Editorial: Golf Cart Parking And Mopeds

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 24 June 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

Some people have questioned the placement of golf cart parking on Cape Fear Blvd near the gazebo at the Boardwalk. This change was made as part of a new streetscape design implemented following a large infrastructure project. After replacing aging water, sewer and storm water lines the Town of Carolina Beach paved the road, installed wider sidewalks and redesigned the pedestrian entrance to the gazebo area on Cape Fear Blvd.
There are now several golf cart spaces that do not have parking meters.
I asked Town Manager Michael Cramer why the spaces were put in place without parking meters. One would think parking is universal in purpose and therefore everyone should pay.
Cramer explained, "As for the golf cart parking. The reason we put the spaces at that locations was that we could not place full size space there. A full size space would create an unsafe movement of pulling out in front of a stop sign and a full size space would constrain vehicles when they try to pull into the drop off and pick up circle. The half moon shaped area in front of the bollards is signed to allow people the ability to stop for 15 mins and drop off visitors, elderly or handicap individuals. The reason we don’t charge for the golf carts is that all carts are suppose to be registered with the town and when that happens they get a parking sticker. All of the rental shop golf carts are supposed to have stickers on them. So it would be a waste of $1,500 per meter to put a parking meter at a golf cart spot."
Golf carts are an excellent way to get around on the Island throughout the year. The most common complain we hear on a regular basis is extremely slow moving golf carts driving along Lake Park Blvd (Highway 421) causing frustration resulting in motorists making swift decisions to change lanes in busy traffic. Not a good mix considering a car will fair much better in an accident than a golf cart.
The Town of Carolina Beach requires people to have liability insurance when obtaining a golf cart permit. Yet the carts are not required to be inspected and licensed by the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
Short of stopping every single cart every month, there's no way for police to be sure a cart owner still has an active insurance policy.
Requiring an inspection by the North Carolina Department of Transportation with a license plate would go a long way to ensuring that golf carts do in fact have continuous insurance coverage.
This issue becomes much more relevant now that our state leaders have decided moped and scooter owners must register their vehicles as of July 1, and will be required to have insurance starting in July 2016.
If our state is going to require moped owners to adhere to those strict requirements, golf cart owners should also be held to the same standards.

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