CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1548 that made changes relating to golf carts, neighborhood electric vehicles, and off-highway vehicles. The bill allows for local city councils to regulate these vehicles under certain circumstances.
Tuesday's Corpus Christi City Council meeting will include a public hearing about the proposed ordinance to allow these vehicles to legally operate on North Beach, Mustang Island and North Padre Island.
District 4 City Council member Greg Smith said the Padre Island community has been in favor of the ordinance.
"We're having to work out what you can and cannot do since the state law that allows these higher horsepower-type vehicles was just enacted," he said.
These higher-powered vehicles more closely resemble all-terrain vehicles that are arguably safer, equipped with seatbelts, reflectors and lights.
Smith said this is a community-driven ordinance, but that some residents do have safety concerns.
Nancy Edwards said she retired on the island and enjoys walking her dog on the beach. She has noticed these vehicles throughout the island and is surprised there have not been any bad accidents.
"I even saw one driving down Whitecap (Boulevard recently) texting while they were driving on Whitecap," she said. "I honestly saw that when I was passing cautiously by them."
Winter Texan Judy Bush said she thinks there should be regulations for these vehicles, but understands why the community is pushing for them.
"I think it'd be good thing, people need to get around a little bit more," she said. "My husband is handicapped and it would be nice to have the golf cart to get around in more areas."
According to the city council agenda memorandum, if this is ordained by council, a few requirements within city limits will be in place:
- headlamps, taillamps, reflectors, parking brake and mirrors
- headlights and taillights must be on one-half hour afters sunset to one-half hour before sunrise
- sit in a built-in seat and wear a safety belt
- display copy of section 53-109 if vehicle is available for rent
A second reading of the ordinance is set for Tuesday, Nov. 19.