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Should Golf Carts, Cars Share the Road?

Posted July 12, 2007

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— Should golf carts share the road with cars? It's a question of safety versus convenience.

More than a dozen towns are asking for special legislation to put cars and carts together. Among them are Morrisville, Freemont and Wrightsville Beach.

Carts are already on the roads in the Triangle.

Cary is one of about a half-dozen North Carolina towns in which golf carts mingle with cars. The state Legislature gave the town permission to put carts and cars together in 2001. But carts can hit the road only in their designated lanes around Prestonwood Country Club.

“You have to be a member. You have to live at Prestonwood to be able to get a sticker from us to be able to drive to the golf course,” said Vance Hefner, with the country club.

Now, at least 15 other towns want the power to put carts on the road, and not just around golf courses. Morrisville is one of them.

Sen. Janet Cowell, D-Wake, said it’s up to the local authorities to figure our how and where they want to allow the carts and other details. The state has to grant the authority, however.

Cowell is sponsoring the Morrisville golf cart bill. She said she has heard from people concerned that carts and cars are a bad mix. But with more people using them, it's time to lay down the laws and the designated lanes, she said.

“Particularly when you have an exploding retirement populations, and folks are not only using it for the golf games, but other uses,” Cowell said, “that we will have safe laws. Then everybody, whether you're on it or  you're not, will be safe.”

Cathy Cooper, a golf cart owner, said she thinks golf carts and cars can co-exist.

“If they put a cart lane in and have them on the side of the road and obey traffic laws, I think that would be fine,” Cooper said.

The General Assembly bills simply allow the towns to put carts on the road. The specifics are up to the local governments. Different cart bills have passed the House and Senate and are in conference committee.


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  • richard2 Jul 14, 2007

    Ok with me if they buy plates and insurance and have a drivers license and can run the speed limit.

  • PaintHorseMares Jul 14, 2007

    You may want to check out what NC really says about bicycles in the road as reference. The roads are 'owned' by the DOT, and here is their web site http://www.ncdot.org/transit/bicycle/safety/safety_Streetwise_cycling.html .
    BTW, we ride horses in the road (which are not motorized vehicles :-))and this is permitted per the DOT and NC statutes. Of course, we have come across our share of obnoxious drivers, too.

  • wizard633 Jul 13, 2007

    You could not pay me to drive a golf cart on our roads. That is suicide.

  • 37 Jul 13, 2007

    I want to be able to drive my vehicle on the cart path at the local course. Why not? No? Well then they need to stay off the street.

    I think cyclists misunderstand the "Share the Road" signs. Some of them take it to mean people lawfully operating a motor vehicle are obligate to defer to them rather than the other way around. Regardless of state law, the law of common sense supersedes it and cyclists need to realize all the yellow signs of the road is not going to protect their brain pan.

    The earlier comment about old folks on their scooters in the Cameron Village area is quite an image for me. I can't help but think about Costanza being chased while he's on his Rascal.

  • ImJustSayin Jul 13, 2007

    "...you can put 12 bicycles on the same amount of roadway the average SUV takes up..."

    Not with them actually being saftely ridden at the time.. and a VW bug will not normally harm the passengers in an SUV tho it will eat through a pack of bicyclists like a bowling ball through pins. What's the point of being environmentally friendly if you might end up making those ambulances or life flights putrify the air with their billowing exhausts while coming to pick your carcass up off of NC 55?

    ...I'm just sayin'...

  • Rolling Along Jul 13, 2007

    Neighborhood roads don't go where a cyclist needs to ride. It may come as a surprise to you but some of us actually use a bicycle instead of a car for getting to and from work. To me using a 4,000# car to transport a single person any distance under about 10 miles is a gross waste. A very large percentage of trips taken by car in this country are unnecessary and are a total waste. Just remember for every commuting cyclist you see on the road, that is one less car that is getting in your precious way. BTW for estimating purposes, you can put 12 bicycles on the same amount of roadway the average SUV takes up...

  • frosty Jul 13, 2007

    Golf carts should be for golf courses. If they are going to permit golf carts then ATV's should be allowed too, they are faster at least.

    And golf carts are too big for bike paths. Bicycles can at least get out of they way when safe to do so.

    I have seen motorized wheelchairs on city streets (Greenville) and they are just scary, very hard to see in traffic.

  • moglinferno Jul 13, 2007

    I wish the bicycles would get off the roads too. Why choose busy roads when you can go into the million neiborhoods around here? Why would someone in their right minds want to ride their bike down Wake Forest Rd., Millbrook, etc. You can't exactly pass a golf cart....

  • ImJustSayin Jul 13, 2007

    Who is going to pay for the extra asphalt, the movement of road signs and all the other "what-not"? The concerned communites or the state? Golf carts take up way more space than a bicycle and therefore are more prone to traffic disruptions.

  • 68_polara Jul 13, 2007

    Bicycles are slower than golf carts and yet the would hasn't come to the end.