If you’re riding your golf cart around Southport, have your seat belt buckled and your registration sticker displayed, or risk seeing those blue lights behind you.

Southport Police Chief Todd Coring said the department is beginning to enforce the city’s golf cart ordinance that was adopted in January 2018. Drivers will be approached by an officer if they’re operating an unregistered cart or breaking any laws, but they’ll likely just get a warning, for now.

As stated in the ordinance, all golf carts in the city limits must be inspected and registered to ride on city-maintained roads. The registration and sticker, which costs $25, should be renewed by July 1 of each year.

“There is a grace period,” Coring said. “We’re not out trying to be hard about this. We’re just trying to promote safe operations.”

At an inspection, the cart is checked for tires, seat belts, mirrors, parking brakes, turn signals and lights.

Carts with license plates from the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles must also display a city sticker but do not have to pay the $25 fee.

A license plate allows carts to drive on state-maintained roads, as long as the speed limit is 35 mph or less. Those include Moore, Howe, 9th, West West and Leonard streets. Carts without a license plate can cross over these roads but may not drive on them continuously.

In addition to being inspected and registered like a vehicle, golf carts have many of the same laws. Passengers should be wearing seat belts, and children should be in a car seat if required. In May, a 1-year-old boy was killed and six members of his family were hospitalized in Iredell County after their golf cart hit a pot hole and overturned.

“If you get on a crash in a golf cart, the injuries could be very devastating, especially to young people,” Coring said.

Golf cart drivers must be 18 years or older and have a fully valid license. Another problem officers have noticed is golf carts parked in spaces marked as no parking. Police have even caught some people drinking and driving on their carts.

“Some people think they’re just like a pleasure craft or something to just go leisurely ride on,” Corring said, “but the laws reflect on a golf cart just as they do operating a vehicle.”