Floridians, possibly more so than people in any other state, use golf carts for a variety of things other than golfing. Walking around retirement communities and college campuses you would be hard pressed to not see a few golf carts zipping around. Combine these with the golf carts that occupy the over 1,000 golf courses in Florida and it’s probably safe to say that Florida is the golf cart capital of the country. Unfortunately, with this title comes the sad reality that accidents do happen and golf carts are no exception.
Can Golf Carts be Dangerous?
The simplicity of golf carts is part of the reason that people love them so much, but is also the reason that they can be so dangerous. Golf carts lack any discernable safety features: no air bags, no seat belts, no brake lights, no turn signals, and they typically even lack doors and windshields. While many of these features are fantastic for cruising around and enjoying a warm Florida afternoon, they may get you into serious trouble if you’re involved in an accident.
Just this summer, multiple Floridians using golf carts were involved in accidents and unfortunately, more than one instance involved children. In one, five children were riding in a golf cart when it was struck by a car, seriously injuring two of the children. In the other incident, five children were again riding in a golf cart when it flipped over, again seriously injuring two of the children. In another incident, a man riding in a golf cart was hit by a car, but thankfully due to the seat belt installed in his golf cart, he did not sustain any serious injuries.
Although some counties in Florida have more specific regulations regarding golf carts, Florida state law on the matter is sparse. As far as safety, Florida’s laws are limited to more or less ensuring that the golf cart works, keeping golf carts off of roads not designated for use by golf carts, and limiting use of golf carts to only individuals over the age of 14. Importantly absent is the requirement of seatbelts. Although not having a seatbelt while riding around a golf course doesn’t seem too dangerous, not having one when operating a golf cart near or on a road could prove considerably more dangerous.
Alachua County has no regulations regarding the use of golf carts, meaning only the state laws apply and golf carts may not be used on public roadways. In Marion County, individuals within the unincorporated area known as The Villages are allowed to use golf carts on the roadways.
If you use or are planning on using a golf cart in the future, make sure to avoid high speeds and sharp turns and keep all body parts inside of the golf cart at all times. If you or a loved one is unfortunately involved in a golf cart accident make sure you have an experienced accident attorney like the ones at Meldon Law to help you recover what you deserve. Contact us at 800-373-8000 or visit MeldonLaw.com.