July 11, 2019
Warrenton to study letting golf carts use some streets
Only licensed drivers may operate golf carts on designated public streets in Virginia.
While I realize that carts are not practical for every vehicle trip within the town, their availability as an option could be a positive move.
— Councilman Sean Polster
• Gives local government the option to allow golf carts only on designated public streets with speed limits of 25 mph or less.
• Allows them to cross streets with 35-mph speed limits only at traffic lights.
• Requires operators to have drivers’ licenses.
• Requires slow moving vehicle emblems.
• Allows operation only between sunrise and sunset unless golf cart has lights that meet specific requirements.
What do you think?
> Poll: Should the town allow golf carts to use some public streets?
Warrenton officials will evaluate a proposal that would allow golf carts to travel some town streets.
Councilman Sean Polster (At-large) this week formally proposed that Warrenton join other communities in Virginia that permit the small vehicles to share designated byways with cars, trucks and buses.
“This (idea) is actually something that bounced around town 10 years ago,” Mr. Polster told the council’s Public Safety and Transportation Committee on Tuesday. “What I’m here to ask today is the town to adopt an ordinance.”
State law gives local government the option of permitting golf carts and utility vehicles to use streets with speed limits of 25 mph or less. Only licensed drivers may operate them on public streets.
“One thing we’re trying to do in the town is to increase the modalities of transportation,” said Mr. Polster, adding that it would give Warrenton another distinctive attribute and encourage environmentally-friendly vehicles. (Batteries power most of them.)
“With the increasing acceptance of electric vehicles there is an opportunity for the Town of Warrenton to benefit from this trend with electric carts that utilize less energy, are less expensive and have a smaller footprint than a vehicle,” he wrote in a memo on the topic. “While I realize that carts are not practical for every vehicle trip within the town, their availability as an option could be a positive move.”
He said that Leesburg last year amended its code to allow golf cart shuttle businesses to operate on downtown streets, with brewery and restaurant patrons as the target market.
In 2011, Colonial Beach became one the first Virginia communities to permit golf carts on public streets. The City of Suffolk and other communities around the state allow them in designated areas.
Asking the committee to study his proposal, Mr. Polster noted that Peachtree, Ga., a city of 35,000, has 9,000 golf carts.
“I think it’s worth studying,” said Councilman Jerry Wood (Ward 1) a member of the committee.
Bob Kravetz (Ward 4) and Renard Carlos (At-large), the panel’s other members, agreed and asked the town staff to prepare a report by October.
Please, be polite. Avoid name-calling and profanity.
For credibility, sign your real name; stand behind your comments. Readers will give less credence to anonymous posts.
Jim Griffin · July 13, 2019 at 6:20 am
Cammie doesn't write the law, enact it, enforce it. She quotes the law -- which is reality -- to save others time, raised good questions that will confront police and others who study it.
Donkey changed the jail topic to abortion, now makes partisan a golf cart discussion. Nikki Haley put "owning libs" well: "this kind of speech isn’t leadership — it’s the exact opposite.”
DonkeyFarmer · July 12, 2019 at 11:39 pm
Cammie Rodgers and his/her ilk is the definition of bureaucratic red tape. Can you imagine if he/she was the zoning official you needed to go through to put a shed on your property? Nutty liberals. If they don't ban it, they make it mandatory
Cammie Rodgers · July 12, 2019 at 3:43 pm
If someone driving a golf cart is impaired, how will that be handled? Are these personal golf carts and will they be required to be inspected for safety issues? Who pays for the signage (per E. in the law below), the town or the county, that is may be required? Who pays if charging stations are put in place? Who will check if they are licensed drivers?
Cammie Rodgers · July 12, 2019 at 3:25 pm
Article 13.1. Golf Cart and Utility Vehicle Operation.
§ 46.2-916.1. Golf cart and utility vehicle operations on public highways not otherwise designated for such operation.
No person shall operate a golf cart or utility vehicle on or over any public highway in the Commonwealth except as provided in this article.
2004, c. 746.
§ 46.2-916.2. Designation of public highways for golf cart and utility vehicle operations.
A. No portion of the public highways may be designated for use by golf carts and utility vehicles unless the governing body of the county, city, or town in which that portion of the highway is located has reviewed and approved such highway usage.
B. The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance authorize the operation of golf carts and utility vehicles on designated public highways within its boundaries after (i) considering the speed, volume, and character of motor vehicle traffic using such highways and (ii) determining that golf cart and utility vehicle operation on particular highways is compatible with state and local transportation plans and consistent with the Commonwealth's Statewide Pedestrian Policy provided for in § 33.2-354.
C. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, no town that has not established its own police department, as defined in § 9.1-165, may authorize the operation of golf carts or utility vehicles. The provision of this subsection shall not apply to the Towns of Claremont, Clifton, Dendron, Irvington, Jarratt, Saxis, Urbanna, or Wachapreague.
D. No public highway shall be designated for use by golf carts and utility vehicles if such golf cart and utility vehicle operations will impede the safe and efficient flow of motor vehicle traffic.
E. The county, city, or town that has authorized the operation of golf carts or utility vehicles shall be responsible for the installation and continuing maintenance of any signs pertaining to the operation of golf carts or utility vehicles. Such county, city, or town may include in its ordinance for designating highways the ability to recover its costs of the signs and maintenance pertaining thereto from organizations, individuals, or entities requesting the designations. The cost of installation and continuing maintenance of any signs pertaining to the operation of golf carts or utility vehicles shall not be paid by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
F. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, employees of the Department of Conservation and Recreation may operate golf carts and utility vehicles on those portions of public highways located within Department of Conservation and Recreation property and on Virginia Department of Transportation-maintained highways that are adjacent to Department of Conservation and Recreation property, provided the golf cart or utility vehicle is being operated on highways with speed limits of no more than 35 miles per hour.
2004, c. 746; 2006, c. 728; 2008, c. 196; 2009, cc. 68, 504; 2011, c. 469; 2012, c. 9; 2013, c. 64; 2014, c. 69; 2017, c. 357; 2019, c. 104.
Cammie Rodgers · July 12, 2019 at 3:21 pm
§ 46.2-916.3. Limitations on golf cart and utility vehicle operations on designated public highways.
A. Golf cart and utility vehicle operations on designated public highways shall be in accordance with the following limitations:
1. A golf cart or utility vehicle may be operated only on designated public highways where the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or less. However, a golf cart or utility vehicle may cross a highway at an intersection controlled by a traffic light if the highway has a posted speed limit of no more than 35 miles per hour and in the Town of Colonial Beach may cross any highway at an intersection marked as a golf cart crossing by signs posted by the Virginia Department of Transportation;
2. In towns with a population of 2,000 or less, a golf cart or utility vehicle may cross a highway at an intersection conspicuously marked as a golf cart crossing by signs posted by the Virginia Department of Transportation if the highway has a posted speed limit of no more than 35 miles per hour and the crossing is required as the only means to provide golf cart access from one part of the town to another part of the town;
3. No person shall operate any golf cart or utility vehicle on any public highway unless he has in his possession a valid driver's license;
4. Every golf cart or utility vehicle, whenever operated on a public highway, shall display a slow-moving vehicle emblem in conformity with § 46.2-1081; and
5. Golf carts and utility vehicles shall be operated upon the public highways only between sunrise and sunset, unless equipped with such lights as are required in Article 3 (§ 46.2-1010 et seq.) of Chapter 10 for different classes of vehicles.
B. The limitations of subdivision A 1 shall not apply to golf carts and utility vehicles being operated as follows:
1. To cross a highway from one portion of a golf course to another portion thereof or to another adjacent golf course or to travel between a person's home and golf course if (i) the trip would not be longer than one-half mile in either direction and (ii) the speed limit on the road is no more than 35 miles per hour;
2. To the extent necessary for local government employees, operating only upon highways located within the locality, to fulfill a governmental purpose, provided the golf cart or utility vehicle is being operated on highways with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less;
3. As necessary by employees of public or private two-year or four-year institutions of higher education if operating on highways within the property limits of such institutions, provided the golf cart or utility vehicle is being operated on highways with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less;
4. On a secondary highway system component that has a posted speed limit of no more than 35 miles per hour and is within three miles of a motor speedway with a seating capacity of at least 25,000 but less than 90,000 on the same day as any race or race-related event conducted on that speedway;
5. To the extent necessary for employees of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, operating only on highways located within Department of Conservation and Recreation property or upon Virginia Department of Transportation-maintained highways that are adjacent to Department of Conservation and Recreation property, to fulfill a governmental purpose, provided that the golf cart or utility vehicle is being operated on highways with speed limits of no more than 35 miles per hour; and
6. To cross a one-lane or two-lane highway from one portion of a venue hosting an equine event to another portion thereof if (i) the crossing occurs on the same day as such equine event, (ii) a temporary traffic control zone is established at such crossing with speed limits of no more than 35 miles per hour, and (iii) the crossing and highway vehicular traffic are being monitored and controlled by a uniformed law-enforcement officer.
C. The governing body of any county, city, or town may by ordinance impose additional restrictions or limitations on operations of golf carts, utility vehicles, or both, on public highways within its boundaries, provided that the restrictions or limitations imposed by any such ordinance are no less stringent than the restrictions and limitations contained in this article. In the event that any provision of any such ordinance conflicts with any provision of this section other than subdivision B 5, the provision of the ordinance shall be controlling.
2004, c. 746; 2008, c. 456; 2009, cc. 743, 835; 2010, c. 112; 2011, cc. 68, 140, 469; 2018, c. 112.
DonkeyFarmer · July 12, 2019 at 12:16 am
Sounds like a good idea. As long as drivers are licensed and all other rules apply to moving vehicles, why not? In a 25mph zone golf carts are easier to manuver and park, take up less room, quieter, and electric models don't emit any exhaust. Will Side By Sides also be allowed? Like the Deere Gator or Polaris Ranger?
Freediddy · July 11, 2019 at 3:12 pm
I live in old town. Yes please to this-
Truepat · July 11, 2019 at 12:10 pm
With the issue of cars not working well with bicycles on the streets of Warrenton already resulting in a tragic loss of life, the narrow streets and lack of parking, this would be interesting to say the least.... I would guess they would be limited to electric units in lieu of the gas models which can go a lot faster, so would the Town provide charging stations?
Calypso · July 11, 2019 at 10:45 am
Big Mistake................look at Ocracoke Island in North Carolina..........a beautiful peaceful island get away. They introduced golf carts.........BIG CHANGE - atmosphere killed
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