People traveled from shoreline communities to testify in person, and about 40 people sent or e-mailed testimony in strong support of using golf carts in beach communities.
With limited parking at beaches and marinas, residents said golf carts are a sensible way to get around, while saving fuel and providing mobility to people who may be unable to walk any distance.
Others pointed out safety aspects. Even people who do not use golf carts supported the concept of allowing them, because it reduces automobile traffic and makes streets safer for walkers and children.
The chairman of the committee, Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D-6th District, New Britain, complimented Rep. Giuliano on the number of people testifying and amount of detailed information. He said, “Rarely do we get a bill this early in the session that is so thoroughly researched.”
Rep. Giuliano testified:
“This legislation was drafted in cooperation with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation and the State Traffic Commission to permit the limited use of golf carts as had previously been permitted. The parameters that these state agencies collectively support would allow for licensed drivers to operate golf carts with working horns on town roads whose speed limits do not exceed 25 mph. Golf carts would not be eligible to be issued registration as a motor vehicle.”
“This bill is necessary so that towns can choose to create local ordinances regulating golf cart use that are consistent with state law. In beach associations where roads are narrow, on-street parking is prohibited, and beach parking is limited, golf carts are a useful and efficient means of transportation. In persons for whom age, infirmity or disability interfere with simple pleasures such as a day at the beach, golf carts offer access and recreational opportunities that otherwise would not be available to them.”
For decades, she said, local ordinances had been in place in several Shoreline towns allowing limited golf cart use on local streets, but they were forced to be rescinded based on a strict reading of state law that does not specifically authorize such use.
Rep. Giuliano’s proposed bill, HB 5639, is as follows:
AN ACT TO ALLOW THE USE OF GOLF CARTS ON LOCAL ROADS.
The traffic authority of any city, town or borough is authorized to permit the operation, during daylight hours only, of any vehicle not eligible to be issued registration as a motor vehicle, in accordance with the provisions of section 14-12 of the general statutes, on any street or highway within the limits of, and under the jurisdiction of such traffic authority, provided: (1) Each such vehicle shall be equipped with an operable horn, in accordance with the provisions of section 14-80 of the general statutes, and (2) no such permission shall be granted for operation on any street or highway the posted speed limit of which is more than 20 miles per hour. Any person who operates a vehicle in violation of the conditions stated herein, or any other conditions or limitations established by the traffic authority for the operation of any vehicle not eligible for registration as a motor vehicle, shall have committed an infraction.
The committee heard testimony on a number of related proposed bills to allow low-speed, electric, neighborhood or alternative types of vehicles on local streets.
- Proposed S.B. No. 659 AN ACT CONCERNING REQUIREMENTS TO OPERATE CYCLES WITH ENGINES BELOW 50 C.C.
- Proposed S.B. No. 683 AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE OPERATION OF REGISTERED GOLF CARTS ON PUBLIC ROADS.
- Proposed S.B. No. 686 AN ACT CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NEW LICENSING AND TESTING PROCEDURE FOR THE OPERATION OF MOTORIZED THREE-WHEELED VEHICLES.
- Proposed S.B. No. 699 AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGISTRATION AND OPERATION OF CERTAIN LOW SPEED NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES.
- Proposed S.B. No. 739 AN ACT FACILITATING THE DRIVING OF LOW POWERED ELECTRICAL VEHICLES.
- Proposed H.B. No. 5639 AN ACT TO ALLOW THE USE OF GOLF CARTS ON LOCAL ROADS.
- Proposed H.B. No. 5655 AN ACT TO ALLOW THE USE OF THREE-WHEELED TRUCKS ON CONNECTICUT ROADS AND HIGHWAYS.
- Proposed H.B. No. 5662 AN ACT CONCERNING THE REGISTRATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES OF “NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES”.