While Glynn County’s golf cart ordinance won’t go into effect until Oct. 18, residents of St. Simons Island and the unincorporated mainland can start preparing.
After Oct. 18, Glynn County Police Department officers will begin enforcing the new rules, which can be found at tinyurl.com/golfcartlawdetails.
Golf carts are separated into two categories by Georgia’s state law: a personal transportation vehicle, or PTV, has a top speed of 19 mph or less and can transport no more than eight people, while a low-speed vehicle, or LSV, has a top speed between 20 and 25 mph.
LSVs are regulated by the state, and the county’s ordinances will mirror the state’s when the law goes into effect. Georgia gives counties the authority to regulate PTVs on public streets.
LSV can drive on roads with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less as stipulated by state law, while PTVs will be restricted to streets with speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less.
If someone owns a golf cart and only uses it on their own property, the regulations don’t apply. County police will only enforce the rules on public roads and property.
LSVs are required to have a tag and title, according to state law.
“We have always done low-speed vehicles,” said Jeff Chapman, tax commissioner. “If it is electric, we can title and tag their cart.”
Before anything, a golf cart will need the necessary safety equipment: headlights, brake lights, seat belts and child safety restraints, among other things.
From there, the process is much the same as getting a title and license plate for a car, he said. The owner must show proof of purchase to begin the process. A driver’s license and proof of insurance will also be required.
Once the owner has a title and tag for the cart, he will have to get an amber strobe light, Chapman said. The state of Georgia distributes the lights, Chapman said, for which LSV owners must also get annual permits.
Transferring ownership of an LSV is also similar to doing so for a car, and it is subject to the title ad valorem tax.
Comparatively, getting the necessary certificate to drive a PTV is simple. To drive on a public street, the cart must have a decal from the county’s Community Development Department affixed to the windshield. Decals cost $15, are good for five years and are non-transferrable.
The department will begin selling decals on Oct. 1.
“There is a two-page information form we ask them to fill out — name, contact information, the serial number — and then we are attaching the ordinance so they can see what safety equipment is required and where they can drive, then they have to sign it,” said Community Development Director Pamela Thompson.
To get a decal, a PTV owner needs to know the make, model and the serial number of the cart, as well as proof of insurance and a driver’s license. All necessary safety equipment must also be installed before getting a decal.
Decals can be purchased on from the occupation tax office on the second floor of the Harold Park Building, 1725 Reynolds St. in Brunswick. The Tax Commissioner’s office is in the same building on the first floor.
Gas-powered golf carts aren’t regulated by the county, and Chapman said his office can’t tag or title them.