You, me and business

Published on: January 19, 2017

There are real laws about driving a golf cart

By DANA DITTMAR

CEO, SCC Chamber

Periodically, over the six-plus years I’ve written this column, some have elicited an unexpected torrent of responses. But never such an outpouring of kudos and support has there been from my column of two weeks ago, when I talked about those folks abusing the golf cart laws.  I must have had over 30 phone calls and e-mails, not to mention all the folks who saw me and told me face-to-face that it was the best column I’ve ever written.

Obviously, there is more to be said. After the past two weeks of riding around on my cart, I have to agree. Let me give you just one example.

I was coming home from Walmart on the golf cart path that runs along the south side of Sun City Center Blvd. A golf cart was ahead of me as we approached the fire station. There are two stop signs there, which he blew right through without even slowing down or looking in either direction. Further down, as he approached PNC Bank, he blew through another. When I finally caught up with him, I gently pointed out that golf carts have to follow the same rules as cars, and the stop sign was for us — on the golf cart path.

My words were met with a middle-finger salute and some words this newspaper won’t print.

But to be fair, let’s also address the drivers of cars. Somehow when we’re in our carts we think we can do what we please. Guess what? Motor vehicle drivers think the same thing.

Ever been on your cart driving straight at a stop light and a car making a left turn in front of you and cutting you off? He thinks his car is faster than your cart, and he doesn’t want to wait for you to cross before he can make his turn. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to slam on my brakes to keep from hitting that impatient driver who doesn’t realize I’m faster than he thinks.

If you truly don’t know the rules of the road for golf carts, come by the chamber of commerce for the official Golf Cart Handbook. There’s a lot of good information in there. No, you can’t let your 7-year-old grandchild drive the cart, even if you’re right there beside them. They have to be at least 14 years of age. Yes, you are required to signal your intent, either by blinker or hand signals — all the time.

I can’t say this enough.  Driving golf carts in Sun City Center is a privilege. And just like with misbehaving children, privileges can be taken away. Please don’t think our politicians will protect us just because we have a large percentage of voters.  The Florida Department of Transportation doesn’t care how many of us vote or who we vote for. They’re in the business of keeping our roads safe.

So please, stay on the golf cart paths instead of driving illegally on the road (this applies mainly to Upper Creek Drive). Obey the traffic rules as if you were in your big Caddie, and have respect for others on the road. Viva la golf carts!

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