Heed rules on operating golf carts

Golf carts are an increasingly common way to get around.

But slow-moving golf carts sharing the road with bigger, faster vehicles can be a recipe for trouble. And it's even more true if the driver is inexperienced or the passengers are lax about their own safety.

Golf cart owners should heed law enforcement officials on safe operations, and they should know the law. First and foremost is that only licensed drivers should be operating golf carts on the road. How many times have you seen kids cruising their neighborhoods in the family golf cart?

Other important rules:

  • Golf carts can only be used on secondary roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less.
  • They can only be operated during daylight hours.
  • The golf carts should be registered with the state. Registration, which costs $5, includes proof of insurance.
  • Drivers should carry their driver's license with them.
  • Golf carts can only be driven within two miles of your home or business.
  • That last requirement is the subject of a bill sponsored by state Rep. Bill Herbkersman of Bluffton. Herbkersman has been trying for two years to get the limit expanded to four miles. Some neighborhoods in Sun City Hilton Head are farther from the community gate than two miles. Residents traveling to stores and restaurants just outside the gate could be violating the law, but are not putting themselves at any more risk than those who have less distance to travel within the community. The bill also is aimed at helping Daufuskie Island residents, many of whom use golf carts as their only means of travel on the island with no bridge.

    The bill has passed the House, but has been stuck in the Senate since last year. Lawmakers ought to move it along. Increasing the distance the golf carts can be operated shouldn't be a problem as long as other rules governing their use are followed.