Buggy Power! Yee-ha!

In our never-ending quest to promote novel transportation modes, Bacon’s Rebellion has touted the virtues of electric buggies, commonly used as golf carts but often modified in highly creative ways to suit the owner’s tastes.

In the Fairview Beach community of King George County, citizens are agitating to legalize the use of golf carts on public roads. There are at least 80 such carts in the community of some 200 homes, reports the Journal Press, and there likely would be more if the Board of Supervisors would legalize them.

Safety appears to be the foremost consideration: It’s dangerous driving golf carts on roads where far heavier, more powerful cars can drive three or four times faster (unless Fairview residents start driving carts like the Electric Ezgo High-Speed Golf Cart pictured above, in which case the automobiles might get run off the road).

But I see no reason why the carts can’t be ridden on Fairview’s residential streets with 25-miles-per-hour speed limits, which are frequented already by pedestrians and bicyclists. Furthermore, there are the energy/environmental considerations: Electric buggies, which run on electricity, don’t push up demand for imported oil, and they’re cleaner than gasoline-powered cars.

Supervisors will study the issue next week.

(Photo credit: Ringgold Power Sport.)

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11 responses to “Buggy Power! Yee-ha!”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    I spent my entire Memorial Day weekend at Fairview Beach…..w/ a golf cart.

    IMO, there is no good reason ban golf carts in this community. They are already legal at Fairview’s sister community, Colonial Beach (which is in another county).

    At this point, it is still not legal to drive golf carts on the streets in Fairview Bach. However, over the past holiday weekend the heat was on….people were being pulled over for driving the carts around town. Perhaps the cops saw people driving around with open containers of alcohol and they deserved to be pulled over….I am sure everyones story is different.

    The fact remains…..it’s the safest, most efficient way to navigate the roads in and around Fairview Beach.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    You’re kidding right?

  3. E M Risse Avatar
    E M Risse

    Anons who relish the joy of poo-pooing:

    Who are you and upon what do you base your positions?

    On golf carts and their kin, it helps if the Community (it is best if it is done at the Alpha Community Scale) is designed for alternative vehicles as we did in Peachtree City, Ga.

    The goal should be to reduce all vehicle travel but golf carts are a whole lot better than using vehicles designed for inter-regional travel (to say nothing of “off road travel”) for intra-Cluster, intra-Neighborhood, intra-Village and intra-Community trips.


  4. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    anywhere there is a mix of autos and other smaller/flimsier vehicles, there is some risk but what I find interesting about the auto vs golf cart … discussion is where bikes fit in …

    are they not allowed on the same roads … legally.. already?

    So.. let’s take this one step further – if two-wheel bikes are allowed.. what about 3-wheel bikes?

    now.. one more step… 3-wheel bikes with battery-powered “assist” motors (that can be easily recharged)…

    Such “assist” motors would allow those who want some exercise be able to handle hills that they normally could not handle.

    The whole point here… is to get beyond the idea of autos vs golf carts and see the context as one of autos vs … all other mobility options…. and the rationale behind… essentially giving autos priority treatment over any other kind of mobility….

  5. Anonymous Avatar


    The true problem here is speed and speed differential.

    Poor land use decisions create the need for mobility greater than by foot or by bike… Everyone knows that when a pedestrian is struck at 20MPH, they will be injured; but they probably won’t die. At 40MPH, 85% of pedestrians lose there lives.

    A golf cart is a pedestrian with no protection. What speed do they travel at? This is simple physics folks. Why are vehicles required to have seat belts and air bags and pass a safety inspection? Who is allowed to drive an unlicensed golf cart? Kids? Drunks? Blind folks? There is currently no state regulation of golf carts… is that what you want? It certainly will follow… Golf carts with tags and fees and taxes, safety inspections, and even safety standards, seat belts…user pays right?

  6. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    oh.. I agree…

    what I was pointing out is the the auto – get’s preference on infrastructure…

    AND… that bikes ARE ALLOWED on roads – and even though I agree it does not make sense – you need to go back and find out WHY bikes are allowed…. and then you’ll see the equity issue is theoretically “addressed” by “sharing the road”.. it lets VDOT off the hook for separate but equal facilities…

    the same thing goes for walking.. by the way… what do you think would happen if we instituted a “zero tolerance” policy of ticketing everyone who is one foot or on a bike .. using a road?

    so… we “pretend” that it is okay to “share” .. and THAT is where the idea comes from with respect to golf carts “sharing”…

    so.. can we have it BOTH ways.. can it be okay for bikes and peds to “share” the road but not golf carts?

    ball is in your court… 🙂

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    This is simple.

    It comes back to space requirements. A bicycle does not take a lane nor does a pedestrian. A golf cart on the other hand impedes normal vehicular traffic flow.

    As long as a pedestrian (as current law stipulates) or cyclists do not impede vehicular traffic, then it is okay. Mind you that cyclists were here before autos and therefore were grandfathered into the system….

    Transportation history reveals the hierarchy that pedestrians are first, except where trains took their right-of-way, then cyclists, then vehicles. Each mode has takes some rights of other modes except where lawyers protected the rights of the previous mode.

    Golf carts belong on golf courses unless you change their name and regulate them to protect the other modes, both motorized and non-motorized.

  8. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    What is the definition and legal purpose of a public thoroughfare?

    Where do kids walk when they get off of a bus – where there are no sidewalks?

    Where do kids ride their bikes in subdivisions without sidewalks?

    In areas where there are sidewalks – why is it illegal for bikes to use the sidewalks?

    If a bike can legally “use” a road – what part of that road can they not legally use?

    What about motorcylces? scooters? 3-wheel motorcycles – more similiar to golf-carts than autos in terms of protective safety features?

    Is the deciding criteria that if other conveyences can “keep up” with autos that they can share the road – regardless of uniform safety requirements with respect to all vehicles that use that road?

    i.e. helmets are no match for airbags, etc.. right?

    The point I am making is that .. we all take for granted that cars have (are expected to have) priority access – and all other modes are subordinate – no matter what kind of road – even if the speed limit on that road is 20mpg – like many subdivision roads and for that matter .. why not 10mph on subdivision roads?

    But our rationale for the car’s higher priority is based on what?

    what uniform criteria makes it so?

    Is it simply because they are bigger and faster so therefore whatever is biggest and fasted automatically has the highest priority?

  9. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Larry, your most recent post makes some good points. The history of the 1910s and 1920s was one of conflict over which transportation mode — automobiles, horses, pedestrians, street cars — had priority rights in public streets. Cars won, hands down. Just because they won then doesn’t mean cars have to win for all time, especially in resort subdivision streets. If the subdivision is a cul de sac — and I’m normally no fan of cul de sacs — off a main road, there is no reason why cars shouldn’t have to yield to pedestrians, bikers and buggies if that’s the way the inhabitants want it.

    It’s a different question when you move the discussion to a collector road, or arterial, which are designed for higher speeds and moving larger volumes of traffic. Then, different considerations prevail, and cars *should* have priority.

  10. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    yes.. I’m not in favor of golf carts on arterials or wagons on I-95… reality .. intrudes…

    but think about this.

    what is the reason why folks buy and drive SUVs even though they get much worse mileage and most of them of driven most of the time SOLO at rush hour?

    What not a “commuter car” … ??

    Survey’s show over and over that big cars win over small cars in crashes… and folks who want to be safe.. will buy that SUV.. that.. depending on one’s point of view is a twin evil … – the root cause of congestion AND… the root cause of a foreign policy predicated on keeping gasoline in those SUVs….

    This is one of the big big difference between us and Europe.

    They have LOTS of cars and yes.. LOTs of congestion.. but they also have LOTs of SMALL CARS….that are much more fuel efficient, use smaller parking places AND much more compatible with other modes…

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