County Adopts Updated Beach Code Ordinance

The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to adopt an updated beach code ordinance at its regular Jan. 16 meeting.

The updated beach code ordinance features amendments banning any “aircraft, seaplane, helicopter, glider, balloon, dirigible, parachute, drone or other aerial apparatus” taking off from or landing within park property or the beach; the careless operation of “any e-bike, e-scooter, or other electric motorized device” (including weaving through pedestrians, carrying too many [passengers, and speeding); and operating any motor vehicle “so as to intentionally cause sand to be thrown into the air or across any beach area.”

“Parks and Recreation and the Board of County Commissioners Office both received feedback from residents about issues pedestrians and beachgoers had been having with e-bikes,” Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Kane said. “These changes provide guidelines for proper use of e-bikes and other motor vehicles on our beaches, and they give the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and St. Augustine Beach Police Department the ability to address issues as they arise.”

Violation of any part of the ordinance comes with the risk of receiving a $53 citation from law enforcement for Non-Criminal Violation.

The St. Johns County Parks and Recreation Department and Beach Services Department worked closely with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Augustine Beach Police Department on the amendments to ensure they would provide better safety and health measures to the visitors of our County’s beaches. With over 74,000 beach driving passes sold in 2023 alone, proper regulation of vehicles on the beach is a major County priority.

Parks and Recreation explored the option of e-bike registration on County beaches, but staff determined that it would not be feasible, as e-bikes can utilize all 42 miles of St. Johns County beaches and there are hundreds of access points for vehicles to get on the beach. Identifying e-bikes versus traditional bicycles would also pose a challenge.