GULF BREEZE, FL – An ordinance garnered a unanimous vote from the Gulf Breeze City Council that would allow utilizing golf carts on all the streets in town. It was passed on Wednesday, April 11th, for reconsideration of golf carts to be operational on all streets of Gulf Breeze.
At a council meeting set for May 7th, the first reading for the ordinance will take place followed by the second reading and public hearing on May 21. Council members, namely Renee Bookout, Tom Naile, and Cherry Fitch, gave their approval for opening the discussion of the golf cart issue that dated back to 2015. About 30 individuals in the meeting agreed to discuss the town’s progress with golf carts, however Mayor Matt Dannheisser and Councilman David Landfair were absent from the Wednesday meeting.
In May of 2017, Councilman Landfair requested to draft an ordinance for golf carts but it was delayed a month later. The City Council decided to set-aside the ordinance and wait for the construction of the Fairpoint-Shoreline multi-path project scheduled for 2020.
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Mayor Dannheisser on the other hand requested the council to review the rules and regulations set forth for golf carts. This is due to the death of a family’s cat that was struck by a golf cart on a sidewalk. Dannheisser wanted to implement a stronger enforcement for violation for golf cart drivers and to implement six recommendations for allowing golf carts on the street. The initiative was led by an organized citizen task force in October 2016.
One of the recommendations from 2016 included that golf cart drivers should have a valid driver’s license. Also, golf carts should be registered with the city and vehicles should be equipped with safety features required by state law. This equipment includes brake lights, headlights, turn signals, windshields, and reflective devices.
The law states that golf cart drivers must be at least 14 years old or older. However, Rick Hawthorne the Gulf Breeze Chief of Police said that the city council or any government entity can make changes to the age limit of the golf cart operator.
Click here to view Florida’s golf cart laws.
With the ordinance in process, different people shared their opinion regarding the golf cart usage. Carrie Kyzar, a Shoreline Drive resident, said, “They want to take all of the fun away. I don’t think all of the safety features are necessary. You’re going to have bad things happen. It’s fun and I don’t want that taken away.”
Wilson, a golf cart operator for his landscaping business agreed with Kyzar that headlights, turn signals, and brake signals can be unnecessary. He said that he favors the law that only a licensed driver can operate a golf cart and has a four person limit.