Feb., 2012 Bulletin
The POA believes that information regarding golf cart crashes and ejections should be publicized both by the District and The Villages Media. Many of us have been lulled into a false sense of security when we use our golf carts and therefore, many drivers AND PASSENGERS do not pay as much attention as they should while using them. If they had read about a passenger falling out of a golf cart when the driver made a quick turn or dodged something in the path because the passenger had not been paying attention to the road ahead, or that a golf cart driver going less than 15 mph in a golf cart lane shared with automobiles had become slightly distracted and bumped the curb which flipped the golf cart and ejected the driver out onto the pavement, etc,. we believe it would increase the respect for safety concerns that both drivers and passengers in golf cars should have when using them. Additionally, there are certain intersections and trail sections that are more dangerous (more crashes) and their identification to the public would serve as a warning to be overly cautious when traveling in those spots.
To date, we have been unable to get the Districts or the Villages Media to provide us with this important information. The POA would like to take this on as a challenge, but we will need your help. We are asking any resident who is involved in or actually comes upon the scene of a golf cart crash (no second hand reports, please) where there appears to be injuries or fatalities to email us (email@example.com) or send us at, THE POA, ATTN Golf Carts, 8736 SE 165th Mulberry Lane, PMB 111, The Villages, 32162, the following information:
(By Florida law, accident reports do not become public records for 60 days after the accident to shield those involved from unsolicited calls from attorneys, but when appropriate, we will follow up and request an accident report to get additional details which may be helpful for our residents to know.) It would be our intention to provide monthly reports in the Bulletin as well as to retain a data base that would be put on our web site. Thank you in advance for assisting us in this project.
March 2012 Bulletin
Golf Carts Can Kill
There is an active resident Work Group studying safety issues surrounding golf cart usage, but they can only deal with innuendos - no data appears to be available. The POA has been in contact with Sheriff's Departments in all three counties as well as the Chief of the Town of Lady Lake Police Department, and none of them have been tracking accidents related specifically to golf carts. However, all of them have agreed to begin working toward developing a monthly report of golf cart related incidents in The Villages. The POA has also commenced an effort to acquire past information from the Florida Highway Patrol which appears to be the only entity which even remotely tracks it by classification.
Below are letters from two residents who responded to our request last month to provide us with information about golf cart incidents that they were involved in or observed:
1) I was most interested to see your request for information about golf cart/auto accidents that have taken place in The Villages since my husband had such an accident 2 years ago (2/9/10 )at the Chatham gate while returning from a rained out golf game. He was 3/4 of the way across the road from the golf cart path behind the gatehouse, turning onto Legacy Lane when a car came thru the gate (he believes the gate was up due to the rain) and collided with his cart, hitting the rear right corner of the cart. It overturned and fell on top of him when he was ejected. I was not present but was told it took 3 men to help upend the cart and call 911. My husband suffered a fractured pelvis and head injuries which caused auditory hallucinations during his stay in The Villages hospital and subsequently while he was in rehab for 5 weeks and for several months afterward.. The person driving admitted that due to the crossing building and a large lilac bush behind it, he could not see the golf cart which was already underway coming across the road. He admitted to his insurance company that his vision was obstructed. We were
told that the next day all crossing gate guards received a letter from management that the gates (at which you have to come to a stop) are NOT to be left up, even in bad weather. The large lilac bush has since been removed and low shrubs have been planted in its place. However, The Villages disclaims any culpability and no news of this accident ever appeared in print. We have been told by a person that used to work at that gate that it was not the only accident that took place at that site but no one ever hears about them.
We hope this helps "the cause"......
Arnold & Elinor Levitt
2) I strongly concur with your views regarding the deliberate omissions of the Daily Sun regarding golf cart accidents in The Villages. With your request at heart, I will offer you details of my personal accident involving my golf cart the night of January 20, 2012:
At approximately 11:30 PM while returning home from employment and traveling west on Avenida Central at the intersection with Hickory Head Hammock, a pickup truck failed to heed the stop sign at Alonzo Drive, drove across Avenida Central and struck my golf cart at nearly a direct broadside angle. The golf cart was spun around and came to rest on its side and during this action I was ejected from the golf cart onto the pavement of Hickory Head Hammock. The offending vehicle fled the scene and was apprehended soon after. The driver was arrested for DUI and other offenses. I was transported to Villages Regional Hospital for evaluation and treatment. Fortunately, my injuries were minor and I am very lucky to still be among the living. I believe that a matter of inches and impact angle made all the difference. My golf cart was a total loss and fortunately insured for this type of damage. Another stroke of "luck" was that this accident occurred within the limits of Lady Lake, which resulted in their municipal police department's ability to investigate motor vehicle accidents without having to rely on the Florida Highway Patrol, which is the case in Sumter County (Also Lake and Marion). To my knowledge, my accident details never appeared in The Daily Sun. In addition, I have come upon golf cart accidents with injuries prior to emergency response arrivals and did not see any information published in the Daily Sun.
Daniel J. Leahy
GOLF CART CRASHES WITH INJURIES
Recent reports (ONLY THOSE THAT INVOLVED EJECTION, FALLING OUT OF THE GOLF CART, AND/OR INJURIES are provided) that we have received from Village residents, Sumter County Sheriff's Office, Town of Lady Lake Police Department and Public Safety (Note: we cannot guarantee that the information we receive is completely accurate about all the details.)
January 7, 2012 - 2:00 p.m. - On the wooden bridge between Morse Boulevard south gate and entrance to tunnel going under CR 466 - cart went off the bridge and landed on its side. - No injuries reported.
January 21, 2012 - 2:50 P.M. - On the Morse Boulevard cart path in the curvy area just east of the northern gate. Clear day, one way path, driver appeared inattentive and moving fast for the area, did not react to the curve and ran his front tires directly into the curbing - the cart,
weighted down by 3 adult passengers in the front seat - bounced backwards and both the driver and the passenger on the outside were ejected onto the ground. (The adult in the middle was not ejected.) Fortunately, both victims landed on their bodies rather than on their heads. (No knowledge of the injury status but an ambulance was present.)
January 23, 2012 - early afternoon - Single cart - Legacy Lane Just east of Chatham recreation center - cart ended in side yard with driver on the ground nearby trying to get up - (apparent ejection)
January 31, 2012 - 1:15 PM - Tunnel under Buena Vista between Savannah Center and Glenview CC - Minor injuries reported- ambulance was called. It was cart vs. tunnel. Patient said when he came around the corner, he thought he was going to hit another cart so he swerved out of the way and hit the tunnel wall.
February 8, 2012 - 9:20PM - Enrique Drive near Santiago gate - Driver was turning onto the cart path coming from Alhambra. She turned too sharply and fell out of the cart. She was removed and taken by ambulance. She was transported to the Villages Hospital with what appeared to be minor injuries.
February 8, 2012 - Crash involving a golf cart and a car at Morse and Fuentes. No reported injuries and no transport.
February 22, 2012 - crash between a Honda Accord and a golf cart on Morse Boulevard. The driver of the northbound golf cart had attempted to turn left onto Madero Drive when he drove into the path of a Honda Accord. The front of the Honda struck the right side of the golf cart and the 82 year old driver (the only occupant) was thrown (EJECTED) from the golf cart. The driver of the golf cart was cited for failure to yield to oncoming traffic. He was transported to Orlando Regional Medical center via helicopter in serious condition. (Daily Sun report)
April, 2012 Bulletin
Feb 29: Stillwater and Lockart: car vs. golf cart. Minor injuries but no transport.
March 6th : Belvedere and Churchill Downs: car vs. golf cart. Minor injuries but no transport.
March 16th - Golf cart turned over on its side on the recreation trail along Buena Vista Boulevard between Talley Ridge and Southern Trace. Slower cart was rear-ended by faster cart. Driver of slower cart fell from ('ejected') the cart with minor head injuries. Transported for examination.
March 18th - There was a crash on the recreation trail that runs parallel to CR 466 between Buena Vista and Morse Blvd. The location was approximately one to two miles east of Buena Vista. A Bicycle was struck by a golf cart and the biker was thrown onto the grass. Minor injuries. Ttransported for evaluation.
March 19th - Crash involving a golf cart and car at the intersection of Pennecamp and St. Charles. Eyewitness report: "Witnessed this one ourselves about 2:30 today. Cart turning
from Pennecamp Drive onto St. Charles pulled right in front of a big Lincoln heading on St Charles from Bailey Trail. Cart driver was alone and was ejected violently from the cart onto St. Charles pavement. The Lincoln had just passed us in our golf cart and did not appear to be going at an excessive speed. It appeared to be trying to veer into its oncoming lane to avoid the cart collision." The male driver of the golf cart was taken by helicopter to Orlando Regional in serious condition and the female passenger in the Lincoln was taken to The Villages Hospital in stable condition at the time.
March 19: Rio Grande and Alameda. Car vs. golf cart. Minor injuries to golf cart driver. Transported for evaluation.
March 19th - Golf cart struck a bicycle at Turnberry Forest and Buena Vista According to Public Safety officials witnesses reported that the golf cart struck the bicyclist who was thrown from the bicycle, then the golf cart's driver backed up and struck the man while he was on the ground, and bystanders helped move the cart off the injured man's chest. A "non-trauma alert." was called which is generally a patient who has injuries that need some special care that might not be available at either Villages or Leesburg. The patient was in serious condition and was flown to Orlando.
DANGEROUS LOCATION: There have been at least four major golf cart incidents coming out of the Saddlebrook/CR 466 tunnel at Laurel Manor. The driver needs to turn left, but the passenger - if not restrained - literally "goes" right --- right out of the cart and onto the pavement.
('EJECTION')This is likely caused by the fact that you go "lickity split" down the tunnel path and then come to the other side where you can only turn left. If the passenger is not paying attention (and is not belted in), the passenger frequently comes out of the cart.
Golf cart crash incident reports from residents who were involved in the crashes:
1) I was travelling eastbound on the recreation trail along El Camino Real. As I crossed the Santiago Gate area, the light was red for auto traffic exiting the gate onto El Camino. My cart was the fourth in a group of carts crossing. An elderly lady driving a small car came through the gate (her view of the golf cart path traffic to the left was obstructed by an SUV in the left exiting lane) and hit my cart on the right rear side. (My conjecture is that she was looking up at the light and never saw my cart) The cart rolled over on its side, and my foot was pinned under it. I suffered a severe laceration in the heel, and a broken great toe. Three passers-by lifted the cart off my foot, and I was able to get to the side of the road from which I was transported to The Villages Hospital ER. My injury required that my foot be non-weight bearing for 6 weeks. I was wearing a seat belt or I would clearly have been ejected and possibly have suffered more serious injury. The other driver was cited for failing to yield the right of way.
2)While driving my cart, I was distracted by a vehicle exiting the Morse Boulevard gate and consequently I struck a steel pipe used to protect a lighting fixture located in the MIDDLE of the cart path at the Morse Boulevard North gate. I was traveling towards Spanish Springs at about 8:15 AM. I struck the pipe at an estimated 10 mph . The steering wheel of the cart struck me in the abdomen and chest areas and I was ejected from the cart. My cart did not have seat belts installed. I was transported
to The Villages Hospital, given an exam and had a CT scan taken. The ER doctor said I was fine except for some severe bruising and I was sent home with a prescription for pain pills. However, in days and ER visits to follow, I was eventually diagnosed with a stomach tear that was leaking raw bile into my abdominal cavity causing a life-threatening condition. Following this surgery, I was given less than a 50/50 chance of survival while in the ICU unit. Guess What???, My new golf cart has seat belts !!! Keep in mind that these injuries occurred at about half the full speed (19.5 mph) of an unmodified cart. In addition to my injuries, my cart was destroyed.
I cannot be more emphatic when I urge every cart owner in the Villages to install seat belts in their carts. They could make the difference literally between minor occupant injuries, and serious injuries or death.
William A. Oster
3) My husband had a golf cart accident. He was driving down Morse Blvd. toward Colony Cottage Rec Center when a golf cart came out of the tunnel. It stopped for a second and then pulled out in front of him. My husband tried to stop his cart but the ground was wet and it skidded and the cart tipped over on top of him. Fortunately, a foot caught in the handle. It took three men to get the cart off of him. To the best of our knowledge the other driver never stopped. My husband was taken to the ER at The Villages Hospital.
May, 2012 Bulletin
Feb. 29th - A female driving a golf cart at full speed when exiting the pool/mailbox drive near Stillwater and Lockheart, apparently didn't see the golf cart approaching from her left. She T-boned it and knocked it over on its left side. (She was cited for violation of right of way.) The driver of the vehicle that was T-boned and his passenger had to be assisted in getting out of the vehicle by rescue personnel. The passenger was transported to The Villages Hospital. March 24th Summerhill - Davenport Road at Idlewood - Golf cart driver not paying attention to where he was going and crashed into another vehicle. Driver fell from the cart onto the pavement and his cart ended up in someone's yard. Minor injuries. Driver transported to Villages Hospital for evaluation/treatment. (This happened during a 40 home garage sale in Summerhill - Reporter advised that carts were driving all over Summerhill, following balloons and signs, crossing the road without looking etc.)
March 28th - Incident occurred on the cart path approaching Cane Garden with the closest cross street being Bailey Trail. The driver advised that his brother was sitting next to him, holding his Granddaughter on his lap. The driver said a gust of wind came through knocking his brother's hat off. The brother reached up for the hat and loosened his grip on the child who had been very animated while riding in the cart. Driver said she jumped from her brother's lap, off from the cart. She was taken to the hospital by EMS with what appeared to be minor abrasions to her forehead.
April 2nd - Incident at El Camino Real near Morse. Cart driver ran into the back of a car. She stated that she wasn't paying attention. She fell put of her cart and skinned her knees and had a small laceration on her elbow. She refused transport.
April 5th - Two vehicle crash at approximately 4:45PM involving a golf cart and an automobile near the intersection of Morse Boulevard and San Marino Drive. The cart was knocked on its side and the driver of the golf cart either fell out or was ejected. He was moved to the ambulance and taken to The Villages Hospital with the siren on with what the Daily Sun described as minor injuries. A passerby observed that the front bumper was off of the car which appeared to have been going south on Morse Boulevard, and a second one advised that it appeared that a Scion XB and a Par Car collided when one was attempting a left turn toward Tierra del Sol. (We have no further details on the circumstances of the crash.)
April 16th - Incident on the golf cart path directly behind the Lange Eye Institute on CR 101. Driver of golf cart V1 was treated by EMS for laceration on right leg. He advised while northbound on the cart path he hit the curb and lost control of the cart. He said he was unable to negotiate the corner and ran into golf cart V2 . Driver of V2 was not injured.
Golf cart crash incident report from residents who were involved in a crash:
1) On February 14 at about 10 am I was driving my golf cart on east St. Charles Pl. toward Sandhill . A landscaper's pick-up with a 20 ft. trailer was traveling W on St. Charles Place intending to make a left turn onto Ashville Ave (across from Sterling Heights rec. center). As the pick-up approached the intersection, an east bound van stopped in the roadway of St. Charles to let the pick-up make the left turn. My golf cart was eastbound in the designated cart lane approaching the intersection and was intending to continue on St. Charles when the pick-up turned left in front of me. (Because the van was blocking his view of the golf cart lane, the landscaper didn't see me, nor did I see him until he was about 5 feet in front of me.) I applied the brakes and skidded sideways into the back of the pick-up and was partially ejected and the right side of my body hit the pick-up. I was taken by ambulance to the Villages hospital. Because of the force with which my body hit the pick-up, I had a comminuted and displaced fracture of the scapula (shoulder blade) in addition to deep lacerations on my right leg. The driver of the pick-up was issued a citation for violation of the right of way.
2)March 9th crash - I was traveling alone from Lake Sumter Landing to my home in Buttonwood at about 12:20 pm on March 9, 2012. I was on the modal path southbound on the east side of Buena Vista heading towards Lake Miona Recreation Center. Just after my turn from going west to going south, I was distracted for a few seconds by several tractors going northbound on Buena Vista Boulevard.
The right front wheel of my golf cart hit a significantly "built-up" curb (apparently installed to protect an oak tree) which encroaches onto the modal path. The golf cart raised up several inches on the right hand side, and I was thrown from the cart onto the pavement. My glasses
went flying down the pavement, the cart came to rest in bushes on the left side of the path, and I received significant injuries. Several people in golf carts stopped and assisted me. I went to the Urgent Care at Lake Sumter Landing where the staff cleaned me up and bandaged both knees, both elbows, and the palms of both hands. They X-rayed the left ankle, left knee and left shoulder. They detected no broken bones. My wife came to the Center and took me home. A week later I felt pain on the left side of my chest. I went to Patient First Care where they X-rayed my left side and discovered that two of my ribs were broken.
Several days later I made some phone calls to see who should be made aware of what had happened and if something could be done to alert drivers to this potentially dangerous area. I was directed to Ms. Deborah Franklin, Director, Human Resources and Risk Management, at Village Community Development Districts, and she immediately met with me and we went to the accident site. She then contacted appropriate staff at District Property Management, and they have installed several reflectors on these raised curbs. I, for one at least, am very impressed with their efforts and the quick response.
June, 2012 Bulletin
April 16th - Vehicle 1 (golf cart) was traveling north on Morse Blvd in the golf cart lane near Navarro Ct. with Vehicle 2 (car). According to the driver of V1 she realized she was traveling in the wrong direction for her destination and decided to turn around and go the other way. She stated she stopped and looked for cars, turned left into the vehicle travel lane and was struck by V2. Golf cart driver was injured and transported to Villages Hospital. She was cited for violation of right of way.
April 17th - A crash occurred at the golf cart tunnel located at S. Morse Blvd. and Stillwater Trail involving a golf cart and a bicyclist who was injured. The bicyclist was northbound entering the tunnel area of the cart path when a golf cart turned in front of her attempting to go through the tunnel. She was unable to stop and struck the cart in the side causing her to fall. She received abrasions to her face, arms and legs. She was ambulatory, but she was transported to the Villages hospital for further medical attention.
April 28th - 88 year old male was going to make a left hand turn in his golf cart when he was struck by a car. He could not remember what happened after the impact. He was either turning left onto Oak Meadows from Avenida or turning left onto Avenida from Oak Meadows. He was found lying in the middle of the road, having been thrown from the golf cart. Because of his memory loss, a laceration to the head and other trauma, he was 'trauma alerted' and flown to Orlando Regional Hospital.
May 2nd - Both subjects were driving their golf carts on the golf cart path at the intersection of S. Talley Ridge and Buena Vista Boulevard. V1 was on the Tally Ridge path eastbound while V2 was on the Buena Vista path southbound. As V2 turned right onto the
Talley Ridge path, V1 turned left onto the Buena Vista path cutting the corner too short and collided with the front of V2. The driver of V1 suffered injuries to her face when the windshield of her vehicle came loose and struck her. She was transported to the Villages hospital. As this occurred on private property, no traffic crash report was done and no citations were issued.
May 18th - A car t-boned a golf cart. Vehicle 1 (V1) was traveling westbound on Southern Star Way approaching the intersection of St. Charles Place. Vehicle 2 (V2) - golf cart - entered the intersection via the northbound golf cart lane. V1 did not stop at the stop sign for her traffic lane and the left front of her vehicle collided with right side of V2. The passenger of V2 was partially ejected and sustained serious injuries to her lower extremities during the collision. She was trauma flighted to Orlando Regional. The driver of V2 sustained lacerations to his head and was transported to the Villages hospital. The driver of V1 did not sustain any injuries and was cited for failure to stop at a stop sign.
Golf cart crash incident reports from residents who were involved in a crash:
March 18th - I was a passenger when I was involved in an accident on the cart path going south on Morse Blvd. at about 10 PM. My husband was driving and slowed down and hugged the right side of the path as he saw a golf cart coming through the tunnel from the opposite direction. All of a sudden the other cart hit our cart head on on the drivers side. I was thrown forward into the rear view mirror and windshield, then I came backward and was thrown out of the cart on the passenger side onto the grass. Police were called and I was taken to the hospital by ambulance. I received five staples on my head and cuts above my eye. I also injured my knee. The driver of the other car said he was sorry, that he had only put his head down for a second. Now I wear a seat belt and shoulder strap whenever I'm in the cart. I never would have thought that someone could get hurt or even killed going at such a slow speed. I just cringe and just want to yell at other golf cart drivers when I see them letting babies and toddlers sit on their laps in the front seats of their carts. I think it should be a law that all golf carts should have seat belts and all passengers must use them.
April 24th - My wife was involved in a golf cart accident @ 3:21PM in front of Riley Grove starter shack on the recreation trail by Buena Vista. She was traveling south when struck in the rear by a cart driven from the grass strip. The description on the accident report says the driver was southbound when the passenger's hat blew off. He pulled to the right side, retrieved the hat, and attempted to re-enter southbound traffic. My wife was struck in the passenger side rear wheel, causing the cart to flip over on the driver's side. She was ejected onto the roadway. Fire department people were first there and took her to the Villages emergency room. She had no broken bones, but cuts and abrasions on head, arms, hip, legs, and feet. The cart appears totaled.
July, 2012 Bulletin
May 24th - 5:30 PM - Single golf cart in the tunnel at Buena Vista and Bailey Trail. Cart driver cut the corner too sharply and the cart tipped over. Her leg wound up under the cart and was lifted from her by bystanders. No major injuries, but she was transported for evaluation.
June 1st - Vehicle #2 (V2) which was a golf cart was traveling westbound in the golf cart lane on Rio Grande Avenue approaching the intersection of Lisbon Lane. Vehicle #1 (V1) which was also a golf cart was stopped at the stop sign facing southbound on Lisbon Lane at the intersection of Rio Grande. V1 failed to yield the right of way to V2 which caused the left front of V1 to strike the right rear tire of V2. V2 then flipped over onto its side coming to rest in the middle of the intersection. The driver of V1 stated that the blinker to turn right (north) onto Lisbon Lane was activated and she thought he was going to turn so she pulled out into traffic. The driver of V2 was removed from the cart and transported to the Villages Hospital. The driver of V1 was cited for failing to yield the right of way.
June 11th - 5:15 PM - Single golf cart crash at approximately 5;15 PM on the cart path that runs alongside Buena Vista Boulevard, just beyond the Ambassador Shack on the Riley golf cart path. It was between the "Shack' and the cart path you would turn right on to go down to the Palmer driving range. Driver on the rec trail was headed home. He passed out while driving and drove off the path into the bushes and a fence. Driver stated that he had been playing golf all day but said that he had been drinking water. No major injuries. He was sitting up in the cart when Public Safety arrived. He was transported to the hospital for evaluation and the golf cart was towed away.
August, 2012 Bulletin
June 20th - 1:50pm - Parr Drive at the Bank of America. Golf cart pulled out onto Parr Drive into the path of an oncoming car. Minor damage. Minor injuries. No ejection.
June 20th - 3:40pm - Location - the tunnel under CR 466 at Laurel Manor. Actually, a golf cart came down the path to turn into the tunnel headed north and immediately found an automobile in the tunnel. It so took him aback, that he jammed the brakes, cranked the steering wheel and overturned the cart. He did not hit the car. The cart driver was dumped out of his cart and had some minor abrasions and ankle pain, but signed a treatment refusal. Evidently the auto driver thought he was in the right place until he got half way through the tunnel.
June 20th - 9:57pm - Incident on the golf cart path at Buena Vista and Bailey Trail. Driver made a hard turn and flipped the golf cart on its side. The driver was dumped out of the cart but denied any injury.
June 27th - 10:15pm - Three teen-age males were driving a golf cart through the Sweet Bay parking lot when it flipped onto its side. The police report stated that the golf cart was on its four wheels and it had extensive damage (estimated at $1500) when he arrived. The young men
stated that it tipped over but they placed it back onto its wheels prior to the arrival of law enforcement. The driver had a minor cut on his cheek, all three had scrapes, but declined medical attention. An independent witness confirmed to the officer that the cart tipped over as the driver made a left turn in the parking lot. (Tire marks on the pavement indicate that some action other than a simple left hand turn might have caused the crash.) The driver's grandfather was contacted and the golf cart was towed home.
July 10th - 11:25am - A 93 year old male was operating a golf cart east bound on the golf cart path that parallels Colony Boulevard east of Morse Blvd. The driver lost control of the golf cart, hit the curb and then went into the wooden fence on the north side of the path. According to a witness the golf cart then overturned. EMS responded, advised that the driver appeared to have gotten overheated, and transported him to the Villages Regional Hospital. (NOTE: This is the second crash we have reported which appears to be related to dehydration effects on the driver. --According to the lead author of one study, older people are more susceptible to dehydration. That's because, after age 50 or so, our ability to recognize thirst decreases and our kidneys lose some of their precision in regulating the body's water supply, says Lawrence Armstrong, a researcher with the University of Connecticut Human Performance Laboratory. Some common medications add to the problem, including diuretics (taken for high blood pressure), antihistamines and certain psychiatric drugs. Finally, people who start drinking less because of bladder control problems are at even higher risk. Know the symptoms before you get behind the wheel.
September, 2012 Bulletin
Wednesday, July 18th - 5:00PM - A 74 year old female was operating her golf cart southbound on the Buena Vista cart path near the intersection of Odell Circle. She came around a curve in heavy rain and lost control. The cart slid on the slippery surface and tipped over. The operator fell out of the cart and struck her head receiving, minor lacerations. She was transported to The Villages Regional Hospital.
Sunday, July 22nd - 6:00 PM - A bicycle - golf cart crash on the golf cart path that runs parallel to Morse Boulevard just south of O'Dell. The golf cart was traveling east through the tunnel approaching the golf cart path. As the operator was exiting the tunnel he slowed down , but did not stop, and made a right hand turn onto the cart path after he did not see anyone coming. He traveled a short distance and was in the process of turning left when he first saw the bicyclist trying to pass him on the left and the two collided. The bicyclist had abrasions and shoulder soreness, but refused medical transport.
Tuesday, July 24th - 7:00 PM - Two vehicle collision involving a golf cart and a 2005 Hyundai. The Hyundai was northbound on Paige Place between Main Street and the Mira Mar
bridge. The 78 year old male golf cart operator was southbound on Paige Place toward Main Street and suddenly veered left into the side of the Hyundai. Upon impact the golf cart operator was thrown or fell out of the cart and was seriously injured, including head trauma, and was flown to Orlando Regional Medical Trauma center.
Thursday, August 9th - FATALITY - Incident occurred at Del Mar and Panama Place in the evening. Two young men (both 22) in a golf cart. One was driving and the Lady Lake Police Department is still investigating the incident to determine whether the passenger was standing up or sitting in the cart while it was going down the street, the speed of the cart, whether or not alcohol was involved, etc. The passenger lost his balance (and/or grasp) and wound up falling onto the pavement head first. Unconscious and bleeding from orifices in the head, he was flown to Orlando Medical Center's Trauma Unit, but did not survive.
Saturday, August 11th - 8:30 P.M. FATALITY - A male resident of Calumet Village, aged 70, was a passenger in a cart being driven by another Villages resident in the roundabout at Buena Vista Boulevard and El Camino Real. As the operator drove the cart through the roundabout in the outside lane, the Calumet Village passenger fell out of the cart and struck his head on the curb. He was taken to the Villages Medical Center where he died of his injuries.
ARE YOU SAFER IN A SEAT BELT?
In a 1998 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, it stated that, discussions with various manufacturers and vendorsproduced an essentially unanimous viewpoint on the subject of safety restraints on a golf cart. They viewed them as a potentially dangerous accessory and a definite legal/litigation liability for the low speeds and uneven terrain that is a golf cart's typical OPERATING ENVIRONMENT. Their perception was that it is generally preferable to step from or be thrown from a golf cart that is starting to roll over than to be strapped to the vehicle. The sculpted or hilly terrain of many golf courses, results in a fairly high propensity for tipping and rolling, which can occur at very low speeds. This hazard is aggravated at golf courses that incorporate hilly terrain with steep, narrow golf cart paths and sharp turns. (See picture below.)
However, a review of golf cart crashes in The Villages confirms safety experts recent statements which indicate rollovers are most common on hilly golf courses, not on streets, and most of those involve a cart turning on its side, not upside down. See picture below.
Other common scenarios for golf cart ejections of both the operator and any passenger are when an occupied golf cart collides with a stationary object; collides with another golf cart, automobile or truck; and when an inattentive driver hits the curb and flips the cart If you have been reading the POA Bulletin, you should be well aware of the many golf cart crashes that involve ejections that are occurring on our Villages roadways and the serious
injuries that have resulted. Would a seat belt have made a difference? You be the judge. Note, however, that we have not been able to identify any reported crashes in The Villages which have involved a rollover in which the use of a seatbelt would most likely have been a liability.
We asked Capt. Lazenby, Director of The Villages Public Safety Department if he was aware of any rollover golf cart crashes on our roadways. He replied that he had gone through the records for the past 15 months for us and could not find any golf cart rollovers - certainly none where the cart wound up on its roof. He further advised that, " …generally, because of the construction of the cart, it won't sustain a roll-over. The superstructure that holds the roof of the cart will bend too easily and won't allow the cart to roll up on its roof. In many cases, we find carts that are on their side and the roof superstructure is severely bent; obviously the cart was headed for a roll-over and the roof support prevented it from going the rest of the way. In a number of these cases, these are accidents where the driver (and/or passenger) has been ejected or dumped out of the cart. In some cases, the cart winds up on the victim. But, here again, in many cases we don't see this. Bystanders have frequently removed the cart from the victim."
A golf cart is defined as a motor vehicle that is designed for operation on a golf course or for sporting or recreation and is not capable of exceeding 20 mph.
A LSV is defined as a four-wheel electric vehicle whose top speed is greater than 20 mph, but less than 25 mph.
Golf carts may operate on Villages streets where the speed limit is 30 mph or less.
LSV may operate on streets where the posted limit is 35 mph or less.
The operator of a golf cart does not have to be a licensed driver, the driver must be over 14years of age. The operator of an LSVmust be a licensed driver.
NOTE THERE IS ONLY A FIVE (5) MPH DIFFERENCE ON SPEED CAPABILITY AND SPEED LIMITS THEY CAN BE USED WITH. YET, THERE ARE SPECIFIC SAFETY REQUIREMENTS, IN PARTICULAR, SEAT BELTS, THE USE OF WHICH ARE REQUIRED FOR OPERATORS AND PASSENGERS OF LSV'S.
P.S. We recently attended the VHA Golf Car/Cart Safety class and were disappointed to see that:
a) They did not at least address the fact that there have been no golf cart rollovers in the Villages, (The film they showed prior to the open discussion advised that using a seat belt was more likely to result in serious injury or death in rollovers because it would prevent the occupant from jumping out of the cart and were not recommended by golf car manufacturers.)
b) They did not advise class participants that on streets and trails in The Villages (vs. golf courses) there have been a significant number of serious injuries and fatalities in accidents where the occupant(s) in the golf cart were ejected onto the pavement, and
c) Needless to say, they did not suggest that residents might want to at least consider installing seat belts in their golf carts.
Letter - seat belt installers
It would be wonderful if you could have someone research the topic and print it in the Bulletin. It would be a great service to the residents.
Thank you very much.
Editor's Note: The Villages Phone Directory has some 25+ business listings, with another 15+ listed, on a daily basis, in the "SERVICE DIRECTORY" section of the Daily Sun Directory offering Golf Car Services. Most all of them, with the exception of a few who are most likely a manufacturer's representative, will install seat belts.
There are two main types of seat belts - those that are 'RETRACTABLE' and those that lay across the seat which are referred to as 'LOOP seat belts'. There are major differences between the two. Most all of the advertised service companies will install the 'loop' seat belts, as they are less costly to purchase and/or to install. If 'retractable' belts are desired, please call your preferred service provider for cost information. All of the service providers claim to have both in stock. The average cost for the loop belts are $20.00 to $30.00 per installed pair. Please be aware that some of the service providers will require pick-up/delivery of your cart, while others will complete the work on site or at your home. The most cost effective scenario will be to drive your cart to a provider that is golf cart accessible on the Villages property where you can call to make an appointment to have them install the belts while you wait.
We do not recommend it, but if you want to install the belts yourself, it can be done and there are over 200 sites online that you can search with the key words "seat belt accessories". You can find 'retractable' ones for under $30.00 each and 'loop' ones for under $15.00 for the pair. In talking with a few of these online companies the installation kits come complete with instructions and various installation options. We were told that it would require 45-60 minutes to install a pair of belts. In some installations drilling into the frame would be required for stability. Do your research first, as your cart may require a special installation process. You can go to your manufactures web site and search for seat belts for your specific make/model.