GALVESTON, Texas — Galveston leaders are considering placing more restrictions on golf carts in the wake of a recent deadly crash on the island.
“This council realizes that the main cause of the actions that brought about this accident were allegedly because of a drunken driver,” Mayor Craig Brown said during a Thursday council workshop.
However, Brown said the island’s also seen a “proliferation” of golf carts.
Since the council last updated the city’s golf cart ordinance in June 2021, police records show 32 crashes involving golf carts, with 13 listed on Seawall Boulevard.
Brown said the city had already been getting complaints, but the recent tragedy pushed the issue to the forefront. He and council members spent more than an hour discussing ways to reduce the risk to locals and visitors.
“I do like the idea of the timing limited after dark,” Council Member Sharon B. Lewis of District 1 said.
A nighttime golf cart ban, keeping golf carts off Seawall Boulevard and restricting passengers under age 12 got the most support from council members. Two council members also brought up limits on rental companies.
“I would not be opposed to taking an approach to banning rental golf carts,” Council Member Marie Robb of District 6 said.
Council Member William Schuster of District 1 suggested looking at overall road safety beyond just golf carts.
A Galveston police sergeant also gave his input.
“The reason we’re here is not because of the golf cart,” Sgt. R. Sanderson said. “It’s because of another individual’s actions.”
Brett Von Blon, the co-owner of Carriage Haus Rentals, which rents golf carts, agrees.
“(Stopping drunk driving) should be the main focus of this,” Von Blon said.
Von Blon likes the idea of limiting rental companies’ work hours and adding protections for younger riders -- two things he already does with his business.
He disagrees with shutting down rental companies and with a nighttime driving ban.
“There’s a lot of folks here, whether they’re renting our cart or just residents in town, that like to take their cart out to dinner and then come back,” Von Blon said. “As you know, the sun sets at different times of the day.”
Brown told reporters that city staff is also working with police to craft recommendations to fight drunk driving.
The council could vote on changes to the golf cart ordinance as soon as Aug. 25.