The county plans to study the issue.
Hammock residents enjoy their low-key, rural lifestyle and for many, golf carts have been an important part of it.
Tooling down tree-lined roads to visit neighbors. Crossing State Road A1A to shop at Publix. Traveling the scenic bike path along A1A to go to Bings Landing, restaurants or other destinations. Driving a golf cart to the beach.
On June 5, the County Commission held a workshop to discuss the issue, after Commissioner Greg Hansen received almost 40 emails about the carts, some in favor and some opposed to their presence on bike paths and parking on roads near the beach.
“I want to get rules on the table,” Hansen said. “We don’t have statutes for or against, except motorized are not allowed on trails.”
The meeting room was packed with residents who mostly supported the freedom to ride the carts.
After a long line of speakers and a discussion by the officials, it was decided that another public meeting would be needed.
“Let’s start the process,” Hansen said.
One commissioner suggested looking at the Flagler Beach ordinance, which allows golf carts on some streets, as a guide.
County Administrator Craig Coffey said he would get additional information and plan an advertised public meeting. He said a safety study would likely be needed. As of press time for this issue, no public meeting had been scheduled.
There are several levels of golf cart usage that the officials can consider. Hammocks resident John Churn said he would like to be able to drive his cart around his neighborhood. He and others who live west of A1A would also like to be able to cross the highway to go to Publix. And if they are able to drive on the A1A bike path, they can go to restaurants, parks and the beach.
“There are a lot cool places to visit,” he said.
“Golf carts give us the best quality of life.”
Speaker at a County Commission workshop
Golf carts are normally not allowed on roadways, but Flagler Beach passed an ordinance allowing them with certain regulations.
The state allows golf carts on streets under 35 mph if they are upgraded to a low speed vehicle status. LSV requirements include lights, markers, seat belts, turn signals, 20 to 25 mph speed capability, tags, insurance, etc. An LSV can also cross a state road. But the upgrade costs hundreds of dollars and insurance is an annual cost. At the workshop, the residents said they want the freedom to ride golf carts without the extra expense. (Details on low speed vehicles are available from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.)
Neither golf carts nor low speed vehicles are allowed on the bike path along A1A, a state highway. A sign says “no motorized vehicles.” Recently, deputies have been stopping golf carts on the bike path and telling drivers it’s illegal. Residents say they were never stopped in the past.
Sheriff Staly said he was asked by County Administration to look into the matter of golf carts on the bike path. He said his deputies have stopped people to let them know it’s against the law and no tickets have been written.
“We have more important things to be investigating but if we receive a complaint we’re going to act on it,” he said recently. “Our focus is on more serious crime, but we don’t want a golf cart vs. car collision because the cart will lose every time.”
Another issue concerns streets that lead to the beach. People who live near the beach have complained about golf carts lined up along the road. In response to this, one person at the recent workshop said he would start parking his full-size truck on the street if they don’t allow his golf cart.
Churn emphasized the environmental aspect.
“They’re trying to make the world eco-friendly,” he said. “Golf carts are the way to do it.”