“We’re seeing an increase in golf carts operating in Southport,” Coring said. “And we want to encourage the public to follow our ordinances and our guidelines. Our number one priority is to promote safety.”

Coring noted he’s witnessed some reckless operation of golf carts, including piling several children into a single cart with none of them properly secured in a seatbelt.

“We certainly don’t want to see anybody get hurt,” he said. “And we’ve seen that in some of our neighboring communities.”

While the city has had a golf cart ordinance for several years now, it was updated in October 2017. The new ordinance became effective in January 2018. A copy of the updated ordinance is available under the “police-issued permits” section of the police department’s webpage, southportnc.org/police.

Coring noted that in addition to the complete ordinance, there is also a printable brochure that details registration requirements, required safety features, rules of operation and penalties for violations.

“There are a lot of new people coming to Southport, and they don’t even realize that we have an ordinance,” Coring said.

One thing people may not be aware of is the age requirement for operating a golf cart on city streets. According to the ordinance, all golf cart operators must be at least 18 years of age.

“I think they did that to stress the importance and responsibility involved,” Coring said, of the requirement. “It’s a lot of responsibility in operating one. It can be kind of tricky.”

The city also requires that all golf carts operating on city streets be inspected and registered.

The police department performs golf cart inspections at the department during regular business hours, from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. For those who may not wish to drive to the station for the inspection or need a time a bit later in the day, he said other arrangements can be made.

“If they live in town — in the city limits — and want to call us, we will come to the house and do it there,” Coring said.

He noted that the inspection only takes a few minutes, and an officer will fill out the form. Citizens will then take the completed inspection form to city hall, located at 1029 North Howe Street, and pay the $25 registration fee. After the information is submitted and the fee is paid, the citizen will receive a sticker for the golf cart.

“The sticker is to be placed on the back left side of the golf cart,” Coring said.

He added that if there are any additional questions about the process, citizens may call the department at 910-457-7911.

“We want to promote golf cart use in Southport, but we want it to be safe golf cart use,” Coring said.