Around the Chickahominy Haven, drivers might see neighbors speeding past on golf carts despite there being no golf course.
In this part of James City County, golf carts have become a popular mode of transportation and socialization after an ordinance was passed in 2007 that allow golf carts on public roads, according to the minutes from a 2007 meeting of the James City County Board of Supervisors.
Since that time, golf carts have become part of the culture of the Chickahominy Haven, with locals decorating the vehicles for holiday golf cart parades and residents hopping on their rides at the start of every summer.
But how is it exactly that golf carts are allowed on public roads in The Haven and not others?
It’s a mix of county and state code.
According to Virginia state code, no portion of public highways can be designated for use by golf carts. Unless, however, a locality reviews and permits the specific use, which is what James City County did in 2007.
But even with that, there are county regulations that limit the location and use of golf carts. For example, cars cannot exceed 25 mph in areas of the Chickahominy that allow golf cart use and there must be signage making drivers aware.
Every golf cart operating on the public highway has to place a slow-moving vehicle emblem on their vehicle as well. In addition, a person driving a golf cart must also have a valid driver’s license.
Many of those regulations are to protect the safety of those riding in the golf carts, which was a concern when the ordinance was originally passed.
Al Catlett, fire department spokesman and battalion chief, said there haven’t been many injuries or safety concerns with golf carts in that area. He said typically when there are reports of injuries involving golf carts, they are golf carts on actual golf courses, not in the Chickahominy.