Town council to review golf cart rules

Community By Alexandra Herrera, Reporter Wednesday, January 18, 2023

     Sixteen residents have registered their golf carts with the town since a law went into effect last fall.

     But Councilwoman Marilyn Ruano said some golf cart operators are not abiding by the rules.

     “It’s been brought to my attention by several Miami Lakes residents that there is golf cart nuisance in the community,” Ruano said during the Jan. 10 council meeting. 

     Ruano asked for better enforcement of the town’s ordinance and said she has received multiple complaints about golf carts without permit decals; carts with multiple children riding in them and carts being driven on sidewalks, among other issues. 

     “I don’t know how many of those complaints make it to Town Hall or make it to the police department,” Ruano said. 

     Registration began in September 2022.  For a one-time $50 fee, golf cart owners who have driver’s licenses may register with the town, provide proof of insurance, submit a notarized affidavit and get a permit decal.

     Police will inspect carts.

     Safety gear that must be added are seatbelts for all riders; reliable steering; functioning brakes; rear stop/brake lights; safe tires; rearview mirrors; reflectors on the front and rear and turn signals.

     Street legal carts that have license plates must still register with the town,  said Town Manager Edward Pidermann.

     Miami-Dade Police Maj. Javier Ruiz said officers haven’t written any tickets for violations by golf cart owners while driving in traffic.

    “Most of my officers have reported seeing only a couple of golf carts on the road sporadically, none really after sundown or on sidewalks,” Ruiz said in an email to The Miami Laker. 

     During the meeting, Ruiz said the department hasn’t heard too many complaints and said most golf cart drivers are abiding by the law. 

     “We don’t necessarily turn around and go right after the golf cart unless it’s late at night,” Ruiz said. 

     Ruano wanted golf carts stopped for a check of the permit decals that are required by the ordinance.

     Ruiz said officers must be in the right position to see the decal, which is affixed to the back of the carts, and that they can’t pull someone over because they look young. 

     “I’m not saying that we’re never going to stop and pull over a golf cart,” Ruiz said. “If my guys see a golf cart and happen to be in a position where they see that there is not a registration sticker on it, then they’re in a position to perform a legal and allowable traffic stop.” 

      Ruano said the ordinance requires residents to have seat belts but it doesn’t require them to wear them. 

     “I hope you understand the community’s frustration,” Ruano said. 

     Residents may call the non-emergency line -- 305-476-5423 -- to report illegal golf cart use to police. 

     Councilman Tony Fernandez asked if it would be beneficial for the town to make the decal bigger or place it on the front as well, like a license plate, to make it more visible to police. 

     Drivers whose carts have headlights and windshields may drive at night.

     Ruano said she plans to bring back a revised ordinance during a future council meeting. 

     Permit No. One belongs to Lake Adele resident Manny Perez, who said while stopped near Main Street recently that to be safe, golf cart users must comply with the town law. 

     “They need to be registered, abide by the ordinance, not ride on sidewalks, or the north/south avenues,” Perez said. “I don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”

     Perez is a vice president and regional sales director for First Origin Mortgage Lenders. He even uses his cart to commute to closing meetings in Miami Lakes. 

     “I’ve been advocating for legal golf cart use in town because I wanted to be able to go around locally with the family, to my son’s school, without having to jump in the car,” Perez said.  

     Golf carts can be fun to drive. Perez’s ride comes with Bluetooth if he wants to listen to music.     

     “I pick up my take-out [while driving the golf cart],” he said. “For safety, I avoid rush hour traffic.”   

     And he usually has Charlie, his Aussiedoodle, riding alongside in the front seat for the open-air trips.

     To register a golf cart and for more information go to: