The Dangers to the Passengers of Golf Carts

Video Transcription:

Hey, it's Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. So are golf carts passenger friendly? A little secret. They are not safe.

I think we've all gotten too comfortable with the notion that a cute little golf cart running around the golf course, or maybe you see them in your neighborhood. They don't go real fast. Their safe. People let the kids drive them around. The big thing is that they are now being used in a lot of ways they were never designed to be used. We see them particularly in real estate developments, golf course developments where there's a real estate where you can stay overnight, spend a night on the course, play. They're running around on the course or to the hotel and the golf cart. These have been modified. They have two seats, maybe sometimes even have three rows of seating. So they're sitting six people or more. But golf carts really are not designed for that in my view. What people need to be aware of is that they're not really designed to hold you in, unless they come with a seatbelt and you activate the seatbelt, which most people don't use, even if they're available.

Remember that if you get into the average golf cart, they've got a small little handhold on either side. It's certainly not going to keep a passenger from being thrown to the right or to the left because it's not large enough to catch the edge of the body. It might catch part of you.  I think most of us who've played golf.  I played golf for many years. You know, the guys who are used for women are used to getting in a cart and you hold on to the upper handhold, your prepared for left and right turns because you're in the front seat and you're watching the driver typically. And bear in mind that when you're on a golf course, if you get ejected from a, from a golf cart, pretty much landing on the grass. I mean, there are occasions when people get ejected onto a pavement. Maybe a concrete car path, but, most of the times I've seen it there they're being thrown off on the fairway or somewhere and you know, really no harm, no foul in those situations. But golf cars can be really dangerous for an unsuspecting passenger.

I had, I did this as a tidbit over the weekend. We talked about golf cart safety, and I've got several responsive, emails from  people, really, sad emails in a way. One of my readers wrote back about someone lost their, their wife in an ejection from a golf cart, one time and other people have written about friends that ejected. There was one person who never recovered from the injuries they had after an ejection from a golf cart. So they are not quite as user friendly for the passenger, as we might tend to believe. You know, they generally go pretty slow. You know, they're generally 20 miles an hour under, they gas or electric, but people I'm told can take the regulator off this beat and make them go a little faster. Probably not the best thing to do.

I think the biggest issue and what we see in our practice is an unsuspecting passenger, maybe not being particularly attentive to what the driver's doing. These are particularly where you're not on a golf course. The classic examples are the passengers either looking at their phone or they're reaching down, but looking at bag or something, and suddenly the driver makes a sharp turn to the to the driver's left ejecting the passenger out to the right, this happens. We've had cases where passengers in the back, husband and wife, maybe are on a tour of a particular property. They're being chauffeured around by a realtor maybe or somebody else on behalf of the resort. A driver isn't particularly familiar with the fact that there's not a lot holding the passengers in the back, and they make a left or a right turn and the person not prepared for it and they get it ejected. That's in addition to the other things that happened with golf carts. I mean, I've had cases where people were standing behind them and got back over by their partner. I've had them where they're standing behind the cart and get run into by the cart coming up behind them. We've had carts overturn on golf courses. I mean, there are a lot of ways that you can get in trouble in a golf cart. That being said, they can be very useful in the right setting. If people are mindful, aware, thoughtful about how they use it.

What concerns me, particularly from an injury standpoint is the number of people. I see. I live close to a community that golf carts street, legal golf carts are committed on the streets here. I see a lot of families with children in golf carts. I see a lot of times when children are operating in a golf cart, you know, and that can be really a deadly mix or an injurious mix because kids aren't really thinking longterm.

They don't think like a lawyer and not thinking about the implications of stopping and turning and throwing someone out there having fun. So. I would tell you that in my view, golf carts are not passenger friendly, unless you check in early alert to the issues. You know, if there's a seatbelt, you really need to use a seatbelt. If there's a handhold, you really need to use the handhold  and if those things aren't carefully thought of pointed out in use is definitely the potential for serious injury to occur. When someone is ejected from a golf cart, the golf carts going 10, 15 miles per hour, particularly if they're on a paved path or roadway and the passenger gets ejected and lands with force on the pavement, nothing good happens out of that.

So not a dire message, but an alert message. I want everyone just to think about it. Be thoughtful when you use the golf cart. Be heads up, the passenger may not be aware you're turning so, you know, Hey, I'm turning, I'm slowing down, whatever. Enjoy them, but don't take them lightly.

Okay. I'm Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. If I can ever help you let me know. We represent cyclists across Florida. If you need me, I'll be there for you, just let me know if you need us for any other kind of injury. We're here to help you as well. So have a great day, be safe and enjoy it. Thank you. Goodbye.

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.