HATFIELD — Police Chief Michael Dekoschak met with the Select Board several weeks ago to discuss allowing golf cart traffic on some town roads. His reasoning was simple: why not?

“If people enjoy doing it and we can make it safe for them to do, and we can make it legal for them to do, who am I to take a hard stance on it?” Dekoschak said. “That’s essentially my position.”

In response, at its Feb. 6 meeting the Select Board voted to authorize Chair Diana Szynal to sign a letter to state Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton) and state Rep. Lindsey Sabadosa (D-Northampton) requesting support for a home rule petition to the legislature. A special law, voted on favorably on Beacon Hill, would authorize the town to create bylaws that allow golf carts to be driven on public roadways within the town.

The letter offers the basic requirements outlined by Dekoschak for the town bylaws that will regulate carts on the roads. The first control would be that cart owners have to register their vehicle with the Town Clerk’s office. The letter also suggests the vehicle safety equipment usually required on cars will also be required for carts. Not all roads in town would be open to cart traffic.

Dekoschak estimated there’s about a dozen carts illegally driven on the roads. According to Town Administrator Marlene Michonski, most cart traffic occurs in the downtown area. She hasn’t been approached by people about the carts or had official discussions about them.

“From time to time you may see two or three,” Michonski said. “But some people have raised questions and concerns [about] … the individuals operating the golf carts.”

Dekoschak suggested that cart operators would have to be at least 16 years old, the legal age to drive a car. The new bylaws would not apply to four wheelers, off road vehicles, tractors and other low speed vehicles or snowmobiles. Those means of transit are already regulated by state law.

Carts may offer benefits to quality of life. Carts are electric, run silently, create no exhaust and have a top speed of 8-15 mph. Carts may reduce traffic noise in the downtown area. If adopted for official use, carts may also help Hatfield, a green community, reach the required reduction in fossil fuel use required under the program.

Carts allowed for street use may also be more expensive. Dekoschak will require safety equipment upgrades.

“Even seatbelts would have to be installed,” Dekoschak said. “Seatbelts, blinkers, headlights, taillights, brake lights, again it comes down to safety. Right now, what I have is people using their golf cart right off the golf course, with no safety features.”

Michonski said most often carts are used to get over to Smith Academy for an event, or to a local park. Local carts are driven mostly on weekends. Most carts have headlights, night operation is possible, but there would be limits on the hours of use.

The bylaws would codify other requirements for cart use on town roads. For example, Dekoschak heard from a local insurance agent that at least one company will issue insurance for golf carts. Where carts may be used would also be decided while town officials draw up the bylaws in preparation for a Town Meeting vote. Speed limits, traffic density, the times of heaviest use, all would determine where cart use would be allowed.

“It would have to be a sit down at that point in time … to make sure we’re doing everything as safely as possible while allowing people to enjoy their golf carts,” Dekoschak said.