INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — For the past two years, city residents have been riding their golf carts on city streets.
After Tuesday, it may be legal for the first time to get to the beach by golf cart by crossing Gulf Boulevard.
That is when the City Commission is expected to approve expanding its golf cart ordinance to allow properly equipped carts to cross "designated public roads or streets" (Gulf Boulevard) within the city boundaries.
The commission passed the ordinance unanimously on first reading two weeks ago.
Previously, carts could not be ridden across Gulf Boulevard.
"They were doing it, but it wasn't legal," City Manager Chuck Coward said Monday.
When the commission originally legalized golf carts in 2009, they asked the city staff to get permission from the county to allow the carts to cross the four-lane roadway.
Because the busy street is not a state highway north of the Walsingham Bridge, no state approval was needed.
City and county officials agreed that crossings should be allowed at only 15 intersections where beach access points have public parking: Eighth Avenue, 12th Avenue, and 15th through 27th avenues.
Coward said where space is available, specially sized parking slots will be set aside for the carts.
He also said he doesn't know how many people use golf carts to ride around town, but estimates it could be a dozen or more.
One of those residents is City Hall administrative assistant Joan Johnstone, who recently purchased a golf cart to ride to work.
Golf carts are required to be specially equipped to be street safe.
That equipment includes head lights, tail and stop lamps, turn signal lights, parking brakes, reflectors, a windshield, rearview mirror and hip-style seat belts.
Drivers also must have a valid state driver's license.
Golf cart drivers can be ticketed for violating any of the rules.
The one place where golf carts cannot be driven is north or south on Gulf Boulevard itself.