Recent events have brought attention to the use of golf carts on city streets and related safety considerations. The Village of Palmetto Bay and the Town of Cutler Bay both have formal regulations for golf cart use and requirements for owners and drivers.
In both municipalities, golf carts intended for street use must be registered with the city and must be equipment with efficient brakes, a reliable steering apparatus, safe tires, rear view mirrors, red reflectorized warning devices in the front and the rear, rear stop lamps meeting the minimum standards of f.s. §316.234(1), turn signals meeting the minimum standards of f.s. § 316.234(2) and safety belts. Palmetto Bay also requires a main power switch and a horn.
Drivers must hold a current valid driver’s license in order to operate a golf cart on city streets. Operators of golf carts using designated city streets are required to observe all traffic laws as if they were operating any other motor vehicle.
While traveling on designated streets, operators and passengers of golf carts must comply with applicable state law as to the requirements and usage of safety belts and child restraint equipment. Owners and operators of golf carts must comply with applicable state law pertaining to insurance requirements.
Golf carts were excluded previously from Old Cutler Road, S. Dixie Highway (US1, Palmetto Bay Parkway), SW 136th Street, SW 144th Street, SW 152nd Street, SW 168th Street, SW 184th Street, SW 67th Avenue, SW 77th Avenue, SW 82nd Avenue, SW 87th Avenue and SW 97th Avenue.
However, during the 2015 session of the Florida Legislature the Cutler Bay mayor and town council coordinated with state representatives to advocate for changes to Florida Statutes Chapter 316: State Uniform Traffic Control to allow the operation of a golf cart on county owned roads that are within the jurisdiction of a municipality.
In November 2015 the town council adopted Ordinance 15-08 to comply with Florida Statutes 316.212(1) allowing golf carts on “a two-lane county road located within the jurisdiction of a municipality designated by that municipality.”
Rafael Casals, town manager of Cutler Bay, commented on both their regulations and the desire to benefit the community through proper golf cart use.
“We take great pride in being the leaders of golf cart legislation,” Casals said. “One of the most important aspects of our ordinance is the installation of required safety equipment.
“Educating the golf cart users through our website, informational brochures, meetings and special events are just a few ways to further improve the safety. Promoting the use of golf carts within the town is just another way to further reduce our vehicular carbon footprint and enhance our sense of community, among our residents.”
Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn described the popularity of golf carts and the need for safety and following existing regulations on their use.
“Golf carts have become a custom here in both Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay,” Mayor Flinn said. “If I recall correctly, nearly every candidate for office campaigning within Palmetto Bay used a golf cart. I also believe that two current council members as well as at least one former village council member personally own golf carts.
“For the record, I do not own a golf cart. In the wake of the recent golf cart accident where children were injured, I would like to remind everyone of how important it is to follow safety and traffic rules when operating a golf cart,” he added.
He noted that Palmetto Bay has an ordinance detailing the requirements for all golf carts in the village.
Anyone who sees any reckless operation of any golf cart should immediately call the police and report any safety violation; including calling 911 if the situation meets this urgency.
It is important to remember that under the regulations: “All persons who operate or ride in golf carts, GCVs, on roads do so at their risk and peril, and must be observant of, and attentive to the safety of themselves and others, including their passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.”