Published: 19 November 2019
Author: Creon Coolahan
Victoria Police and VicRoads withdraw fines and clarify rules for driving golf cart on road
In 2018 I wrote two blog pieces regarding the legalities of driving a golf cart on the road as titled ‘Be aware you may be fined $793 for driving a golf cart’ and ‘An update on the legalities of driving a golf cart on the road’.
My interest in the legalities of driving a golf cart on the road arose from a good friend and member of my local golf club (Terang Golf Club in Western Victoria) receiving a $793 fine for using an unregistered “motor vehicle” on a highway. This was in circumstances where he had been careful to approach VicRoads beforehand and had written confirmation from VicRoads that in his particular circumstances (driving the golf cart on the road less than two kilometres from his home directly to the course and back again) was perfectly legal.
The blogs created a great deal of interest and we received a number of enquiries from golf clubs and other lawyers on the topic.
As noted in my blog on 29 June 2018, Victoria Police withdrew the infringement notices that had been issued to my friend and another member of our golf club. In doing so, the Police Officer who issued the infringement notice wrote a letter to our golfers advising as follows:
“...We have sought advice from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office as well as our internal Policy Department and are happy to advise you, and all members of the golf club, that VicRoads and VicPol are now in agreement in regards to the use of ‘golf buggies’ on roads adjacent to Golf Courses...”
The wording I have been sent reads ‘Advice provided is that it is legal for a person to drive an unregistered manufactured golf buggy from a place of store to a golf course within 2km of the storage location provided that they are travelling to the golf course for the specific purpose of playing golf. This includes a person driving the golf buggy to a golf course on behalf of another person, for the purpose of being used to play golf. Also applies that it is legal for the reverse trip.
Please feel free to pass this information to anyone that may have questions about this.’
Furthermore, I was grateful to receive an email from a Senior Sergeant in our Policing Region who added further clarity to the test that Victoria Police would adopt in deciding whether or not to issue an infringement notice to someone found driving a golf cart on a public highway. The following is the relevant excerpt from the email:
‘The test will be that the golf cart is being used for the purposes of going to play golf or returning from a match. If there is a delay between the actual use and the match play, then it might get a bit of attention again. Similarly, using the cart to drive to the golf club to play bridge, pokies or similar would also be outside the scope of the exemption.’
The approach taken by Victoria Police was ultimately fair and sensible in my opinion, and gave clarity to golfers as to what was permissible and what wasn’t.
Unfortunately, I am told, this approach is yet to be adopted across the State. I received an enquiry from a solicitor in the Goldfields area whose elderly client has received an infringement notice for driving his golf cart between his home and his Golf Club. His client has elected to proceed to Court to have the infringement notice struck out.
I wish them both success with their efforts, and will post a further blog when the outcome of that Court action is known.
Ryan Carlisle Thomas and Stringer Clark blogs are designed to give broad information about legal rights in Australia. They are general in nature and are not intended to be used as legal advice in any individual case. Legal matters are often complex and appropriate advice can only be given when full details of the case are known. If you need legal advice, contact RCT or Stringer Clark for detailed advice tailored to the individual circumstances of your matter.