Can golf cart safety be improved in Peachtree City?

With school letting out and summer weather beckoning, Peachtree City’s multi-use paths, streets and parking lots will be buzzing with golf carts. There are more than 10,000 registered gas- and electric-powered carts in the city, cruising through more than 100 miles of paths.

In January, the Peachtree City Police Department reported a 33 percent increase in cart-related accidents in 2016, mostly involving teenagers. Social media posts in Peachtree City often cite incidents in which (mostly young) golf cart drivers blow past pedestrians without slowing down. This can be especially hazardous for dog walkers if the animals are on longer, less visible retractable leashes.

The city’s updated brochure regarding golf cart use includes multiple safety warnings. Carts are not supposed to go more than 20 mph, and drivers are required to use a “horn or other audible signal” when approaching pedestrians from behind. Unlike pedestrians, golf carts do not have the right of way in crosswalks, paths or roads. Violators can be fined or face other consequences.

In February, city resident Susan Buekes approached the mayor, city manager and City Council asking that horns be made mandatory on all carts, saying that Title 40 of the Georgia Code requires horns on any personal transportation vehicle driven at night. City Manager Jon Rorie replied that the current ordinance requiring audible warnings is sufficient, and that horn use would be hard to enforce. The city is handing out free bicycle bells (that can also be used on carts) with a reminder sticker reading, “Audible Signal Required.”

Rorie said that horns alone cannot guarantee pedestrian safety, particularly if someone is using headphones or earbuds and can’t hear audible warnings. “Pedestrians also bear some of the responsibility for their safety on our paths,” he wrote Buekes. “Some common…

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