Golf cart drivers can venture a few miles farther from their homes because of a bill two years in the making that was recently was signed by Gov. Nikki Haley.
Drivers can take their golf carts four miles from a home or business on secondary roads, twice as far as previously allowed. The new law takes effect Oct. 1, according to The Associated Press.
Residents of gated communities also can drive their golf carts four miles outside of the gates -- a boost for residents of places such as Sun City Hilton Head, where some neighborhoods are miles away from the community's gates, said the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Bill Herbkersman of Bluffton.
"What with gas prices going the way they are, it only makes sense," Herbkersman said.
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However, it didn't make sense to all state legislators, one of whom -- Democratic senator Dick Elliott of Horry County -- held up the bill in the Senate until mid-May. Elliott said some of his constituents had questions about it, Herbkersman said.
Herbkersman credited Daufuskie Island residents with launching a vigorous call-in campaign that got Elliott to change his mind and helped the bill sail through the General Assembly to Haley's desk.
About nine out of 10 vehicles on Daufuskie are golf carts, the only means of motorized travel on the island for many residents, said Bill Greenwood, chairman of the Daufuskie Island Council. In some of the gated communities on the island, electric golf carts are the only vehicles allowed.
"It made us feel as if we had someone listening to us, and it was very special to see this organized effort," Greenwood said. "We're a diverse bunch, but everybody saw the same need. We all lowered our shoulders and pushed in the same direction."
Some other golf-cart rules won't change. They still will only be allowed on secondary roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less. They must be registered with the state. Registration costs $5 and requires proof of insurance.
They can only be driven during daylight hours, but that might change next year. Herbkersman said introduced local legislation on Thursday, along with other lawmakers, to allow for driving golf carts at night if they have proper lighting. However, Herbkersman's new measure didn't go through enough readings to pass on the last day of the session.