GALVESTON

Hundreds of islanders are petitioning against curfews and other restrictions on golf carts drivers that the city council plans to discuss today, calling any rule changes misdirected.

José Mendiola: 409-683-5230 or jose.mendiola@galvnews.com

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(15) comments

Matt Havard

I would settle for proper enforcement of existing state law and city ordinance. I am not an attorney, but state law seems pretty clear--golf carts cannot be operated on roads with speed limits of 35mph or higher except during daylight hours. That seems to cover Seawall Boulevard. By existing city ordinance, golf carts are not allowed on Avenue O between 53rd and 15th Streets or Avenue P between 19th and 53rd Streets, and a number of other streets, including Broadway, Harborside and Ferry Road. State code: https://tinyurl.com/mrxjuaha City ordinance: https://tinyurl.com/2ckukc2b

Bill Cochrane

There are many pieces to the Galveston "Golf" cart fiasco. First, it is true that many people do not like golf carts on city streets. Period. Why? Probably because there are so many. Think about it. If there were the occasional 5 to 10 golf carts on the streets, would anyone really care? But now that the City has allowed so many rentals because they want the permit revenue it's become a nightmare. The City should place a moratorium on rental company permits, and buy back as many permits as they can until it is manageable. I think that Galveston residents should be able to own golf carts and be able to drive them under the present regulations with one regulation added. They should be registered with the State just like cars and motorcycles. They use the streets and should have a license plate, and the same safety equipment as cars, seat belt warning lights, and alarms as well.

Billie Rae Gillas

Golf carts are licensed, regular license plate and inspections required in addition to a city permit.

Lisa Tucker

Bill. For your information, the carts you see on the streets are more than likely a private one as rentals make up only 550 of the 1800 of registered golf carts in Galveston. Also, golf carts are required to be registered with the city, inspected by a licensed facility and to be registered and obtain a state license plate. In addition, the city's golf cart ordinance requires safety equipment including seatbelts, car seats for kids under 7, horn, front and rear lights, SMV sign, turn signals, as well as the display of the pink registration sticker and state issued license plate. They are treated just like an automobile. In addition, the city ordinance forbids golf carts on certain streets. Now keep in mind if you live in one of the master planned communities on the West End then those carts have much more lax restrictions. They don't have to wear a seatbelt or do they need to obtain a license plate. So I am inferring you are specifically speaking about the West End vs the East End. Maybe take the glaringly difference in the way golfcarts are treated under the ordinance with your local Council representative?

Ron Shelby

"Lisa Tucker, a golf cart owner and a member of the society, argues restrictions on golf carts are unfair to those who abide by the rules." Hmmmmm. Then I guess that restrictions on automobiles are unfair to those who abide by the "rules". That argument makes very little sense.

Paula Flinn

I have seen golf carts on Broadway on late Saturday afternoons. I have seen golf carts on Avenue O heading toward 53rd Street several times. One time two precious little girls (about 5 or 6 years old) were facing me, dangling their legs from the back of the golf cart. So, you can impose more regulations, but people will not follow them if they are not in their plan. The problem with golf carts is that they go so slowly, way below the speed limit, and they offer no protection from other vehicles. In short, they are unsafe on city streets, especially during busy, heavy tourist weekends. I slow down totally when one is in front of me, the same as I do when there is a person on a bike or scooter ahead of me on the road.

Noel Spencer

Paula, are you suggesting we do not allow bikes or scooters also ?

George Croix

Not speaking for PF, just myself, but bikes and cycles have been on the streets for a century and more. God, bad, or indifferent, they are long established conveyances, accepted, or tolerated, and at least are more maneuverable and less 'in the way' than a golf cart is...they are there because they have always been since streets were dirt...

I have nothing against golf carts...am getting an electric UTV myself in the future for the quiet factor...but they are not being picked on, as many like me own SxS UTV's, two to 4 to even 6 passenger capable, many easily if not already equipped same as street legal, that are way more speedy and stronger built yet are also not normally allowed on streets, as they amount to yet another normal traffic impediment that has come relatively recent to the scene compared to cars, truck, and bikes.

I. personally, think this falls under Grandma's quip "just because everybody else jumps off the roof is no reason for you to"....

But, that's just me....

Flip side, the golf carts ARE electric vehicles, and if the far left greens get their way, they'll be a MAIN conveyance in a decade or so along with their 60 grand plus electric cousins, and my 4x4 F150 will be an outcast....as will all that traffic on Broadway that does not have to hunt for a plug to keep moving....

George Croix

[thumbup]

Yes

Lena Gilley

I wish they would just band them on city streets! They are everywhere, rules and no rules! People don't see golf carts. That does not include a drunk driver.

Lena Gilley

Ban! Not Band

Roy Hughes

Written by Lynne Springer

I would like tp add that I have seen 3 golf carts in the last 2 days that had baby seats on the second seat and they are rear facing which is the correct position for cars. However, placing a baby seat on the end with direct exposure to whatever may hit it needs to be changed. Even automobiles suggest placing baby seats in the middle of the seat if at all possible. I realize that there may not be belts there. If Mayor Brown wants to go for safety then, that must be addressed. When Mayor Brown decides to address this issue he needs to think about making a video to run/play in all hotel/motel rooms on the island which discusses the laws of and safety of riding / driving a golf cart. In adfition it needs to be made available to all str on either a vdeo or the city channel or another way so that the majority of the people who visit can be reached with Galveston’s safety plan. Leaving this up to the renter would be negligence when the city has the ability to reach more people.. Those that rent the carts should go over the safety Facts and only allow livensed drivers to drive the carts. Those that remt do not have 30 minutes of time to sit the people down and make them watch a video.. ( Mayor Brown might need to put a tidbit about littering and address the fines if caught littering anywhere on Galveston island.)

If Galveston does not have enough staff( police) it is time to appeal to the state for assistance

from DPS during the summer weekdays and weekends. Lame excuses of not having money just do not work. If that is the case then, money is not being set aside for the safety of those who visit. ( In a nutshell that means you do not care.If you want tourists down here you need to protect them or close the causeway and do not let them in.)

I onow this may sound ridiculous but, the city is not being proactive about the issues that facing it.

I must say that I was appslled by a statement in one if the last articles that addressed drivers who were drunk. It read something like this: The task force was inspired by the recent accidents that involved drunk drivers….. I cannot imagine any task force, police force, city, etc. being “ inspired” by drunk drivers. Maybe a new police force migjht say that or a police force whose state had a new law that stated drunk drivers are no longer permitted to drive vehicles. I cannot imagine that the word inspire would be used in such an article. Perhaps, the author should have made a better word choice.

Lisa Tucker

Let me say that there is already a golf cart safety video from GPD on youtube. Video needs to be updated to include my idea of increasing the seatbelt/no kid car seat fine from $200 to $500. Video should also highlight the deadly crash from Aug 6th where a drunk speeding driver killed some in a golf cart. Stress how important seat belts and kid car seats are using video of the aftermath. Now as you mentioned DWIs, let me share this with you. I obtained DWI arrest data from GPD that shows that in comparing Jan-Aug 2021 to Jan-Aug 2022, DWI arrests were DOWN a whopping 38% in 2022. In comparing the month of July 2021 vs 2022 DWI arrests were down even more, 59%. Every month in 2022 was down over 2021 except for Feb. I'd question that as there was no Mardi Gras event in 2021 and yet the DWI arrests were the same for both years. Our elected leaders need to explain this dive in DWI arrests to the community. I have been trying to get the word out as the data came directly from GPD via a Public Info RQ. Not to get anyone in trouble as I 100% back our law enforcement but to ensure that this kind of discrepancy never happens again. We have time to fix this before the next high tourist season! Afterall, GPD just proved with this latest DWI task force that they can get it done when they are given the resources and the directive from the higher ups.

Lisa Tucker

Paula. Exactly why there should be "no golf carts" signs on Broadway just as there are past 61st on the Seawall. Should put on O and P too. Don't understand why the city only put the signs on the Seawall when the ordinance is clear that many streets are off limits. So why didn't they "sign" them all? Did you know that if those girls were under 7 they should have been in a proper car seat and the driver could have faced a fine of 200? Already in the ordinance. I am proposing a fine of $500 for no seatbelts or no car seat. Will you support that? Make the fine hurt financially and use the fine money to hire more Marshals for enforcement. As far as the speed of a golf cart. They are only allowed on streets with 35mph or less. Yeah the Seawall is 35mph in golf cart territory. It may seem that a cart is going slow but that is usually because other vehicles are going well over 35mph. Most carts max out at 20 to 25mph anyway. When it is packed on the Seawall during busy, heavy tourist weekends, don't see how golf carts are slowing anyone down. Everyone is packed in like sardines anyway!

Lisa Tucker

Ron. My comment was in response to the new modifications to the ordinance council was/is considering and how these modifications relate to the data of golf cart incidents. Over a 13 month period there were a total of just 29 incidents involving golf carts. There are about 1800 registered golf carts in Galveston. If you consider that a single cart will make multiple trips during that same 13 month period then there were most likely about 300,000 trips taken during that same time period. This assumes that private carts (1300) take about 10 trips every month and rentals about the same. So the chances of a cart being in an incident is less than 1 %. So yes, implementing changes would unfairly punish those of us 99% who follow the current ordinance because a tiny fraction of golf cart drivers who don't. Mind you these incidents run the gamut of a "tap" to another vehicle (no damage/injuries) to the two incidents that resulted in death. The first death (June 2021)was on the West End where the teenager who was ejected was not in a seatbelt and yet the West End still pretty much doesn't require seatbelts for golf carts like we do on the East End. The second fatal golf cart incident (August 2022) was the fault of a drunk speeding driver on a residential road off the Seawall. Who knows if all involved were wearing seatbelts. I have proposed to Council that if they change the ordinance at all, it should be to increase the fine from $200 to $500 for not wearing a seatbelt or not having a child younger than 7 in a proper car seat while riding in a golf cart. Make the fine financially hurt and could help fund the hiring of more Marshals for enforcement! No this is a restriction that makes sense and only punish those who break the rules. So far Council hasn't seemed warm to the idea, but I am hopeful. Afterall, the Mayor has stated that the ordinance is all about safety and increasing the seatbelt fine sure supports that notion.

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