Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

No traction for golf carts on Largo streets

Terry Williams, 67, would like to drive his golf cart legally on Largo roads, saying he could save money on gas. However, the city has safety and liability concerns.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Terry Williams, 67, would like to drive his golf cart legally on Largo roads, saying he could save money on gas. However, the city has safety and liability concerns.

LARGO — Terry Williams says he could have been sneaky about his golf cart use. He could have waited to make sure no police officers were around and zipped along back roads from his home on 139th Street N to the Walmart Neighborhood Market on Walsingham Road. The ride is about a mile, and Williams could save money on gas while picking up groceries.

The 67-year-old retiree wanted to be on the right side of the law, though, so he called Largo police and asked if it was legal to drive golf carts in the city. The desk sergeant said no.

"He said it's too dangerous," said Williams. "They have too many accidents. Well, that's an opinion, not a fact."

Williams is leading the charge for Largo to legalize golf carts on city streets. His charge hasn't gained much momentum, though. Largo police Chief John Carroll told city commissioners last week that he's not a fan of the idea, and commissioners didn't disagree.

"Our heavy traffic volume and high crash rate lead me to oppose such an endeavor," Carroll wrote city commissioners in an email April 4.

Williams' arguments in favor of golf cart use are simple. Gas prices are on the rise. Golf carts are allowed in communities across the state. Nearby Dunedin joined their ranks last year; city commissioners there approved golf carts on designated city streets starting last July. They haven't caused any safety problems there, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

"Our Dunedin patrol advised they have not seen one traffic crash related to a golf cart, nor have they issued any ordinance violations to golf cart operators," Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Tom Nestor wrote in an email.

Williams is puzzled about why golf carts are seen as more dangerous than pedestrians.

"What about people crossing the street? Or handicapped people in mechanized chairs?" he asked. "What makes a golf cart different?"

City Attorney Alan Zimmet explained to commissioners at their April 3 meeting what Largo would need to do to legalize golf carts on city streets. In addition to writing an ordinance, the city would probably have to run an inspection and permitting program, to ensure that golf carts have working brake lights, turn signals, etc.

Zimmet also warned commissioners of liability concerns in a follow-up email.

"Liability could arise if it is claimed that the city failed to maintain the roadways in a manner safe for golf carts," Zimmet wrote.

Those concerns were enough for city commissioners and, without their interest, Williams' hopes for legal grocery runs on his golf cart are dashed. He says he's not done trying to change commissioners' minds, though, and convince them that Chief Carroll's safety concerns are unwarranted.

"It's a quickly formed opinion, with no basis in fact," he said.

Will Hobson can be reached at (727)-445-4167 or [email protected] To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

No traction for golf carts on Largo streets 04/10/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 5:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102