Surfside Beach town leaders will discuss stricter golf cart regu - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Surfside Beach town leaders will discuss stricter golf cart regulations

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- Surfside Beach Police says the town has seen a high influx of visitors and residents during the peak seasons that operate golf carts, and believes it is becoming a serious safety concern. 

Durning the next town council meeting town leaders plan to discuss enacting a town ordinance that mirrors state law, and officers would be able to strictly enforce the current law.

Surfside Beach resident, Bernie Wharton, says his golf cart is his only way around town. "The grocery stores are here, the banks are here, so we got rid of a car and just run around on a golf cart," explained.

Wharton says they added extra features to his golf cart because safety is a big concern. "We put the lights and turn signals on it because we want to be safe when we are out on the highway," said Wharton.

It is also one of the many reasons Surfside Beach is looking to adopt an ordinance that will make golf cart use safer in the town. The department says they have been receiving complaints about minors driving on golf carts and the use of golf carts at night. Wharton said that has been his concern as well. 

"What we’re seeing is a lot more rentals running around here, and that’s where we are seeing the kids on the rentals because the people coming into town as tourists don’t know what the rules are," explained Wharton.

But if the town passes the ordinance minors would not be allowed to operate a golf cart. Drivers would have to be 16 years of age, and have a valid driver's license, and have proof of liability insurance. 

Golf carts would also have to registered and licensed through the South Carolina DMV.

According to the proposal from Police Chief Rodney Keziah, golf carts would be prohibited from operating on the street during the night.

Some tourists agree, that rule should be in place, Jeremy Havlin, was visiting Surfside Beach with his family from North Carolina, he said this was his first time operating a golf cart.

"We thought about taking it out (at night), but seeing it didn’t have lights and no one could see us,  we decided not to, so we have only driven in the daytime," said Havlin.

Thomas Roach also visiting from North Carolina says he has been spent his vacation in Surfside Beach for the past 20 years, and seen a lot of change to the area. Roach says he can understand why the town wants to update the golf cart regulations. 

"The headlights might not be bright enough, the taillights might not be bright enough and then you got people running up and down the streets that have been drinking and not have their senses all together."

Another item on the agenda for discussion would allow people to park their carts at beach accesses for free when space is available, but it would not include meters or pay station parking lots, or when prohibited by signs. 

The town says they want to clarify where golf carts can park because there are has been some questions about free golf cart parking.

another proposal would allow people to park their carts at beach accesses for free when space is available, but it would go for meters or pay station lots.            

Surfside Beach town council meeting is this Monday starting at 6:30 at council chambers. Town leaders will discuss both proposals before making a final decision.  

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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