By Jason Allen

GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) – Getting around the neighborhood on golf carts was never technically, officially, truly legal. But people living around Grapevine Lake have done it for decades. It was an easy way to get to the dock, the park, or just go see their friends. Now, a push to have the city sign off on the tradition may have ended it altogether.

City leaders stated Tuesday night that more golf carts could lead to more crashes. If they allowed it in one neighborhood, then they worried that other neighborhoods would think it was not fair.

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Police also said that they now believe that some carts previously recognized by the state as street legal are actually not legal anymore.

This all may eliminate carts from the roads along Lakeview Drive and Lakeridge Drive, where Larry Dunn said that they used to be common. His cart was the only one outside on Tuesday night. “We haven’t seen anybody walking, haven’t seen anybody out,” he said, as he drove through the neighborhood. “And that, really, that was one of the things when we went through with the petition, a lot of people said they really missed.”

Dunn and others collected more than 300 signatures, pushing the city to legalize golf carts for the Grapevine neighborhood. State law allows for carts in master planned communities or on roads during the day within two miles of a golf course. Cities can also allow carts on roads with speed limits of 35 mph or lower.

However, Grapevine had never passed an ordinance allowing that. Dunn said, around July 4 last year, police started cracking down and writing tickets. Sgt. Robert Eberling said that the department got complaints about the carts on the road. In a Tuesday workshop, Assistant Police Chief Ben Flanagan indicated that kids were often behind the wheel.

Since the ticketing started, Dunn explained that most people have just parked their carts. He invested in a state-licensed cart, with seatbelts and headlights. But Flanagan told city leaders that, by his reading of state law, even Dunn’s cart is no longer legal in the neighborhood.

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The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles said that the State Legislature amended the law last year to allow Neighborhood Electric Vehicles to be operated like golf carts. That was so they would not need to be insured. However, Flanagan explained that — he did not realize until recently — in doing so, he believes that the NEVs now have to be within two miles of a golf course to operate.

There is no course that close to the Grapevine neighborhood in question. It was not immediately clear Tuesday how closely police would enforce that reading of the law change.

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