Saturday, June 07, 2008

Golf Cart Safety Especially Important In Busy Summer Months

Now that school is out, Peachtree City’s paths are seeing more use than ever. Peachtree City Public Information Officer Betsy Tyler is reminding golf cart owners of the rules of the path for Peachtree City's signature vehicle.

Tyler said, “Golf carts are a way of life in Peachtree City, and they are certainly a lot of fun. However, cart owners and operators need to remember that these vehicles share the paths with pedestrians and bicyclists, and can cause serious injuries if drivers are not careful.”

Peachtree City has several rules to help keep all path users safe:
• All passengers of a golf cart must remain seated while the cart is in motion – it is very easy to throw a standing passenger from a cart by suddenly starting or stopping the vehicle, or hitting a bump in the path or street.
• No one may sit in the driver’s lap while the cart is in motion – children could become crushed between the driver and the steering wheel in an accident.
• Young children should sit flat in the seat and wear safety helmets to avoid injury from falling or being thrown from the cart.
• All operators must abide by all traffic regulations applicable to vehicular traffic.
• Golf cart drivers should slow down when approaching other path users, curves, and intersections.
• Golf cart drivers should use caution when crossing any street or driveway, stopping the cart if an auto is approaching.
• Golf cart drivers are required to use a horn or other audible signal when approaching pedestrians from behind -- electric carts are very quiet and can injure pedestrians.
• Where cart paths exist they must be used instead of parallel city streets (excluding private golf course paths).
• Carts driven at night must be equipped with functional headlights and tail lights.
• Carts are not allowed on or across Hwy 54, Hwy 74, Peachtree Pkwy, or Crosstown Road except at authorized crossings.

Tyler added, “Drivers need to pay attention and use caution at all times because owners can be held both criminally and civilly liable for injuries caused by their carts.”

The City also strongly encourages golf cart owners to obtain separate liability insurance. Tyler said homeowner policies often do not cover carts taken off property, making accidents especially expensive.

Another potential cost to cart owners can come from allowing under-age drivers to operate carts.

In Peachtree City, golf carts may only be driven by:
• Those 16 and over, whether or not they have a license (unless license has been suspended or revoked)
• 15-year olds with a valid learners permit may drive alone, or if unaccompanied by a parent/grandparent, or person 18 or older, they may drive accompanied by up to one other person who must be at least 15 years old, or may be accompanied by up to 3 immediate family members.
• 15-years old with NO learners permit must be accompanied in the front seat by a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or a person age 18 or older with a valid drivers license.
• Children age 12, 13 & 14 must be accompanied in the front seat by a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian.
• No person under 12 years of age may drive a cart.

Tyler reminds residents that fines for under-age drivers are very steep, ranging from $350 for a first offense to $1,321 and loss of registration for a third offense within two years. Tyler said, “Violations on a golf cart can also affect a teenager’s ability to obtain a drivers license.”

Tyler said, "Using caution on the paths and following the rules will help every to have a safe and fun summer."

The City posts complete path rules on its web site,, and on the street and path map available for purchase at City Hall.

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