New golf cart law allows drivers to go farther from home
Chrystal White of Daniel Island uses a golf cart to take her kids to school, go to the grocery store and “just have fun.”
The new golf cart law
The golf cart law says, in part:
Golf carts are permitted through the Department of Motor Vehicles for $5.
During daylight, a permitted golf cart may be operated within four miles of the address on the registration certificate and only on a secondary highway or street where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.
During daylight, a permitted golf cart may be operated within four miles of a point of an entrance to a gated community and only on a secondary highway or street with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.
A permitted golf cart may cross a highway or street at an intersection where the highway has a posted speed limit of more than 35 mph.
A person operating a permitted golf cart must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license.
The law takes effect Oct. 1.
“It’s an easier way to get around,” she said. “Otherwise, we would spend so much money on gas.”
The good news is that White and others like her, who tool around neighborhoods or beach communities in golf carts, can now go a little bit farther from home.
Unfortunately, many people had no idea they had such a short leash anyway.
Most people know that golf cart drivers have to be 16 or older and that the vehicles cannot be driven on state roads or roads with a speed limit of more than 35 mph. They know they can’t be driven at night.
But few are aware that current state law restricts golf carts to two miles from home.
A new law signed by Gov. Nikki Haley on May 25 will double that distance to four miles when it goes into effect Oct. 1.
“I had no idea there was a limit,” said Belinda Schaffer, who uses her golf cart to get around Isle of Palms. She knows the law restricts her from driving on Palm Boulevard, which is a state highway, but she is allowed to cross the road. She gets where she needs to go.
“I can get down to the marina and the front beach,” she said. “I ride it to work. It’s really the only way to get around out here on the weekends.”
Ben Systra of Asheville, N.C., who is staying at Sullivan’s Island this week, said he didn’t know the current law either, but feels that the golf cart that came with his rental home made it possible for his family, which includes two toddlers, to get to the beach.
“We’ve got diaper bags, coolers, blankets, toys, a stroller,” he said. “The only other way to get the one block from our vacation house to the beach would be to drive our van, and we don’t want to do that.”
The law also allows people who live in gated communities to go four miles from the gate. That will help Bettye Sanders of Seabrook, who said she knew about the two-mile limit.
“I drive my golf cart all over the island, but never to Freshfields,” she said. “I still don’t know if I am brave enough to go that far, but one day I may be.”
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or www.facebook.com/brindge.