Wellington’s Neighborhood Watch program held a community-wide Zoom meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 8 to inform the public about the village’s new golf cart ordinance, which goes into effect on March 28, 2022.
Neighborhood Watch Liaison Gloria Kelly said the operation of golf carts is currently prohibited in the village outside of golf courses and private property. That will change in March.
“A golf cart may be operated on a municipal street or pathway that has been designated for use by golf carts,” Kelly said. “Wellington and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office created this golf cart ordinance.”
It was approved by the Wellington Village Council earlier this year.
Kelly noted that the ordinance does not regulate golf cart usage within gated communities or private/semi-private property, including retail parking lots and private roads.
Pointing out the difference between golf carts and low-speed vehicles, she said that golf carts are manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational uses, while low-speed vehicles are what many refer to as a street vehicle.
“The state requires that a low-speed vehicle must be registered, have a valid license plate, and be insured and titled,” Kelly said. “Low-speed vehicles may be driven on roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less, but may not be driven on village designated multimodal pathways.”
Beginning on March 28, 2022, the Village of Wellington will permit the operation of golf carts on designated village roads and designated multimodal pathways.
“Signs will be posted throughout Wellington to show where golf carts may be operated,” Kelly said, explaining that a designated village road is a road or a portion of a road where golf carts are allowed to operate. “These roads are located within residential neighborhoods. A designated village road means… it has a speed limit of 25 mph or less. It will be marked with signs indicating it is a designated village road.”
A designated multimodal pathway is not a typical 4-foot to 5-foot sidewalk found within residential neighborhoods, but is a minimum of eight feet wide, is paved and marked with village signs indicating it is a multimodal pathway. They are often adjacent to a collector road identified by the village.
“Collector roads are the local streets in Wellington that connect to residential streets,” Kelly explained, noting that low-speed vehicles are not permitted on multimodal pathways. “Remember that golf cart travel is never permitted on a major collector road. For example, a golf cart may be operated on the multimodal pathway adjacent to Big Blue Trace, but it cannot travel on Big Blue Trace.”
She added that some communities in the village are private and do not have access to a multimodal pathway or a designated village road.
“If a road has a posted speed limit of 30 mph or more, golf carts are not allowed,” Kelly said. “Forest Hill Blvd., Pierson Road and State Road 7 are some examples of roads that fall under this category.”
Golf carts are also not allowed on equestrian trails, she said, adding that more complete information is available at www.wellingtonfl.gov/golfcarts. On that site, an interactive map is available where residents can type in their address, and the map will indicate where streets or multimodal pathways are nearby that allow golf carts.
Only people aged 14 and over are allowed to operate golf carts on designated village roads, according to state statutes, as long as they have a driver’s license or learner’s permit, Kelly said.
“It is imperative that you should never drive a golf cart in a reckless or careless manner,” she said. “Golf carts on designated village roads will be sharing the roads with other motor vehicles, and golf carts on multimodal pathways will be sharing the pathways with pedestrians and bicyclists.”
Golf carts must drive on the right side or shoulder of the road or pathway in either direction and must make complete stops at stop signs and must follow all motor vehicle and traffic laws. Golf cart operators on multimodal pathways must yield the right of way by slowing down, stopping or pulling off the pathway to allow pedestrians, bicyclists and others to pass.
“When passing pedestrians, bicyclists or equestrians, golf cart drivers must announce their intentions either verbally or by sound and must yield to all traffic at intersections,” Kelly said.
Failure to yield or bulldozing pedestrians or bicyclists off pathways will not be tolerated, she said, adding that the speed limit for golf carts is 25 mph on designated roads and 15 mph on multimodal pathways.
The capacity of golf carts is limited to the number of seats, except that children under age 7 may ride on the lap of a passenger other than the driver.
Golf carts must be equipped with efficient brakes, reliable steering apparatus, safe tires, a rearview mirror, red reflectors on the front and rear, and a horn, Kelly said, adding that golf carts may only be operated between sunrise and sunset unless they are equipped with headlights, brake lights, turn signals and a windshield.
Violations will be issued by the PBSO, and penalties will be a warning for the first offense, a $50 fine for the second offense, and a $100 fine for the third offense and every violation thereafter.