Last updated: August 27. 2013 3:43PM - 1069 Views

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Rules aren’t always easy to swallow, but they are to be followed, whether we like them or not, or whether we believe they are appropriate or not.

Such is the case with laws concerning golf carts being ridden on city streets across Clinton. While some people — most of them owners of golf carts who use them as a means of transportation in their neighborhoods — believe the rules are stupid and shouldn’t apply to them, that isn’t the issue at hand.

It’s a matter of legal versus illegal, standard golf cart versus a street-legal one. The law is the law and should be followed. And we are glad that Clinton Police are ensuring that people adhere to that law.

Police aren’t being heavy-handed about it either. They started with awareness, alerting the public of the complaints they’d received, the laws governing golf carts and their intention to enforce those laws. And they’ll start the enforcement not with citations but with 30 days worth of warnings. It’s fair and it’s to be applauded.

Citizens should want police to respond when complaints are issued, and in most cases they do … unless the complaints are targeted at something that infringes on what they want to do.

But in the real world, that’s not how it works. Laws, like those governing golf carts, aren’t written for our pleasure, they are written for our protection. Requirements that golf carts ridden on city streets be equipped much like a vehicle, insured like a vehicle and registered like a vehicle are important. Those who don’t think so now would believe otherwise if they or their children were involved in an accident.

As it stands, police say if a standard golf cart is involved in an accident, the owner and driver of the cart is at fault … always. But it goes way beyond fault. Tragedies can and often do strike, even though we think they’ll always happen to someone else. While following laws doesn’t always prevent tragedies from occurring, it helps. And as the old adage goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

While we know this is an irritant to adults and children who have ridden golf carts uninhibited in many neighborhoods across Clinton for years, the rise in complaints about children drag racing golf carts or driving them carelessly coupled with issues with adults using them as a means of transportation when they’ve had a little too much to drink, is a dangerous mix that may lead to tragic consequences.

Putting brakes on the issue now can help avoid problems later. But it will take citizens abiding by laws they aren’t crazy about to ensure laws are heeded.

Wearing a seat belt might infringe on your personal right in your personal vehicle, but it has proven to save countless lives. The same is true of laws dealing with golf carts.

If the law is changed so be it, but while there is one on the books, citizens would do well to do the right thing, following the letter of the law because it is the responsible and adult thing to do.

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