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(A) Purpose. The purpose of this section is to provide a means of travel that is convenient, conserves resources, and protects the environment. Golf carts, as defined in § 70.01, if properly used, may be an effective way to travel for short distances within the town. However, to help ensure the public safety and welfare, the operation of golf carts must not only comply with normal regulations regarding motor vehicles, but shall also comply with the provisions of this section. This section establishes the basic, minimum standards of care to be used by the users of golf carts on public roads, streets, and highways, and their respective shoulders. This section also prohibits the use of golf carts on sidewalks, multi-use pedestrian paths, and similar areas of the town.
(B) Disclaimer. Golf carts might not be designed or manufactured to be used on public streets, and the town neither advocates nor endorses the golf cart as a safe means of travel on public streets, roads, and highways. The town shall in no way be liable for accidents, injuries, or deaths involving or resulting from the operation of a golf cart.
(C) Assumption of risk. Any person who owns, operates, or rides on a golf cart on a public street, road, or highway within the town does so at his or her own risk and peril and assumes all liability resulting from the operation of the golf cart.
(D) Operation of golf carts.
(1) Permitted operation on public streets, roads, and highways.
(a) Operation on NC Highway 12 prohibited. The operation of golf carts on NC Highway 12 shall be prohibited; provided, however, a golf cart may cross NC Highway 12 at a right angle when driving from a street on one side of NC Highway 12 to a street that is directly opposite and on the other side of NC Highway 12.
(b) Operation on all other public streets permitted. Except as to NC Highway 12 as provided in division (D)(1)(a) of this section, the operation of golf carts on all public streets, roads, and highways within the town (specifically, streets, roads, and highways maintained by the state or by the town), where the posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less, shall be permitted; provided, however, it shall be prohibited to operate a golf cart in a manner that is inconsistent with applicable laws and the provisions of this chapter.
(c) No regulation of golf carts on private streets. The town does not have the statutory authority to regulate the operation of golf carts on streets and roads within the town which are private, specifically, those streets and roads which are not maintained by the state or by the town.
(2) Suggested equipment. It is recommended that any golf cart authorized by this section to operate on the public streets, roads, and highways of the town should have the following safety features installed:
(a) Two operating front headlights, visible from a distance of at least 250 feet;
(b) Two operating tail lights, with brake lights and turn signals, visible from a distance of at least 250 feet;
(c) A rear vision mirror;
(d) At least 1 reflector per side;
(e) A parking brake;
(f) Seat belts for all seating positions on the golf cart;
(g) A windshield; and
(h) No more than 3 rows of seats.
(3) Restrictions. The use of a golf cart is prohibited within the town unless the following requirements are met.
(a) The driver and passengers must be properly seated while the golf cart is in motion, and may not be transported in a negligent manner. The seating capacity, as determined by the number of seats, shall not be exceeded.
(b) No golf cart may be operated at a speed greater than reasonable and prudent for the existing conditions. No golf cart may be operated at a speed greater than 20 miles per hour.
(c) No golf cart may be operated in a careless or reckless manner.
(d) Golf carts must be operated in accordance with all applicable state and local traffic laws and ordinances, including all laws, regulations, and ordinances pertaining to the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
(e) Golf carts are subject to the same parking regulations as traditional motor vehicles, and may only be parked in the same manner and in the same places designated for the parking of traditional motor vehicles; provided however, 2 golf carts may be parked in a parking space that is designed for the parking of 1 traditional motor vehicle.
(f) Golf carts may only park in handicapped spaces if the driver has a valid handicapped placard or sticker and the same is clearly posted or displayed on the golf cart.
(g) Golf carts may not be used for the purpose of towing any person or object.
(h) The possession of open containers of alcohol and/or consumption of alcohol by the driver and/or passengers of a golf cart is prohibited.
(i) The operator of a golf cart shall yield the right-of-way to traditional motor vehicles.
(4) Prohibitions. No golf cart may be:
(a) Operated on the shoulder of any public street, road, or highway, or upon any sidewalk, multi-use pedestrian path, or other similar area of the town; or
(b) Operated within the town by any person who is less than 16 years of age.
(5) Disqualified vehicles. This section only permits the use of golf carts within the town. All-terrain vehicles, 4-wheel utility vehicles, go-karts, similar utility vehicles, and golf carts that are modified so that they no longer meet the definition of golf cart may not be operated on the public roads, streets, and highways of the town, unless such vehicles are otherwise registered and permitted under the motor vehicle laws of North Carolina. This division does not apply to the Town Police Department, Fire Department, Ocean Rescue or other town staff or town contractors using otherwise disqualified vehicles for official town business.
(6) Exceptions. The operation of golf carts is not subject to the provisions of this section under the following circumstances:
(a) The operation is at a golf course, private club, or on private property and with the consent of the owner/operator of the applicable real property; or
(b) The operation is in connection with a parade, a festival, or other special event provided the consent of the sponsor is obtained and provided such golf cart is only used during and in connection with such event; or
(c) The use of the golf cart is by the Duck Police Department while on official police business or by town staff, contractors, or volunteers while on official town business.
(1) Any person violating the motor vehicle laws of North Carolina, which shall also apply to golf carts operated within the town, shall be subject to the penalties prescribed in North Carolina law for said violation.
(2) Any person who knowingly allows an underage driver to operate a golf cart may be charged and subject to the penalties prescribed in North Carolina law for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
(3) Any person violating the provisions of this chapter or failing to comply with any of its requirements shall be required to pay a civil violation in the amount of $25.
(4) Any person violating the town's parking ordinances shall be subject to the penalties applicable to parking violations.
(5) Operating a golf cart while under the influence of an impairing substance (such as alcohol or drugs) on a public street or road is a violation of North Carolina law, and is punishable as provided therein.
(Ord. 18-03, passed 3-7-2018; Am. Ord. 18-04, passed 4-4-2018)