The Town of Cutler Bay will host its inaugural Golf Cart Challenge “Rodeo” on Jan. 9 as part of the seventh annual Cutler Bay Chili Day.
More than just a new event, the purpose is to educate residents on a variety of safety issues as well as to celebrate the success of town officials in getting the State of Florida to modify its law so that the county no longer can restrict the use of golf carts.
Town officials consider that a major victory.
“The Town of Cutler Bay was the driving force to change the state law permitting golf carts to drive on two-lane county roads within a municipal boundary,” said Councilmember Sue Loyzelle. “Previously golf carts could only cross these roads but were not permitted to ride on them.”
Those who wish to participate can register for the competition and see if they are the Best Male or Female Golf Cart Driver in Cutler Bay. The parts of the Challenge include:
1. A “Pre-trip” Safety Inspection;
2. A Multiple Choice and True/False “Written Test” of the Golf Cart Rules, and
3. Obstacle Course: This is a fun driving experience.
There will be a contest in categories such as the Best Customized Golf Cart, Most Unusual Golf Cart and Best
Themed Cart. There will be golf cart vendors and AARP will provide give-a-ways to participants as well as a “Golf Cart Fit” Educational Program.
Mayor Peggy Bell said she is excited about the event and its significance.
“In January 2010, the Cutler Bay Council unanimously passed an ordinance allowing for golf carts on streets in Cutler Bay,” Bell said. “This law requires golf cart owners to be registered and to have safety features onboard.
Unfortunately we were not able to drive on county-owned streets within the town and spent years trying to convince them to lift this ban.”
Mayor Bell said they felt they had a good argument in favor of golf cart usage. Golf carts are used extensively by seniors residing in the Eastridge community, and this law enables them to go grocery shopping and visit friends.
There is a large community of golf cart owners, as evidenced by the annual golf cart parade.
“Finally, it is better for the environment to make short trips by golf cart, as opposed to automobile,” Bell said. “We decided to take our case to the state. We spoke to and received support from state legislators, such as Sen. Dwight Bullard, Rep. Eric Fresen, Rep. Kionne McGhee, and others to support a change in the state law to allow cities who had an existing golf cart law currently in effect to use all streets within their municipality, with certain restrictions.
“We won! Now we can use golf carts on all streets within the town with the exception of US1 and the turnpike. Our efforts will also be felt by the many other municipalities who can now, freely, enjoy using their golf carts in their own communities. Councilman Tim Meerbott proposed this in 2009. I think he deserves a lot of credit.”
Volunteers are needed to assist with the Challenge Rodeo. If interested send an email to the Communities for a Lifetime Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Town Hall at 305-234-4262.