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Drive away golf cart rule breaking

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If you follow golf cart rules you may save yourself from getting a citation!

If you follow golf cart rules you may save yourself from getting a citation!

If you follow golf cart rules you may save yourself from getting a citation!

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When you look outside your window, have you ever seen a golf cart driving by? Was the driver under age? Chances are they might’ve been.  Sometimes, golf cart owners aren’t aware of the rules or where and when they apply. 

Recently, Gulf Breeze has had problems with kids under the age of 16 driving golf carts illegally on the street. Officer Baker (the Gulf Breeze Middle School resource officer) clarified golf cart rules in the city limits. One thing he recommended was for parents to set boundaries for kids under and over the age of 16. To legally drive a golf cart on the street in Gulf Breeze Proper, “you must be 16 or older and have a driver license,” he said. Although, in most Santa Rosa areas the age restriction is 14 or older.

So, what if an older golf cart doesn’t meet the standards newer golf carts have to meet? A golf cart must have many of the same accessories as a normal car. These accessories include a windshield, vehicle identification number, seat belt for every seat, reflex reflectors, tail lamps and stop lamps, front and rear turn signals, parking brake, headlamps, extended mirrors (driver side and interior rear-view or passenger side). Officer Baker explained, “It has to be street legal [to drive in Gulf Breeze Proper].” If a young person is caught illegally driving, it could lead to a citation.  

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office shared state and county ordinances which said,  “A golf cart may be operated only during the hours between sunrise and sunset,” unless the vehicle has headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and a windshield.” Along with that, the maximum speed a golf cart can legally drive is 15 miles an hour, and they can only drive on sidewalks that are at least 8 feet wide in Florida. 

Lieutenant Mark James of the Sheriff’s Office pointed out that golf carts can only be driven on approved streets in the county, and that each neighborhood has to apply to the county commission to have their street(s) approved. He shared county resolutions which show the only streets that are golf cart legal are: Bayview Lane, Circle Drive, Circle lane, College Court, College Parkway, Crest Court, Crestview Lane, Cypress Lane, Edgewater Drive, Edgewater Lane, Fairlane Drive, Fernwood Drive, Harbor Lane, Hillside Avenue, Laguna Lane, Laguna Court (excluding the eastern 800 feet), Laurel Drive, Maplewood Court, Maplewood Drive, Oakwood Lane, Park Lane, Redwood Lane, Santa Rosa Drive (the segment from Bayview Lane to Redwood Lane), Seabreeze Lane, Shady Lane, Summit Lane, Sunset Lane, Sycamore Lane, West Avenue, Willow Lane, Bay Mist Drive, Bay Wind drive, Captains Court, Lighthouse Court, Lighthouse Drive, Lighthouse Lane, Mariners Circle, Mariners Drive, Paradise Bay Drive, Paradise Cove Court, Portside Drive, Sailwind Drive, and Topsail Drive. According to Lieutenant James, “As you’ll see the list of approved streets here you will not find ANY in the Tiger Point Blvd. community and it is the largest concentration of cart owners!  If HOA’s or communities want their streets added they should petition the Commissioners to add specifically named streets.”

There are so many ways to be safe on a golf cart but when rules are not followed it may result in serious injury. A few years ago, some teenagers were playing around on a golf cart and it flipped over resulting in young man losing a finger. Another story of a golf cart incident happened recently. It may not have been as serious considering no one got hurt, but it was still extremely dangerous. Teenagers piled onto a golf cart and were doing donuts tearing up Tiger Point’s golf course. Although golf carts may seem like fun, they may result in fatal injury and expensive damage.  

Golf carts can be fun and games until someone gets hurt. Make sure  to follow the rules of the road to ensure everyone’s safety and reduce the chance of getting a citation.

For more information on golf cart ownership from the state of Florida, check out this PDF: lowspeedvehicles

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Drive away golf cart rule breaking