Golf cart violation increase, Isle of Palms Police stress island roadway laws

Summer is just around the corner and the Isle of Palms Police Department is cracking down on golf cart safety.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 2:57 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2023 at 11:02 PM EDT
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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - Summer is just around the corner and the Isle of Palms Police Department is cracking down on golf cart safety.

So far this year there have been 31 incidents involving golf carts, almost double compared to this time last year, which was 16, according to the department.

These incidents can include traffic stops or charges where a golf cart was involved, such as a DUI.

“A lot of people think a golf cart is just a fun, recreational vehicle and certain laws don’t apply when you’re operating them, and that’s not the case,” Sgt. Matt Storen with the Isle of Palms Police Department said.

The organization states that by definition of law, golf carts are made to be used on golf courses while low-speed vehicles are built specifically to be used on streets. The maximum speed on golf carts is 20 mph, the site states, but low-speed vehicles “tend to be a little bit faster” and have a higher weight limit.

The department says they continue to see both golf carts and low-speed vehicles on the Isle of Palms Connector, something that is prohibited and extremely dangerous, putting bicyclists and pedestrians at risk, as well as creating a traffic hazard due to not reaching the speed limit on the connector.

While low-speed vehicles are allowed on Palm Boulevard, a state highway, golf carts are not, and police are stressing the importance of knowing where you can and cannot be if you are operating one of these small, motorized vehicles.

“Golf carts on the Isle of Palms can operate on our boulevards such as Ocean Boulevard, Carolina, Charleston Boulevard, as well as Waterway, and any of the avenues,” Storen said.

Owner of Port City Mopeds and Golf Carts Jordan Chaplin says they make it very clear to renters where they can and cannot drive golf carts.

“We have a map that we give to every customer that comes through the shop and it shows them the designated routes that they can take,” he said. “Mainly back roads, we don’t want anyone riding down the main streets which we have labeled on all the carts as well.”

Chaplin explained that they also make renters aware of IOP golf cart rules.

“They’re not allowed to drive at night so that also helps with safety because people are in before dark, and we just tell them to be mindful of the road and everyone else that’s around,” he said.

The police department also wants to remind people that South Carolina open container laws and DUI laws apply when operating a golf cart or a low-speed vehicle.