Golf carts are widely regarded as a viable and responsible mode of transportation by the residents of Peachtree City, Georgia. Peachtree City is located just south of Atlanta, the state capital of Georgia, and features 100 miles of dedicated golf cart lanes for residents’ use. Slate reports that while the city’s population is 38,000, there are only 13,000 households, but 10,000 golf carts registered in the city. People who don’t drive golf carts in Peachtree might be the exception rather than the rule.
People now drive on what were once designated as bicycle lanes and scooter paths. It wasn’t until golf carts became popular, however, that the trend truly took off. In response to an increase in the number of people using golf carts for short trips, the city eventually paved the footpaths and made the multi-use paths 10 feet wide.
According to a recent Slate article, the fad is quickly spreading. Golf carts are widely used as an alternative mode of transportation in many U.S. states, including Florida, California, Arizona, and North Carolina.
Golf carts are not only common among senior citizens, but also among younger drivers. According to Mayor Kim Learnard of Peachtree City, teenagers can legally operate golf carts in the city if they are at least 16 years old, and many do so in order to visit friends who live close by. My curiosity about the subculture of golf cart tuners is piqued.
According to a Harvard study from 2015, golf carts may be the way of the future because they are more environmentally friendly than traditional public transportation and electric vehicles. Slate continues by saying golf carts can be powered in a variety of ways:
Carts can be gasoline or electrically powered and typically cost around $10,000. They’re much lighter and slower than a car, typically weighing between 500 and 1,100 pounds and traveling at under 20 miles per hour. Users can stay dry from the rain and the sun thanks to the roof, and there’s also an optional plastic enclosure.
While I agree that golf carts can be a practical transportation alternative in certain situations, I can’t help but feel that the list of golf cart advocates is missing the point that the rest of the world has already made: that smaller vehicles are superior to and more environmentally friendly than modern automobiles.
I can’t help but think of kei cars, which immediately come to mind, but which can be quite pricey. I’m referring to vehicles with only two or three wheels. Motorcycles are more maneuverable than golf carts, have a smaller carbon footprint than ICE vehicles, and can be as simple to ride as a bicycle. It’s possible that I’m just being biased. Motorcycles, scooters, and rickshaws have proven their worth on some of the largest and busiest city streets.
It’s encouraging to see progress in Peachtree City, but when will the rest of America’s cities begin to model themselves after those in Southeast Asia? Where in Georgia can I find a city where virtually no one rides a motorcycle, but the accident rate remains relatively low? In my opinion, the only advantage golf carts have over bicycles is their ability to carry four people; otherwise, golf carts are only safe in the presence of other golf carts. You won’t feel secure in a neighborhood full of pickups and SUVs. I appreciate what Peachtree City is doing, but I wish there were motorcycles involved. Let’s see some support for motorcycles in Georgia, please.
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