Golf cart safety, registrations, regulations and enforcement will be just some of the topics being brought up at the Village of Key Biscayne’s Golf Cart Workshop, now set for the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 2 in Council chambers.
The public workshop was previously scheduled for this Tuesday.
“We pushed it back because we wanted to wait for (new Police) Chief (Frank) Sousa to get here and get some fresh eyes on it, so he can provide some recommendations,” Village Manager Steve Williamson said.
The 6 p.m. workshop is intended for residents “to get a good grasp” of the rules and regulations. “We want it to be a safe means of transportation.”
With an estimated 1,000 golf carts — or, Low Speed Vehicles — on the island, Council members engaged in lively conversation during a meeting in May, discussing aggressive driving, stolen and vandalized carts, enforcement of laws such as mandatory registrations, underage driving, and whether to allow carts on busy Crandon Boulevard, as the city’s Code of Ordinances reads (with the exception of crossing the road or exiting one block from ingress).
Entrances to Grapetree or The Towers, and even a trip to the library might be exceptions to the Crandon ordinance when that subject is approached during the workshop.
As of June 1, when registrations began anew following post-COVID office shutdowns, Key Biscayne had 419 registered carts, actually lower than the 589 reported on file in May.
“Some people moved away, some were probably selling them, others stopped using them,” said Lt. Jason Younes, Key Biscayne’s Interim Police Chief. He said, personally, sometimes it “seems” like there are more than 1,000 carts on the island.
Registrations are currently $15 for an annual pass.
As far as enforcing golf cart rules in the hierarchy of police-related issues, Younes said, “It’s important to us. We have a lot of people (using them) ... more and more families, so we try to stay on top of it so it doesn’t overwhelm us. We want to do what we can to prevent that big accident from happening. ... Everything is important to us.”
Younes, who took over when Chief Charles Press retired in July, admits “it’s a challenge” to observe golf carts pulling onto Crandon Boulevard and then having to follow them to see where they exit.
“(But) we enforce everything, making sure people have a license, wearing their seat belts, trying to stay on top of registering the carts ...It’s more like an overall thing,” he said.
As to the spate of vandalism and stolen golf carts that occurred during the spring, Younes said, “We really haven’t had anything (like that). Every once in a while ...”
Resident Michele Estevez, during the Council meeting in May, suggested the police department send out a “Rules of the Road” type of list, with consequences for each violation, to every registered cart owner on the island. That is being done now -- as soon as residents register their carts.
Will any rules change on Nov. 2?
“Don’t know,” Williamson said. “We’ll just have to see what the Council members come up with.”
Knowing the rules
By Key Biscayne’s Code of Ordinances, a golf cart is any “motor vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes,” matching the state regulations.
Further, a Slow-Moving Vehicle is “any vehicle designed for use and speeds less than 25 miles per hour.”
The following rules currently apply to golf carts being used as passenger vehicles in the Village of Key Biscayne:
1. The golf cart must be registered with the Village, and have a valid permit affixed to it.
2. Anyone driving a golf cart must possess a valid operator's license and be at least 16.
3. Anyone driving a golf cart must comply with all applicable state laws regarding the requirements and usage of safety belts and child restraint equipment.
4. Golf carts are not allowed on the sidewalks, bike paths or beaches.
5. Golf carts are not allowed inside the Village Green or any other park within the Village, with the exception of authorized maintenance vehicles.
6. Any person who drives a golf cart must obey all local and state traffic laws, including parking regulations.
7. Golf carts are not allowed on Crandon Boulevard, with the exception of traveling from one intersection to the next immediate intersection.
8. Golf carts may not carry more passengers than the maximum number for which the golf cart was designed.
9. Golf carts must be equipped with headlights and windshield if operated between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
10. Golf cart owners must comply with applicable state laws pertaining to insurance requirements.