Golf carts and rules of the road
By Terri Wiebold
Summer is a time to get out and explore and enjoy the beautiful outdoors that Castle Pines offers. With the vibrant golf community in the area, it is no surprise that golf carts have made their way into the “modes of transportation” that get residents from point A to point B. Recently, there have been questions circulating regarding the legality of driving golf carts on the public roadways within the City of Castle Pines and surrounding areas.
According to Corporal Brian Cogil of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit, some golf carts fall into the category of “low-speed electric vehicles” and may be driven on the roadway, while others are not designed primarily for operation on the roadway. Those that may be driven on the roadway are furnished with equipment such as headlamps, front and rear turn signals, taillamps, parking brake, seatbelts, etc. These vehicles must also be registered and insured with personal injury protection and property damage liability.
“The typical golf carts that we see at golf courses would not meet the standards to be driven on the street,” stated Cogil.
Any low speed vehicles that meet the criteria for being driven on the roadway are governed by Colorado Revised Statutes Title 42 – 42-4-109.5, which states in part: “Low-speed electric vehicles may be operated only on a roadway that has a speed limit equal to or less than 35 miles per hour; except that it may be operated to directly cross a roadway that has a speed limit greater than 35 miles per hour at an at-grade crossing to continue traveling along a roadway with a speed limit equal to or less than 35 miles per hour.”
Cogil emphasized common sense in the discussion. “If the vehicle is being operated on the roadway (or even if it not), drivers need to follow the rules of the road,” he said. This includes, but is not limited to being a licensed driver 16 years of age or older (or 15 with a learner’s permit and an adult present) and only carrying the number of occupants that the vehicle is designed to carry according to manufacturer’s specifications. “You can’t be out there doing cookies [aka ‘donuts’] or anything like that!” Cogil stipulated. Common courtesy and safety go a long way.
The City of Castle Pines –
The City of Castle Pines has officially adopted the Model Traffic Code for Colorado, so any regulations that apply to areas of unincorporated Douglas County also apply within the City’s public roadways.
“The exception,” said Cogil, “is if the ‘roadway’ is on private property, in which case the enforcement is different.” As a home rule municipality, the City of Castle Pines has the ability to adopt additional regulations, should that be a discussion the City Council chooses to consider in the future.
Private Property –
Regulations relating to private property are governed by the private property owner. Much of the trails and open space within the City of Castle Pines is owned by the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District and is regulated by private signage prohibiting motorized vehicles. Contact the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District directly with questions specific to trails and open space within the City.
The Village at Castle Pines –
All roads within the gates of The Village at Castle Pines are owned by the Castle Pines Homes Association and are therefore considered private property. For questions regarding driving golf carts within The Village, contact the homes association directly.
Unincorporated Douglas County –
All areas of unincorporated Douglas County are patrolled by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and also adhere to the Model Traffic Code for Colorado.
Town of Castle Rock –
Some of the communities within our 80108 ZIP code distribution fall within the Town of Castle Rock jurisdiction (Sapphire Pointe, Diamond Ridge, etc). Governed by the Town of Castle Rock, these communities also adhere to the Model Traffic Code for Colorado. According to Traffic Officer Justin Smith, the Town has an additional municipal ordinance in place that limits vehicles traveling on the roadways to roadways that have a speed limit “equal to or less than 30 miles per hour…”
When operating any type of motor vehicle, please be respectful of other drivers, pedestrians and residents. “At the end of the day, it is really about common sense and safety,” said Smith.
Note: Electric scooters and motorized skateboards are not considered “low-speed electric vehicles” but are rather classified as “toy vehicles” and are prohibited on public roadways.