Golf carts now legal for use on city streets

A recently passed city ordinance in Goliad makes it legal to have golf carts on city streets. Owners must comply with regulations, though, which include having a license plate, insurance and lighting on the carts. This does not apply to ATVs or similar vehicles. 

GOLIAD – The use of golf carts on city streets is now legal by city ordinance — as long as the licensed driver adheres to the state and local regulations.

This decision came June 24 after it was noted that more of the vehicles are being driven on the Goliad’s downtown streets and outlying areas of the county.

Sgt. Ruben San Miguel, with the Texas Department of Public Safety, noted that this number of the carts continues to increase and he is seeing more underage drivers behind the wheels of these electric carts.

“Now more than ever, a lot of people are home and not working,” the sergeant said. “It is cheaper to operate a golf cart to do something with.”

For him, this is a matter of safety and not writing tickets. This order makes the vehicles legal and outlines what is entailed by residents 

“I get crash reports from across the state of Texas everyday,” San Miguel said. “There has been an influx of off-road vehicles being operated on public roads where there are fatalities and major crashes.”

He adds that he frequently gets calls from people concerned about the vehicles and their use even by underage drivers.

“Last week I caught a 12-year-old operating a golf cart on a public road,” he said. “I took him home and made his parents come and get the golf cart.”

The ordinance also makes the illegal operation of a golf cart a fineable offense. 

Many of those in the city have been unaware of the state regulations concerning the use of the vehicles and that without this ordinance, the vehicles, in many cases, were illegal on the roadway. 

“I have not issued a citation for someone operating a golf cart on a public road,” the trooper said. “Whether people have done it and gotten away with it is beside the point.”

The new ordinance requires vehicles, among other requirements, to be equipped with:

• Operational head lamps

• Operational tail lamps;

• Reflectors

• Operational parking brake

• Rearview mirror(s)

• Is allowable according to existing state law

• Slow moving triangle sign

• Insurance and licence plate.

Mayor Trudia Preston said that their ordinance mirrors state law.

“DPS will start ticketing people that aren’t legal on the streets with their golf carts,” Preston said.

Worth noting is that this pertains only to city streets where the speed limit is 30 mph or lower.

“No golf carts would ever be allowed to operate on U.S. Highway 59 or U.S. Highway 183,” the sergeant said. “In going round town they are able to cross those highways, though.”

That cross of the highway is legal, but turning onto it, even for a block of travel, is not. 

Jason Collins is the editor at the Goliad Advance-Guard and can be reached at 361-343-5221, or at editor@mySouTex.com.

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