Residents of the Windemere subdivision in the northern part of Dalton could begin riding personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) on neighborhood streets by the end of the week.
The City Council voted 3-1 on Monday to designate all streets in Windemere for PTV use. Council member Tyree Goodlett cast the dissenting vote, and Mayor Dennis Mock typically votes only in the event of a tie.
"Under state law, before this can take effect, we will have to put up signs," said Public Works Director Benny Dunn. "We'll have to post signs on all the state routes coming into the city, saying that PTVs are used on city streets. We'll have to post signs at each of the entrances to Windemere. I think there are three. And then there's some steeper grades, I think there are three of those, where we'll post some caution signs underneath the PTV signs."
Dunn said that, weather permitting, all of the signs should be up by the end of the week.
PTVs are essentially golf carts but by law must have a number of safety features — seat belts, headlights, turn signals, etc. — that aren't necessarily found on golf carts used on golf courses.
The state legislature changed the law a couple of years ago to allow PTVs to be operated on city streets if a city OKs them, subject to certain limitations. PTVs can’t be operated on federal highways, state roads or heavily-trafficked cross streets. They can only be operated on residential streets with speed limits of no more than 25 mph.
Council members tabled a vote on designating Windemere for PTV use two weeks ago, after learning of a golf cart accident in the Highland Forest subdivision in north Whitfield County that left a Northwest Whitfield High School student injured. Council members said they wanted to make sure there are adequate safety measures in place before approving PTV use.
Council member Denise Wood said Monday she thinks the law does provide adequate protections.
"These aren't your typical golf carts. They have safety belts and lights," she said.
Council member Gary Crews noted that under state law only licensed drivers can drive PTVs on city streets.
"Teenagers who don't have a driver's license won't be allowed to drive them," he said.
But Goodlett said he still has concerns about PTVs.
"I still think you'll have kids wanting to get on them and drive them," he said. "Even if you have seat belts on, if it flips over you can still bump your head. I'd like to see helmets required."