Golf carts then and now

Published 11:11 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When I was growing up in Demopolis, we lived on Elmwood Drive, and it was fairly common to see a golf cart or two go down the road.

Sometimes there was an adult at the wheel, but most of the time, it was someone younger. Usually, when it was a younger kid, it was someone close to my age then — 12 or so — who was on his way to play a round or two of golf with his friends.

As you got closer to the country club, and in the neighborhoods close to Westside Elementary School, golf carts were more numerous, with about the same ratio of kids to adults behind the wheel.

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It was a fairly common sight. Sometimes, I’d drive my Dad’s golf cart on the course, and I vaguely remember driving one on a paved road once or twice in my lifetime – strictly to get to someone’s house, of course.

This was, as I said, back in the day; the day when wearing seatbelts in cars was more an option than a law.

Now, after a generation of wearing seatbelts as a rule, we have found that wearing seatbelts saves lives.

The same thing may be true with riding golf carts on paved streets. There have been a number of complaints about kids driving golf carts on paved roads and the potential for injury and damage and disruption of traffic flow on those streets.

Back in the day, if you were a kid driving golf carts, you were responsible about it or you wouldn’t drive them for a while. If someone saw you being a fool in a golf cart on the road, your parents got a call and you were busted.

Based on the complaints being given, it seems like kids aren’t as responsible on the road as they once were. So, Demopolis police chief Tommie Reese has said that the police department would look into it.

The first time a golf cart is seen on a public street, the officer is to follow it home and give a warning to the adult responsible, even if that person is driving. On the second offense, the golf cart will be towed to the police station with the owner having to pay the bill.

The old saying goes that it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. These measures will help assure that fewer people get hurt and that a vehicle intended for recreation does not interfere with regular traffic.