By: Mitch Jaugstetter
Golf carts. They’re increasingly a part of our daily life in South Walton. From vacationing tourists to second homeowners to long-time locals, more and more people turn to these convenient and environmentally-friendly modes of transport for short excursions.
And while electric vehicles are much better for the environment, they can also pose a safety hazard when blended into traffic along with SUVs and higher speed automobiles.
So comes confusion and questions about exactly where golf carts can be driven, what the laws and rules are and how to operate them safely. We’ve heard your questions and we wanted answers too, so we went straight to the source: Our Walton County Sheriff’s Office. Lt. Scott Hogeboom was happy to give us the scoop.
Where can golf carts be driven?
Golf carts can be driven on any county-maintained road as long as the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less.
“Golf carts would impede on traffic if they drove on higher speed roads,” said Hogeboom. “The cart would not be able to keep up and any higher speed would be unsafe.”
Who can drive a golf cart?
The driver must be 16 years old or older and licensed, just like any car.
Are the rules different in each South Walton community?
This point could be the source of some confusion for people. Some communities, like Blue Mountain Beach or Inlet Beach, have county-maintained roads, and must follow county and state laws. But private resort communities like Seaside, Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach and Sandestin, for example, have private roads, which are not maintained by the county, and therefore have there own set of regulations.
“These communities decide their own rules, since they are private,” said Hogeboom. “but when people drive from the communities out on to the county roads, they must go by the Florida statutes and county ordinances.”
How do you know if you’re on a private road or a public street? There’s a simple trick to knowing for sure:
Any road with a GREEN street sign is a county maintained road, while any road with a BLUE street sign is privately maintained.
Are golf carts allowed on bike paths?
No, golf carts are NOT allowed on any of the multi-use paths in South Walton. NOTE: True golf carts are not street legal, although they can be converted into recognized “low speed vehicles” with the addition of the noted equipment and a tag.
What must a golf cart have to be legal on county or state roads?
The golf cart must be equipped with headlights, taillights, turn signals, a rearview mirror, a windshield, reflectors, parking brakes, a seat belt and a registered tag.
For more info about golf carts and their use, you can review Florida Statute 316.2122 and Florida Statute 320.01, or contact Walton County Sheriff’s Office.
For street-legal golf cart rentals, click here.
Mitch Jaugstetter is a Summer Intern at The 30A Company