Grace period given for golf cart seatbelts

Grace period given for golf cart seatbelts
Golf carts like this one used by Holmes Beach public works employees must be retrofitted with seatbelts in order to be driven on city streets. - Kristin Swain | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – If you live in Holmes Beach and drive a regular golf cart around town, you now need seatbelts for yourself and every passenger.

Commissioners voted to approve a final reading of an ordinance requiring all golf carts to have seatbelts for drivers and passengers. The ordinance also requires that all children riding in the golf cart be strapped into a child restraint seat appropriate to their size, just like they are in a car.

To help residents understand the new requirements and implement the necessary changes to their golf carts, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer said that no tickets will be given to golf cart drivers whose vehicles are not equipped with seatbelts for a five-month period. The grace period is to allow owners time to get seatbelts installed and educate the public on just what the new ordinance means for them. The grace period began March 26.

Tokajer noted that residents can get a kit typically for less than $100 to install the seatbelts themselves or take the golf cart to a repair shop where they can be professionally installed.

The ordinance also clarifies language about where golf carts can be driven in the city. Golf carts are only allowed on streets with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour or lower. The regulations for low speed vehicles – those that are registered with the state, have a license plate and insurance – remain unchanged. Low speed vehicles can be driven through the city on streets with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or lower. A driver’s license is required to operate all golf carts and low speed vehicles in Holmes Beach.

For the purposes of the ordinance, a golf cart is considered a golf cart only if it does not have a license plate and insurance. If a golf cart is registered, it’s considered a low speed vehicle. Holmes Beach is the only Island city that allows unregistered golf carts to be driven on the road.

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