by Bruce Mulliken, Green Energy News
I’m out for a bike ride on glorious spring morning. I see a golf cart coming my way: Three on board, a women and two children. One of young girls is driving. She couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 and she’s grinning from ear to ear.
Her mom, if that’s who the woman on board was, didn’t seem to care that it’s not exactly legal to drive golf carts on county-owned streets. And I’m pretty sure 9 year olds aren’t supposed to be zipping around, passengers and all, in motorized vehicles on city streets either. (This wasn’t in a gated community.)
Low speed vehicles (LSV) are legal on some roads here in Florida as they are in the much of the United States. Yet, as above, many people cheat, and police look the other way, when people use golf carts on streets when they really should be driving a registered LSV.
LSV’s, which are usually battery powered, are a different breed than golf carts. Lights, a horn, seat belts and a safety glass windshield with wipers are required in this street legal class of vehicle.
Top speed is limited to 25 miles per hour (yet people cheat here too with speed mods) and they’re supposed to stay on streets with legal speed limits only slightly above what the vehicle can do. LSV drivers do show some common sense (or fear for their lives): I’ve almost never seen one on a busy roadway; even one with a fairly low speed limit. ( I have however seen them on adjacent sidewalks which, too, is likely against the law.)
From both personal observation and some hard data, the numbers of LSVs on the road are growing. Using LSV registrations as a guide, Small Vehicle Resource says,” For states with data for 2009 to 2012 registrations grew 39 percent over the time period. This includes data from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Annual growth was fairly stable ranging from 13 percent to 10 percent. Florida by far has the largest number of registered LSVs with nearly 6,000 as of 2012. The next closest is North Carolina with just over 1,600. These states have significant gated/retirement communities and summer vacation communities.”