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Safety needed on the narrow island streets

Ocracoke Village’s narrow streets can include golf carts, cars, horses and pedestrians. Motorists are urged to be patient and cautious. Photo: C. Leinbach

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As a new season begins on Ocracoke, a fun aspect of the island is being able to park your car and use other forms of transportation: your feet, skateboards, bicycles, golf carts, even horses.

Capt. Jason Daniels of the Hyde County Sheriff’s Department urges all to know the traffic rules to be safe while navigating the narrow, often dark, island streets.

“We are visitor-friendly and we want you to be safe,” he said.

CARS:

  • Never, ever pass anything on the right. “That’s a ticket in the $250 range and four points on your license,” Daniels said. “And we strictly enforce it.”
  • Be patient with golf carts and use extreme caution when passing them. “You don’t know when a golf cart will suddenly make a left turn.”
  • Do not pass vehicles on roads with double yellow lines.
  • Obey the speed limit (20 mph on all streets).
  • Make complete stops at stop signs.
  • Keep children in seat belts.
  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks. There are three in the village: Irvin Garrish Highway at School Road; the entrance to South Point, Ramp 72; Back Road behind Ocracoke School.
  • The village streets are narrow and shared with cats, dogs, horses pedestrians, bicycles, skateboarders and golf carts, any of which may suddenly lurch to avoid a puddle.

HORSES:

  • Be careful when near horses, and be patient.  “Don’t honk your horn at them,” Daniels said. “Don’t try to terrify them.”

GOLF CARTS:

“They aren’t amusement park rides,” Daniels said. “Treat these like cars.” That means the following:

  • Only people 16 and older can drive them. Children under that age are not allowed at the wheel and not holding the wheel in an adult’s lap.
  • Children 8 and under must be in proper car seats or secured with seat belts.
  • If you are going slower than other traffic that wants to pass, pull over, stop and wave them on. Do not simply move to the side while still moving.
  • Do not drink while on a golf cart; do not drive drunk.

BICYCLES:

  • Ride on the right side of the road with traffic.
  • Headlights are required for night riding. “This is a mandatory equipment violation,” Daniels said. Several island shops have headlights for purchase.
  • Children under age 16 are required to wear helmets.

PEDESTRIANS:

  • Walk on the left side of the road against traffic, not in the road.
  • Carry a flashlight at night to see and be seen.

OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS FOR YOUR VISIT:

  • If you are staying at a cottage, know your street name and house number should you need emergency assistance.
  • Please pick up after your animals. Hyde County has an animal feces removal ordinance. While there is no leash law, there is an ordinance against “vicious” dogs.
  • Ocracoke cares about how the island looks and we recycle. Glass and metal recyclables (separated) can be taken to the Hyde County Convenience Site beside the post office.
  • Please remember to tip your servers. Our restaurant workers have about seven months to earn a living.
  • Fireworks of any kind are prohibited on Ocracoke.
  • Want to see more of the Milky Way? Please turn out unnecessary outside lights at night.
  • Please do not feed the wild ducks in the village.
  • An official Lost-&-Found Box is located on the porch at the Hyde County Sheriff’s Dept. on Hwy. 12.

For more information about the village, visit ocracokevillage.com.

7 replies »

  1. Ocracoke is a very welcoming and accommodating community. They deserve to have us respect their rules. This list should be required reading for everyone in route on the ferry.

  2. Does headlight mean helmet (“head”) mounted or is a bright bike light mounted on the handlebars (and a flashing red on the seat post) ok?

  3. I am sorry to see so many golf carts on Ocracoke. We have been coming for about 15 years and some of my most dangerous encounters as a pedestrian and bicyclist have been with golf carts. It is much healthier for all of us to be walking and biking, not riding in golf carts.

  4. Don’t forget the pedestrian crosswalk at the visitor center parking lot to the visitor center