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Injured in a Golf Cart Accident? The Villages

Oldham & Smith May 8, 2023

Golf carts have quickly become a preferred method of transportation in residential communities throughout Florida, including places like The Villages®.  A few facts support the number of golf carts on the community's 100 miles of cart paths.  The U.S. Census Bureau, as posted on its Twitter page, shows the Villages as the country’s fastest-growing metro area this past decade, up 39% from 2010 to 2020.  

https://twitter.com/uscensusbureau  In addition, the most recent census counts approximately 79,077 residents, with 85.7% being 65 years or older. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/thevillagescdpflorida  Add to the mix the fact that there are over 50 golf courses in the area, and you can understand that a huge number of golf carts are moving around the area at all hours. Some estimates place the number of golf carts at between 70,000 and 100,00.  The residents love their golf carts so much that they set a Guinness Book of World Records mark on September 4th, 2005, for the largest golf cart parade involving 3,321 participants and raising $29,500 for different charities.  https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/

However, this rise in popularity also increases the amount of golf cart accidents. The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that there are 15,000 serious golf cart-related injuries every year. Unfortunately, Florida is one of the top-offending states for golf cart accidents.  A recent study compiled information about golf cart crashes in The Villages between 2011 and 2019 that tallied 875 golf cart-related accidents, an average of 136 crashes, 65 hospitalizations, and nine dead or disabled annually.   

What Causes Golf Cart Accidents? 

Here are the top causes of golf cart accidents in Florida:  

  • Negligent, intoxicated, or distracted driving. 

  • Speeding. 

  • Improper maintenance. 

  • Defective parts, such as faulty brakes (like the ones described in this Yamaha recall). 

  • Lack of safety features. 

  • Using golf carts in undesignated areas.  

Passenger ejection is one of the leading causes of serious injuries in golf cart accidents in Florida. Passenger ejections often occur when drivers make sharp left turns, propelling passengers to the right and throwing them from the vehicle. Seat belts aren’t required on golf carts because they are designed for frequent entering and exiting, which increases the risk of passenger ejection. Young children are at a greater risk of serious injuries from golf cart ejection.  

Actions Steps  

Seek medical attention immediately after your accident. Before leaving the accident scene, exchange information with the other driver and take pictures of the vehicle or property damage and your injuries. Auto insurance policies cover golf carts differently than other automobile accidents. It’s essential to contact an experienced golf cart attorney, like our team at Oldham & Smith, to ensure you’re compensated fairly for your injuries. We work hard to discover the details that led up to the accident and hold negligent parties responsible. We’ll also examine whether any safety laws were violated, such as driving a golf cart in a non-designated area or driving a road with a posted speed limit of more than 35 miles per hour.  

Golf Cart Safety  

You can do many things to decrease your risk of getting in a golf cart accident. First, never drive a golf cart while intoxicated or allow someone else to do so. Always practice safe driving—regardless of vehicle type—and be aware of your surroundings. Only drive golf carts in designated areas, such as specified “golf-cart friendly” zones. Many residential communities have their own regulations regarding when and where to drive golf carts, so check your local guidelines. 

Golf Carts vs. Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV’s) 

Understanding the differences is important and may save you dollars and jail time, as one Villager learned after being arrested, charged with a criminal offense, and paying $429.50.  According to FL Statute 320.01(22), golf carts are vehicles designed to be used on golf courses and other recreational facilities and should not exceed more than 20 miles per hour. They do not need to be licensed or registered, nor must they have many of the safety features other vehicles have. You also don’t need a driver’s license to drive a golf cart. However, to operate on a public Florida roadway, you must be 14 or older.  

On the other hand, low-speed vehicles are also referred to as “street-legal” golf carts. LSVs can drive on any public Florida roadway where the speed limit is less than 35 miles per hour. LSVs’ top speed should be between 20-25 miles per hour. LSVs must be licensed and registered with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and have valid insurance. LSVs also require various safety measures that golf carts don’t, such as turn signals, seatbelts, windshields, parking brakes, and head/taillights.  

Oldham & Smith: Lake County Golf Cart Accident Attorneys 

If you’ve been involved in a golf cart accident, seek medical care immediately. Then, contact our personal injury team to file a claim. We work diligently to ensure you receive all the compensation you’re entitled to for your accident. Call us at 352-744-7717 to discuss your case.