Residents of Loxahatchee Groves can use golf carts on most roadways now that the town has signs in place regarding the rules operators must follow.
The council gave final approval to an ordinance authorizing golf cart use on roads last month, but Town Manager Mark Kutney asked for additional time to put up the signs required by state law.
“We ordered the signs and received them,” Kutney told the Town-Crier on Wednesday. “Our public works vendor is in the process of putting them all up. I think he’s almost done putting them up on the roadways that require the signage.”
Kutney said the ordinance took effect upon passage, but that the council gave him until the first of the year for implementation. “We were in that process during the holidays, determining which roadways needed a sign,” he said. “Then we got the signs ordered, and then moved forward with the installation.”
Kutney said there have been no problems or complaints, but he did get reports that some of the signs had been tampered with.
“We do have that from time to time, and that’s not necessarily particular to the golf carts,” he said. “We do find signs that are missing or pulled out. I don’t know if it’s going to become a problem that I’m going to have to get with the sheriff’s office on, if it’s just malicious mischief or what the case may be. We’ll monitor that and see what’s happening. Hopefully, it’s not as a result of the golf carts. I haven’t had anybody complain to me personally.”
The council was split 3-2 in its approval of the ordinance, with Vice Mayor Ron Jarriel and Councilman Jim Rockett expressing concerns about safety.
Rockett told the Town-Crier Wednesday that at the council’s next meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14, he intends to bring up concerns he has seen since the ordinance was implemented.
Under the ordinance, operation is prohibited on Okeechobee and Southern boulevards and Folsom Road, which are not under the town’s jurisdiction, but provisions will be made for carts to cross at designated areas. Also, Florida statutes require that signs be posted throughout the community noting that golf carts are permitted, with language informing the public of local rules that are not in the statutory guidelines for golf cart operation. The privilege is restricted to golf carts and does not include dune buggies or ATVs.
Under state statutes, the ordinance only permits operation of golf carts on public roads designated by the town, and they must be with consideration to the vehicle speed limits, traffic volume and character of the vehicle traffic within the town. The number of riders is restricted to the number of seats in the golf cart.
The council determined that its roads are already traveled on by agricultural vehicles, bicycle traffic and pedestrians, which historically has been done safely. It was also determined that under state-required standards for golf cart equipment, they were safer than most agricultural vehicles.