LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Lee County is home to hundreds of thriving private communities where golf carts share the road with walkers, bikers, and other vehicles. For many residents, golf carts may seem like the best way to travel to and from the clubhouse, nearby restaurants, and shopping centers, but many are often unaware of regulations and safety guidelines for operating them.
“What some of our citizens don’t realize is that when golf carts move from the back nine to the blacktop, drivers and their passengers are at great risk, much like a bicycle rider," says Sheriff Carmine Marceno. “These carts are not crashworthy and if they are involved in an accident the consequences may very well be deadly”.
Below are some important rules and safety tips you should follow to help keep everyone safe, wherever golf carts can legally take you:
- Know before you go. In Florida, golf carts can be driven by anyone over the age of 14 on a public road where permitted by law and the posted speed limit is under 25 mph. The minute a golf cart exceeds 20 mph, a totally different set of rules apply. These vehicles, known as low speed vehicles (LSV) require the driver to have a valid driver’s license and need to be registered at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. They must also be insured like a regular vehicle.
- Designated driving. The law in Florida states a golf cart can be operated on roads designed for use by golf carts. Counties are required to post signage informing residents of where golf carts can or can’t be driven. One exception in Florida Statute 316.212 (section three) says a golf cart can cross a state highway so long as it divides a subdivision, mobile home park or golf course. You are strongly encouraged to check with the Lee County Sheriff's Office or your local law enforcement agency concerning how golf cart roads are defined in your area.
- Drive defensively. Look, listen and use caution while driving. Just because you see them doesn’t mean they see you.
- Always yield to pedestrians and oncoming traffic.
- Slow down before and during turns.
- Make sure the direction selector is in the correct position before accelerating.
- Avoid busy roadways and always be observant of what is going on around you.
For more information about golf cart safety, rules and regulations, please call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit at 239-477-1000 or a member of their Community Response Unit (CRU) at 239-477-1CRU.