Time for Golf Carts to Command Some Respect!

Jerry Deem may be the only golf cart owner legally driving on public roads in Fairview Beach. That’s because, technically, his golf cart is not a golf cart. It’s defined under state law as a “low speed vehicle.” The critical differentiator: The golf cart abides by state safety requirements to be equipped with “head lights, brake lights, tail lights, reflex reflectors, an emergency brake, an externally mounted rearview mirror, an internally mounted rearview mirror, a windshield, one or more windshield wipers, a speedometer, an odometer, braking for each wheel, a safety belt system, and a vehicle identification number.”

Like most golf carts, reports Phyllis Cook with the Journal Press, Deem’s four-seat vehicle is battery-operated. Recharged with household current, the vehicle can run about 30 miles — more than Deem needs to putter around Fairview Beach.

All that safety equipment adds significant cost to golf carts, prices of which typically run between $2,000 and $7,000, depending on size and features. The safety requirements strike me as overkill for a vehicle with a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour. Shouldn’t it be state policy to encourage the use of low-polluting electric buggies for use on local roads?

Some readers probably think I’m off my rocker for publishing so many posts on the topic of electric golf carts. I haven’t researched this yet, so I’m willing to stand open to correction, but I’ll wager that electric buggies are the fastest growing transportation mode in the country right now. They’re increasingly popular in resort areas like Fairview Beach, and it won’t be long before they enter the mainstream.

I was chatting yesterday with Casey Sowers and Dave Anderson, developers of the proposed Roseland project in Chesterfield County. They would like to create a New Urbanism community where so many needs — jobs, housing, retail, services, amenities, etc. — are met within the bounds of the project that many families would feel comfortable trading in a regular car for an electric vehicle. So enamored are they with the idea of electric vehicles, that they’re playing with the idea of creating parking spaces with free electric recharge.

Think of the advantages: Roseland residents would save money because buggies are cheaper than cars, giving them more disposable income. Buggies pollute less, and they require smaller parking spaces. And, darn it, they’re just more fun — they come in a mind-bending assortment of designs and color schemes. Just look at the custom paint job on the photo above!

As golf carts/buggies take off in popularity, we’ll see major project developers designing communities from the ground up to accommodate them, just like pedestrians and bicycles. At some point, the Commonwealth of Virginia will have to take them seriously.
(Photo credit: Lifted Golf Carts.)

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2 responses to “Time for Golf Carts to Command Some Respect!”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Don’t look now.. but…


    GM puts development of plug-in electric car on the fast track

    “….The Volt has a battery-powered electric motor that can run the car for up to 40 city miles on a single charge. The battery system can be plugged into a home outlet for recharging, and the gasoline engine can recharge the batteries while it is moving.”


    Now if folks REALLY want something to WORRY about… think about this:

    1. – The commuter drives the vehicle to work on it’s battery – and then plug-it in to the employer-supplied outlet for the trip home.

    2. – The commuter drives the car SOLO but uses the money for gas he didn’t have to buy – to pay for the Congestion Pricing Toll.

    3. – The commuter no longer pays a gas tax except when they go to Grandmas in their now seldom-used gasoline-powered SUV.

    Everybody keeps saying that GM is “behind” it’s competitors especially Toyota and that it needs to make some “bold” moves…

    we could be witnessing.. the beginnings of .. one of them thar paradigm shifts.. or whatevers…

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    how did the owner get the cart up to specs? where did he get the work done and how much did it cost. i would love to get my cart up to specs. also.. how did he get a vin?

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