Could golf carts become street legal in unincorporated Orange County?

If commissioners create an ordinance for it, golf carts would be legal in all parts of unincorporated Orange County.

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Some residents in Orange County's Horizon West development said they would like to drive golf carts on streets.

Homeowners said they often drive them on paths shared by bicyclists and joggers to pick up their children from school or to travel to nearby restaurants and movie theaters.

Orange County Commissioner Betsy Vanderley, whose district includes Horizon West, said an ordinance legalizing the driving of golf carts on roads would apply to all of unincorporated Orange County.

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"There's a lot of communities that have real successful programs to allow golf carts on certain roads," she said. "I, for one, prefer to ride my bicycle on the West Orange Trail into Winter Garden in the evening for dinner instead of getting into my car, because it's only two miles away."

Vanderley said she has safety concerns, because the speed limit on many county roads is at least 45 mph and many golf carts cannot be driven faster than 20 mph. %

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Golf carts are street legal in the city of Winter Garden and in The Villages development.

Vanderley said she has asked her staff to consult law enforcement in researching how to keep all people safe on the road.

"My hope is that, No. 1, we'll show you what the safe operation looks like and where you can safely operate those devices," she said. "But also, to give law enforcement (officers) the tools they need to make sure they enforce that safe behavior."

The Orange County Board of County Commissioners has agreed to discuss the issue in early spring.