Do you support a golf cart ordinance for parts of Ocala?
During a July 24 workshop, Ocala City Council members debated the pros and cons of a proposed golf cart ordinance that would take effect in a small portion of Ocala. Council members heard from city staff and members of the public on the proposed ordinance and how the city could potentially benefit from its implementation.
The ordinance would likely incorporate a number of provisions, including a minimum age of 14 years old to operate a golf cart, limited hours of operation unless equipped with headlights, and a prohibition against golf carts on sidewalks, to name a few.
Unlike in The Villages, where the community is thoroughly connected through golf cart paths, the Ocala ordinance would only apply to a small section of the city, largely contained by the historic district. In The Villages, golf carts are free to roam over multiple square miles, between town squares, and between communities at all times during the day and night. Multi-modal paths and golf cart bridges connect the most northern portions of The Villages with the newer counterparts in the south.
Although Florida law prohibits the use of golf carts on all public roads or streets, Florida Statute 316.212 provides for exceptions to allow local municipal governments to designate certain streets and roads as golf cart friendly.
According to the statute, a “local government must first determine that golf carts may safely travel on or cross a public road or street” by considering the speed, volume, and congestion.
Proponents suggest that dozens of golf carts are currently operating within the historic district and that an ordinance would benefit the city in multiple ways by
- Encouraging travel to downtown
- Limiting traffic within certain boundaries
- Alleviating parking congestion created by larger vehicles
The ordinance would encompass an area east of S Pine Avenue (US 441), west of SE 25th Avenue, south of SR 40, and north of SR 464, and would exclude major thoroughfares and roadways.
In recent years, golf cart ordinances have sprouted up all across the nation, including multiple cities in the Sunshine State.
In Crystal River, Ocoee, and Winter Garden, golf carts are allowed to operate from sunrise to sunset and vice versa, but are restricted to roadways with posted speed limits of 25 mph or less. Additionally, golf carts may only operate at night if equipped with headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and a windshield. In Alachua County, golf carts are permitted on streets with a posted speed limit of 35 mph.
Members of the Ocala Golf Cart Club, a Facebook group that supports the ordinance, have also lent their support to the ordinance. The group gathers regularly for holidays and special events and numbers in the dozens.
Do you support a golf cart ordinance for certain portions of Ocala? Share your thoughts with us in a comment below, in a letter to the editor, or through social media on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.
Or email your respective city council member:
District 2 – Mary Sue Rich – firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3 – Jay Musleh – email@example.com