Be Careful in That Golf Cart

Category: Family and Retirement

March 28, 2017 — Golf carts are an increasingly popular way to get around. They are inexpensive, easy to park, generally environmentally friendly, and fun too. But just because they are cute doesn’t mean you can’t get hurt in one.

In communities like The Villages in Central Florida the golf cart is THE transportation mode of choice – with 65,000 carts in residents (1 for every 2 residents!) Many have been customized to look like a Rolls Royce or other exotic car. The Villages has 42 miles of paths which golf carts share with pedestrians and bicyclists. Peachtree City near Atlanta is another community where golf carts have long been an important way to get around. Even outside of 55+ or planned communities golf cart popularity is rising. Folks buy them to buzz around the neighborhood; in resort communities they are used to get to the beach.

Golf cart in The Villages

The Problem
Nationwide the Consumer Product Safety Administration estimates that about 18,000 people a year have to visit an emergency room due to a golf cart related injury. Carts do not have the safety features that cars now have, and people should not assume they will have much protection if they crash. Underage drivers, recklessness, and driving on public roads are a major source of insuries. There they are competing for space with vehicles many times their weight and speed. As Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said in the New York Times: “States that are allowing golf carts on public roads are turning back the clock on 50 years of vehicle safety progress”.

In Peachtree City officials have taken positive steps to reduce accidents. Enforcement, minimum age requirements for drivers, education, and designing safer paths are some of the common sense practices that keep accidents and injuries at very low levels there. Its Police Department reports that the biggest problems come from teenagers driving too fast or too recklessly; most seniors are safe because they drive safely.

Not everyone thinks that golf carts represent a huge problem. Fred L. Somers Jr., general counsel for the International Light Transportation Vehicle Association, shared the opinion with the Times that compared to bicycle and and motorcycle crashes, golf carts have relatively few problems.

For further reading:
The New York Times: The (Mostly) Safe Golf Cart
10 Great Retirement Towns Where You Don’t Need a Car

Comments? Do you live in a community or neighborhood where golf carts are a big presence? Do you like them, or how do you view them? Please share your views and experiences in the Comments section below.



Posted by Admin on March 28th, 2017

5 Comments »

  1. Besides Peach Tree City and The Villages, where are other Golf Cart Communities? I like the idea of the golf carts but don’t golf so golf courses are of no interest to me.

    by Louise — March 29, 2017

  2. My experience with golf carts and older drivers has been quite different. I work on the very edge of a 55+ community where golf carts are permitted on the street. Many days I take a walk during my lunch hour in this peaceful community. One day while crossing the street I was within a foot of being hit by a golf cart that was making a left hand turn. Apparently the driver did not see me and had I not stopped dead in my tracks he would have hit me. Also, last summer a driver of a pickup truck in their 90s ran over a sidewalk, a planter and then dropped down a two foot wall to crash into our office, taking out our break room, a wall and several large windows. By the grace of God, we had closed early that day and my boss had locked up the office just minutes before, so no one was hurt. Surprisingly the driver was not hurt either (but is still driving…help us all!!) Clearly he was confused as to which gear he was in and then found the wrong pedal. Several other businesses around this neighborhood have had similar experiences with older drivers accidentally crashing into their buildings. It is no doubt that teens are problem drivers as they seem to think they are invincible, but older drivers can take you out just as fast. I just keep my running shoes on!!

    by Shauna — March 29, 2017

  3. Saw a woman in a golf cart “playing chicken” with a tractor trailer on a main highway near Sun City, AZ a few years ago. No one was hurr, but thad there been an accident, I suspect the truck driver would have been blamed. People natter on about wanting walkable communities and as soon as they move to one get a golf cart.

    by Sandie — March 29, 2017

  4. Many older drivers are good drivers, some are bad just like all age groups. I have issues with drivers that tail gate and no matter how fast you go, they are not satisfied. If you speed up, they speed up and continue to tail gate. These are not typically older drivers either, middle age mostly. It is beyond ignorant and dangerous. Also, all pedestrians are not innocent either. Many times I drive down this one way street (one lane) in my town. There are sidewalks on both sides and walkways at certain spots. However, these pedestrians will just walk out of nowhere (parked cars on both sides of street) and not even look to see oncoming traffic. The streets speed limit is only around 15 mph and I have had to slam on my brakes many times to avoid hitting these oblivious people that are not necessarily on their cell phones. Before my Hub retired he would commute to work on a highway. It was pitch black dark at the hour he was driving. Quite a few times he would encounter a car entering the highway on an oncoming ramp with no headlights on! Seriously, what is wrong with people!

    by Louise — March 29, 2017

  5. Louise,
    By using our Advanced Search option and scrolling down to the middle of that page, you will find Search Communities by Amenities. By choosing Golf Cart Friendly as a criteria and hitting Go, a list of several Golf Cart Friendly communities will be generated for you. Below is the link that will take you there-
    http://www.topretirements.com/Browse.html

    by Jane at Topretirements — March 29, 2017

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