Golf carts will be banned from a portion of Ocean Boulevard over the Memorial Day weekend under a new directive issued by City Manager John Pedersen, who says safety is the city’s top priority.
City leaders sought to restrict the use of golf carts and mo-peds that have congested traffic during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest by declaring the annual event an “extraordinary event” in March. The declaration allowed Pedersen to enforce new traffic rules.
In March, the city banned mo-peds and golf carts from traffic loop roads beginning at 8 p.m. - two hours before the traffic pattern’s enforcement from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
Under the new directive, golf carts will also be banned from Ocean Boulevard south of 29th Avenue North during the entire weekend, beginning at 12:01 a.m. Friday until barricades are removed Monday.
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“This order only affects this section of Ocean Boulevard,” Pedersen said in an email Sunday night. “It does not mean that golf carts cannot be rented or used during Memorial Day weekend. It only means that the police will not allow them to enter this portion of Ocean Boulevard.”
Golf carts are also prohibited along Kings Highway, according to Pedersen.
At least four golf cart rental agencies operate along Kings Highway or Ocean Boulevard south of 29th Avenue North. But with many streets set to be barricaded over the weekend, the new directive will complicate businesses.
Pedersen said they “make every reasonable effort not to burden the city’s businesses, but unfortunately it is just not possible to avoid this entirely.”
Safety, he said, is the city’s over-riding priority.
“I regret that this restriction negatively impacts the golf cart rental businesses, but I think this step is necessary in light of our primary goal,” he said.
Pedersen said “two contributing factors” led to his decision.
“First, during this period almost all of the streets intersecting Ocean Boulevard south of 29th (Avenue) North will be barricaded off,” he said.
Ocean Boulevard, south of 29th Avenue North, will be restricted to one-way southbound traffic over the weekend.
“The second factor is that state law prohibits golf carts on Kings Highway,” Pedersen said.
The operation of golf carts is restricted to daylight hours only and only on secondary highways or streets that have posted speed limits of 35 mph or less, under South Carolina law.
Because of the placement of the barricades, and the state’s ban on golf carts on Kings Highway, there is no practical and legal way for a golf cart in that section of Ocean Boulevard to return to the rental agency or to the hotel where the person renting it is staying.
John Pedersen, Myrtle Beach city manager
“Because of the placement of the barricades, and the state’s ban on golf carts on Kings Highway, there is no practical and legal way for a golf cart in that section of Ocean Boulevard to return to the rental agency or to the hotel where the person renting it is staying,” Pedersen said.
“The one-way southbound traffic can’t turn right off most streets because of the barricades. The few that would allow a right turn lead them only to Kings Highway where again they are stymied by state law,” Pedersen said. “Once the golf carts go past 29th (Avenue) North they cannot turn around and come back because of the one-way street configuration. Finally, the carts can’t ride to the end of the boulevard because they cannot use Kings Highway to return.
“Since there is no legal and practical way for these vehicles to exit from that portion of the boulevard during this time, in my judgment we have no choice but to prohibit them from entering that section,” Pedersen said.