Response to: Golf Cart Parking and Mopeds

By / Letters to the Editor / Wednesday, 15 July 2015 04:00

Dear Editor,
Upon reading your article regarding Golf Carts and your comparison to Mopeds, you failed to highlight some important factors and major points. I’m a resident of Carolina Beach and enjoy the privilege of using my golf cart within the “town limits” of Carolina Beach. It is economical, convenient and a handy way to negotiate our island. These carts are permitted for use ONLY within the Carolina Beach Township and only on those roads where the speed limit is 35 mph or less. The majority of golf carts are limited to approximately 20 mph, although some are a bit faster. Mopeds and scooters are allowed on ALL roads STATEWIDE except for interstates. Many mopeds operate at illegal speeds, exceeding the state mandated 30 mph on flat ground. I’ve frequently witnessed them exceeding 60 mph with no license plate. Many of these mopeds are becoming loose parted junk, with no inspection requirements sporting no lights, broken, inoperative blinkers, bald tires and bad brakes. The new regulations on mopeds still do not address a very important factor of safety on NC roads, they still do not require a safety inspection. In addition, the greater majority of mopeds and scooters that are operated on ALL NC roads by operators that have lost their operator’s license due to one or more DUI convictions. That in itself defines the mentality and intent of most of those operators. I routinely see Scooters all around town with a case of Budweiser secured between the scooter operators feet. There are daily news articles describing some sort of an event involving scooter crashes on NC roads. A motorized vehicle of that magnitude, used on statewide roads should have long ago have had a registration, inspection and insurance requirement mandated by the state.
We’re talking about a small township on a small island where non-street legal golf carts are allowed to operate with some restrictions. In order to “plate” a golf cart, that vehicle will have to be brought up to “street legal” status to include operable head and tail lights, stop lights, blinkers, horn, state inspection and insurance. 90% of the CB carts will not meet this criteria. If I’m required to do  that I’ll sell the cart and go back to using the car and bike. I’m in favor of the required liability policy, that’s just basic. I’m even in favor of an “inspection program” that could be administered by the CB police dept. to ensure the carts are safe for local use. I have heard of zero cases of incidents involving golf cart collisions or damage to property, quite unlike your comparison to mopeds and scooters. Should there become a rampant problem with accidents, liability and property damage as is currently evidenced with statewide scooter operation, then maybe time for a change. Right now, there isn’t a problem that needs to be fixed. The statewide use of public roads by scooters/mopeds is in no way comparable to the very limited use of golf carts in our small township, therefore the “requirements” are held to a different standard for reasonable, yet valid reasons. What is in place now for CB golf carts is effective and does not indicate the very negative trend that is obvious on state roads by mopeds and scooters..
The township rules for golf cart operation require that the operator stay as far to the right as possible to avoid impeding traffic flow. This is what I do and I’ll sometimes even pull over to allow clusters of traffic to roll on. I’m on a golf cart and not in a hurry like the automobile drivers. In addition, I almost always find a place to park my golf cart that does NOT occupy a car parking spot. I try to leave those for the visitors and tourists to use. I have actually had my cart relocated from its parking spot by a driver while I was away as he took my spot. Now, there’s a fine example of tourist courtesy!
My final points are the most important, especially if you consider personal safety a high priority. Traffic is NOT obeying the 25 mph speed limit recently instituted on Lake Park Blvd.! Speed limits are completely useless without monitoring and enforcement. People DO NOT stop at pedestrian crosswalks to allow safe pedestrian access and in fact, will raise immortal hell if I stop to allow a crossing. Impatient drivers continue to illegally pass on the right of vehicles waiting to make left hand turns on Lake Park Blvd., where a lane is not provided for such. All of these issues are a direct threat to personal injury or death to pedestrians and bicyclists that visit our island for a fun day at the beach. Now, these are serious issues that are prevalent, are not being addressed and will eventually lead to a bad day at the beach for someone! This is the beach and we’re all supposed to have fun. Let’s all slow down, be patient, pay attention and use courtesy!
T. Chris Ware
A Carolina Beach resident


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