Saturday, March 16, 2013
County's proposed ordinance on Pine Island golf carts
Background: Last year the Pine Island community recommended to BoCC that they permit golf carts on roads and shared use paths on Pine Island (with some exceptions and restrictions). BikeWalkLee issued a policy statement on the issue last year. After legal review of the issue by the County Attorney's office and LeeDOT, a draft ordinance was made available this week which proposes allowing golf carts on a list of designated roads on Pine Island (excluding most of Pine Island Road and Stringfellow Rd.). Most importantly, the draft ordinance prohibits golf carts on bike/ped facilities, and states "No person may operate golf carts on any bicycle paths, shared-use paths, or sidewalks on Pine Island."
A date for a public hearing by the BoCC on the draft ordinance has not yet been scheduled, but we'll keep you posted. When the meeting is scheduled, the draft ordinance and a staff briefing paper with recommendations (bluesheet) will be posted online.
Here's the link to a story that was reported on NBC-2 News on March 14th:
Golf carts are a common sight on Pine Island; but driving them on county roads is illegal. Thursday, Lee County commissioners got their first look at an ordinance to change that.
Pine Island resident Butch Cleveringa says he loves driving his golf cart for a number of reasons.
"It's open air, it's saving gas, it's more like a recreational vehicle," he said.
But technically, he could be ticketed by law enforcement for taking his relaxing drives.
A draft of a new Lee County ordinance could change the rules - allowing golf carts on designated roads on Pine Island.
"There are golf carts permissible on a lot of islands out here, so I think it's a good deal for everybody," Cleveringa said.
Not everyone agrees.
"I'm not opposed to golf carts for anybody's use; but on busy streets and subdivisions where there's traffic and cars, it could pose a problem," said Pine Island resident Frank Galardi.
Drivers and passengers on golf carts would have to adhere to all rules of the road with one exception - a golf cart is defined as a vehicle that can't go faster than 20 miles per hour.
The speed limit in downtown St. James city is 35 mph.
"There's a place for golf carts, there's a place for bicyclists, there's a place for cars - that's the way I look at it," said Galardi.
No special paths would be built and golf carts would be banned from multi-use and bicycle lanes.
Drivers must also have a valid driver's license and the recreation vehicles wouldn't be allowed out at night.
But Galardi says that doesn't solve all the problems.
"You've got insurance problems. What if they hit you, you hit them - what do you do?" he asked.
Cleveringa says he agrees that all of those scenarios are possible.
"You can run into things, you can hurt somebody or something - we're very conscious of that and careful," he said.
The ordinance will go to a public hearing before commissioners take a final vote. No dates have been set.
If approved golf carts would only be allowed on certain roads on Pine Island and not in Matlacha.
Click here for a complete list of those designated roads.