In Florida, golf carts take over from cars

  • 27/12/2015
In Florida, golf carts take over from cars

Each year, new cars get more powerful and more technologically advanced, but that sort of thing isn't for everybody.

In fact many people are now looking for a quieter and slower way to get around town.

After retiring to the villages in Florida, Gary Search didn't have to search far for the right ride. They're all over – golf carts.

His community caters to folks like Mr Search – 55 and older. It's crawling with low-speed electric vehicles. There are more carts than cars.

"With over 60,000 golf carts in the villages, it's a major form of transportation," says Mr Search.

His tricked-out candy-apple red "California roadster" looks more like a hot-rod and has safety features, too. 

"It's legal because it has a licence plate on it," he says.

He says they are they strict about patrolling the streets for golf carts.

"They are, for safety reasons. Because when you're driving a typical golf cart at those speeds, with the brake system, it's not safe for them. This cart has disc brakes on all four tires."

According to the Sumter County sheriff's office, over the past eight years, 16 people in the villages riding in golf carts have been killed in road accidents. Almost all of them were not wearing seatbelts and were ejected.

"We used to have two cars and two carts; now we only have the one car and two carts, and we have two street-legals," says retired New Yorker Tim Carroll.

Mr Carroll bought his first "street-legal" six years ago.

"You have to register just like a car, and you have to get insurance," he says.

Car insurance and seatbelts are required. The maximum speed limit is 40km/h.

"On occasion it does [feel less safe]," says Mr Carroll. "You have to be more aware when you're on the roads because obviously we're a smaller vehicle and cars think that you're a golf cart; they think that you're slower so they try to beat you through intersections."

LSVs, or low-speed vehicles, are on the fast track to being allowed on city streets in Los Angeles and New York, where politicians believe the future is slower. And, at least in Florida, it's cooler, too.

CBS News