golfcart rules

A golf cart rides through the St. Simons village Tuesday.

The Georgia Senate passed a bill Wednesday that corrects an issue with golf cart classification and removes the last obstacle to a county ordinance regulating the vehicles on public roads.

The ordinance will go into effect on July 13.

Glynn County commissioners passed two moratoriums on the ordinance since it was originally imposed in July 2019, pushing enforcement back from October to July 13.

Golf carts on public roads, unregulated as they currently are, pose “a public safety issue, pure and simple,” Glynn County Commissioner Peter Murphy, the ordinance’s primary supporter, told the other six members of the commission at a recent meeting.

At last week’s commission meeting, Murphy said much of the ordinance is simply a copy-and-paste of state law, which regulates golf carts with top speeds of 20-25 mph, referred to as low-speed vehicles or LSVs. The county ordinance would impose restrictions on which roads golf carts with top speeds of 19 mph or less, called personal transportation vehicles or PTVs, can drive.

LSVs 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.

Before either can be driven on a public road, the owner has to get the necessary certifications, insurance and safety equipment.

A golf cart will need headlights, brake lights, seat belts and child safety restraints, among other things, and the owner will need proof of insurance and a valid driver’s license.

The Glynn County Tax Commissioner’s office issues tags for LSVs.

The county Community Development Department charges $15 for PTV certification.

County police won’t immediately begin issuing tickets for noncompliance.

“Initially we’ll try to educate people by giving a warning and phase it in,” said Jay Wiggins, interim chief of the Glynn County Police Department. “We can educate just as well with a written warning as with a citation.”

The regulations only apply to public streets. Certification and tags are not necessary to drive golf carts on private property.

Commissioners voted to push the ordinance’s effective date back twice, largely to give state legislators time to address what some commissioners saw as a flaw in state law that prevented owners of PTVs modified to go faster than 19 mph from being classified as an LSV.

Modified PTVs failed to fit into either category and were unable to get either a tag from the tax office or a sticker from the county.

A bill sponsored by state Rep. Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island, passed the Senate on Wednesday and will head to the governor’s desk for final approval, resolving the issue.

For the full text of the ordinance and informational material produced by the Glynn County Police Department, visit tinyurl.com/golfcartlawdetails.

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