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State’s new golf cart rules largely par for course here

A new state law sponsored by state Sen. Erin Grall imposing restrictions on golf carts on public streets is causing some changes for people living at the northern and southern ends of 32963, but will not impact residents of Vero Beach or Indian River Shores.

House Bill 949, which went into effect July 1, regulates age requirements for golf cart operators, stating that the driver must have at least a valid learner’s permit if under the age of 18.

Golf carts and other four-wheel vehicles with top speeds between 20 mph and 25 mph are now categorized as a “low-speed vehicle” under the new state law, which means they must be titled, registered and insured. Those vehicles cannot be driven on roadways with speed limits of above 35 and their operators must have a valid driver’s license.

The City of Vero Beach’s golf cart ordinance takes precedence over the new bill within the city limits as it is more restrictive. In Vero Beach, all golf cart drivers, regardless of age, must have a valid driver’s license and liability insurance.

When those criteria are met, golf carts are still only allowed on specified roadways throughout the city and the vehicles’ maximum speeds cannot surpass 20 mph. The vehicles must have a horn, a rear-view mirror and red reflectors on the front and rear.

As for Indian River Shores, Deputy Chief Mark Shaw said the town currently has no problems with golf carts and does not anticipate any.

“Our requirements are probably different than most of the other agencies because, in order for you to operate a golf cart on any public roadway, it has to be no more than a 35-mile-per-hour speed zone,” Shaw said. “We only have A1A and the speed limit is 45 all the way through, so they’re not allowed on A1A at all.

“East-to-west, they traverse it every now and then, and mostly that is the maintenance guys,” Shaw continued. “So right now, we really don’t have any issues with golf carts and that’s the main reason.”

Since so much of the town is private streets, the new laws do not pertain to their roadways, Shaw said.

In the City of Vero Beach, golf carts are permitted on 20 island roadways, as follows:

Notably, golf carts cannot be driven on the curve connecting Bay Oak Lane and Ocean Drive.

In the City of Vero Beach, all golf carts driven past sundown and before sunrise must have headlights, brake lights, turn signals and a windshield.

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