University strengthens gameday safety, restricts golf cart, ATV use

Beginning July 1, 2017, Mississippi State will significantly restrict the use of non-university golf carts, ATVs or other such off-road vehicles on campus.

“These policies are necessary to maintain a safe environment on our campus for students, faculty and staff, as well as thousands who visit our campus each year, including families and children,” said MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter. “These guidelines bring MSU into line with our colleagues in the Southeastern Conference and the vast majority of NCAA Division 1 universities.”

Over the last decade, crowds have grown at Starkville campus sporting events. With that growth has come increased public safety concerns for fans and visitors and a renewed commitment to ensuring a positive gameday experience.

Under Mississippi law, all street legal vehicles being operated on a public roadway must have proper safety equipment, proof of insurance and a license plate. No non-university ATVs, non-licensed utility vehicles, non-street legal golf carts or any off-road vehicles are allowed anywhere on campus, including, but not limited to roadways, sidewalks, grass and MSU grounds. The rule of thumb is that only “street legal” vehicles may operate on campus streets and roadways.

In addition, street-legal golf cart access to pay parking lots and Bulldog Club lots will require payment or permit. If trailered, the payment/permit must be paid for vehicle and cart. Permit/payment is required to enter the parking lots.

All former golf cart parking areas will be eliminated and golf carts now are required to park under the same requirements as cars or trucks. These rules will be enforced by the Mississippi State University Police Department and on gamedays by MSUPD, MSU Athletics, and event security contract employees.

Also, moving violations now will be enforced on golf cart operators, including improper registration, lack of proof of insurance, unlicensed operators, etc. Violations occurring outside the roadway will be subject to the same fines and towing restrictions as those applied to automobiles.

The only exceptions are utility vehicles used by the university or local law enforcement and emergency personnel for official purposes.

MSU Police Chief Vance Rice reminds gameday patrons that privately owned golf carts are expected to operate in the same manner as would a car or other motorized vehicles. The driver of any golf cart must possess a valid driver’s license and proper insurance.

“We’ve already seen accidents in recent years involving golf carts on campus that have produced significant injuries,” said Rice. “In response to that, MSUPD and state and local law enforcement will strictly enforce our golf cart/off-road vehicle regulations, including the issuance of citations and fines.”

Privately owned golf carts are only to be operated on streets open for public traffic. The carts also will not be allowed to access those streets that close prior to game time such as Creelman, B.S. Hood and Stone Blvd., Rice said.

Golf carts are absolutely prohibited in tailgating areas, such as the Barnes and Noble lawn, FanFair area, the Junction, West Lawn tent area or other areas accessed by roads closed during gameday.

Golf carts may not be driven along closed roads or on any sidewalks. Golf carts may be driven across sidewalks into non-prohibited tailgating areas to load and unload supplies or to park on the perimeter.

Rice reiterated that golf cart drivers are prohibited from drinking and driving, that carts should not be overloaded and that carts cannot be operated on Highway 182 if not properly tagged.

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Sid Salter | Public Affairs

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