GALVESTON COUNTY – City leaders in Galveston are considering making changes to the city’s golf cart ordinance after four people were killed in a crash on Saturday.
The item was not on Thursday’s agenda, but the public had the opportunity to give input on the ordinance.
“We need to look at in this particular instance like is there anything that can be done to our golf cart ordinance that would possibly reduce accidents in the future,” Mayor Craig Brown said.
Attorney James Amaro is representing the families of the victims and spoke on their behalf at the meeting.
Between June 2021 and August 2022, Galveston police responded to 32 incidents involving golf carts. Nine of the incidents had injuries.
On Thursday, Mayor Craig Brown, city council members, and the city attorney spoke about making changes to the ordinance.
They suggested banning golf carts at night on public streets, banning golf carts entirely, and changing the speed limit and age requirements.
“I would not be opposed to banning golf carts at nighttime,” said council member Marie Robb.
“I think we need to take a look at the speed that we are allowing them. We are saying you are not a car, but allowing you are allowing the speed limit to be the same as a vehicle that would be on the Seawall,” said council member Sharon Lewis.
They also spoke about possible changes to fines, fees, and regulations.
“It’s going to take all of us coming together, not only the city, but the golf cart companies to work together to see what ideas we can come up with,” Mayor Craig Brown said.
“My biggest suggestion for them is to sit down with the rental companies,” Tiffany Gibson said.
Tiffany Gibson co-owns Beachin’ Rides and Rentals on the Seawall. Gibson says she’s been to several council meetings about setting standard procedures when it comes to safety.
“I cannot express enough the impotence of seat belts. One major issue we had last year was going to get seatbelts passed across the board and they threw it out, really at the last minute,” she said.
Mayor Craig Brown says the city council is also looking at other forms of transportation.
“We are a resort community and so because of that, we are getting quite the proliferation of e-bikes, Segways, scooters, and electric skateboards. A lot of different vehicles are modes of transportation on our streets and we don’t have laws and ordinances to govern those to protect the safety of those that are involved,” he said.
Galveston is a big tourist attraction that brings in millions of people each year. Officials want to make sure safety is at the top of the list.
“I think we need to think about the future when we start restricting who can be on the street and what kind of conveyance,” Council member David Collins said.
Mayor Craig Brown said they will continue to gather input about the ordinance and says it will be addressed at the next meeting on Aug. 25, but a possible vote won’t take place until September.