Well, it’s summertime so that means the kids are out of school and begging for the keys to the golf cart. Having seen and been involved in some close calls with golf carts, I felt it would be a good idea to discuss golf cart safety this month.
The laws/regulations regarding golf cart operations and safety come from a couple of different sources. The state golf cart laws are found in Florida Statutes, Chapter 316 State Uniform Traffic Control, Section 316.212. For more specific laws regarding operating a golf cart in Viera, Brevard County Ordinance 2016-22 governs this activity locally. Here is the ordinance in a nutshell:
- A golf cart can be driven on any roadway within the boundary of the Viera Development of Regional Impact (DRI) as long as the speed limit is 30 MPH or less. Golf carts CANNOT be driven on: Murrell Road, Stadium Parkway, Tavistock Drive, Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Lake Andrew Drive, Viera Boulevard, Wickham Road and Pineda Causeway. These roadways may be crossed, however, at any signalized intersection and designated pedestrian crossings. These roadways cannot be crossed anywhere else! There was a very serious accident not too long ago on Viera Boulevard where the driver tried to cross at a non-designated location. Please make sure you know where golf carts can travel and where you can legally cross.
- Multi-use trails that permit golf cart use must be marked as such with signage and path markings. CVCA is currently undergoing a large-scale project to mark all of the multi-use paths where golf cart use is permitted.
- Golf carts MUST have efficient brakes, reliable steering, safe tires, a rearview mirror, red reflectorized devices on both front and rear and a horn. If being driven after sunset or in conditions of rain/smoke/fog, golf carts must also have functional headlights, brake lights, turn signals and a windshield.
- Drivers must be at least 14 years of age. Although this should not be news to anyone since it is the law and has been for many years, I am always shocked to see kids younger than 14 at the wheel of golf cart. Please, please, please don’t allow kids to drive.
- A golf cart cannot transport more passengers than the number of passengers which the golf cart was designed to carry and it cannot transport any passenger who is not seated in a position intended by the manufacturer. Unfortunately, I see violations of this section of the ordinance quite a bit throughout Viera. Especially when passengers are sitting in the laps of other passengers. This is extremely dangerous and is not permitted. Children under the age of 5 should not be transported in a golf cart unless secured in a federally approved child restraint seat or carrier properly attached to the cart.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way on the multi-use trails. Golf cart operators should yield to pedestrians and non-motorized traffic on multi-use pathways by moving to the right side for oncoming traffic and passing other traffic (pedestrians, bikes, skaters, etc.) on the left. When approaching non-motorized traffic, operators should always use their horn to signal approach so as to avoid surprising others.
Golf carts can be a fun and an energy efficient transportation alternative. However, just as with any vehicle, there are rules to follow and they are not toys. As Viera grows and more people choose to use golf carts in their daily travels, it is so important to know the rules and be aware of your surroundings. This goes for regular vehicles as well. Everyone who drives in Viera should be aware that golf carts are allowed on the roadways so be vigilant and aware of the possible interactions between golf carts and vehicles.
Those who know me know that I spent several years working in a Florida community known for its golf carts so I have seen just about everything there is to see when it comes to the use of golf carts on multi-use trails and roadways. And, boy, could I tell some tales – but we will save that for another time. Bottom line is, golf carts are here to stay and all of us must take some personal responsibility with 1) educating ourselves regarding the rules/laws; 2) being aware and vigilant in our daily travels; and 3) being courteous in sharing the road and trails with different modes of transportation.
So, until next time, please remember … “Carefulness costs you nothing. Carelessness may cost you your life.”
Eva M. Rey, President
Central Viera Community Association, Inc.