OKEECHOBEE — Operation Ride-Ride started on August 1, 2022, due to the numerous calls of concern, from all over the county about golf carts, side-by-sides, and other ATVs operating on roadways for motor vehicles.
When unsupervised, children drive through neighborhoods, yards, or recklessly, while adults sometimes ride in the street, obstructing traffic, and someone calls into our office, which initiates a complaint.
Complaints numbered over 50 just before the start of the initiative in August. This number does not reflect deputy-initiated contacts, traffic crashes on roadways, or several wrecks involving injuries and deaths while operating one vehicle mentioned earlier.
Phase one was education, spreading the word about enforcement concerns and educating the community about the laws governing the state's golf cart vs. LSV (Low-Speed Vehicles) and All-Terrain Vehicles on the public roadway.
Moving on into Phase two, Sheriff Noel E. Stephen wanted to start this off by ensuring that everyone understood the difference between a golf cart and an LSV
(As a moot point, ATVs are not to be operated on public roadways (see below for the link to the Florida Statutes that cover ATV laws and the link for covered farm equipment). We will continue to focus and strictly enforce these laws.)
Golf cart vs. LSV
One is permitted to drive on a public roadway (under certain restrictions), and the other is illegal under any situation unless approved by the local governing government.
The short version is that a golf cart is illegal on a roadway and the LSV is not. We will explain everything in this advisory to ensure everyone becomes educated on the laws.
Golf carts can operate on roads designated for golf carts with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less. Again, Okeechobee County has not established public streets that allow this to happen. The local governing government must vote on and set specific requirements to establish the area. Then and only then would it be legal. Furthermore, the governing board can go above the bare statutory minimum requirements.
Another question is, can a golf cart be converted into an LSV and then be legal within Okeechobee County? The answer is yes.
However, there needs to be an understanding of what makes an LSV legal.
L.SV (Low-Speed Vehicle) is defined by statute as "any four-wheeled vehicle whose top speed is greater than 20 miles per hour, but not greater than 25 miles per hour."
The LSV must be registered, titled, and insured with personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance. Any person operating an LSV must have a valid driver's license in their immediate possession.
Step One - LSV's may be operated only on streets where the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less and equipped with the following safety equipment:
The State of Florida can only issue a VINfor an LSV after the owner has the unit inspected at a regional office.
Okeechobee's regional office is in West Palm Beach. Call 561-640-6820, make an appointment, and travel to 901 N. Point Parkway Suite 115&116, West Palm Beach, Florida, 33407, with the vehicle.
Once the inspection is complete and the vehicle passes, it will receive a 17-digit VIN and then is classified as an LSV. However; you can still not drive it within Okeechobee County without being registered with our tag office.
Step Two - Take all documents listed below to the office of Celeste Watford, Okeechobee County Tax Collector, 409 NW 2nd Ave., Okeechobee, FL 34972:
Attach the license plate registration tag onto the LSV Remember you are to follow all laws of a standard motor vehicle on the roadway.
Subsequently, it is possible to skip Step One if a dealership sells "Golf carts" already upgraded, inspected, and designated as LSVand only needs to be registered through the Okeechobee Tag Office and follow Step Two (shown above).
Here is a handout that can be very helpful to anyone interested in owning and operating an LSV:
In the end, the safety of our fellow citizens is the priority and focus through traffic education and enforcement measures. The hope is that everyone has a more precise understanding of this issue and takes the necessary steps to prevent unnecessary interaction by continuing to travel illegally on our roadways.
Suppose someone has a question or concern about this article and needs further information.
In that case, we have handouts available at our Administrative office at 504 NW 4th St., Okeechobee, Florida, 34974, or call 863-763-3117 Ext 5018.