Golf Cart Regulations Coming to Clearwater Beach
Low speed, golf cart-type vehicles, pedi-cabs and other slower, for hire vehicles face city regulations which include requiring owners to register with the city for $75.
Pedi-cabs. Surrey bicycles. Segways. Golf carts?
So many low speed vehicles fill the streets of Clearwater Beach.
“It’s almost where do you start?” said vice mayor Paul Gibson during a discussion on the topic of regulating the vehicles two week ago. “I’m concerned about these vehicles on the street.”
It took months for city attorneys to draft the 13 page ordinance that city leaders are poised to discuss Monday and expected to approve Thursday at their City Council meeting.
The regulations would require business owners to register with the city, carry a minimum of $500,000 insurance, and show a mechanic's certification that their vehicles are in safe condition.
Aside from costs to meet those requirements, business owners also will be looking at paying a $75 application fee and $50 permit fee for each driver of the for hire vehicles.
Here is a run down on some of the regulations:
- Surrey bicycles can only be rented to drivers aged 16 or older unless accompanied by an adult. The vehicle can only have a single gear, with cable-lever drum brakes.
- Pedicabs are regulated similarly to bicycles. They have to have a headlight, pair of battery powered taillights and reflectors. The rules also would restrict the vehicles from navigating the roundabout but would allow them on the sidewalks near it in order to get from north to south beach.
- Low speed, golf cart-type vehicles must have seatbelts and head stop and tail lamps. They would be restricted to roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less, essentially everywhere on the beach aside from getting to Island Estates, where the speed limit along Memorial Causeway is 45 mph. Drivers also can not solicit business at bus or Jolley Trolley stops.
Cretekos said that restricting the use of pedi-cabs could have other consequences for bike riders at the roundabout and other intersections throughout the city that use a roundabout.
“I think we need to be careful how we go about doing this in what you want to restrict,” Mayor George N. Cretekos said.
All drivers and vehicles must be listed in the application. The city also is requiring an application fee of $75 for the safety certificate which has to be renewed Sept. 30 each year. The renewal fee is $50. Driver’s also have to register with the city, for a cost of $50.
Jason Gibertoni, who initially had concerns the regulations were aimed at his business Florida Free Rides, sees the regulations as something that could help his transportation service.
Gibertoni, 25, is one of the owners of the company that offers beach goers a lift anywhere on Clearwater Beach and Sand Key on low emission vehicles that are mistaken as golf carts. The service also offers rides to Island Estates in a regular size van. Customers give tips, not fares, he said. The service is offered from 9 to 3 a.m.
He has completed the city’s Citizens Academy, is a member of the Beach Chamber of Commerce and has followed every regulation and permit that he has had to get since he started the business last year.
So, the regulations could help to discourage other outfits who do not meet the safety requirements, Gibertoni said. Still, he's not happy about it.
“It’s going to cost me money I’d rather have in my pocket,” Gibertoni said.
If you go:
What: City council votes on regulating low speed for hire vehicles
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: City Hall, 112 S Osceola Ave.