What do they choose?

So let’s say you live in a smallish suburban town of ~30,000 and the town goes on a building spree of Multi-Use Paths. Over 90 miles of paths are built. Town ordinances are set up to allow the following users:

  • Pedestrians
  • Non-motorized vehicles
  • Roller skates, roller blades & skateboards (daylight only)
  • Registered golf carts (cannot exceed 20 mph)
  • Registered LSMVs in mode restricting vehicle speed to 20 mph or less (An LSMV is a four-wheeled electric vehicle whose top speed is between 20 mph and 25 mph and complies with federal motor vehicle safety standards for low-speed vehicles).
  • Emergency and authorized maintenance vehicles
  • Bicycles (traditional and electric)
  • Wheelchairs (conventional and electric)
  • Electric vehicles designed to carry one person at a speed of 20 mph or less, except as prohibited below.
  • Registered electric personal assistive mobility devices (EPAMDs)

Which of these is the most popular?

Golf Carts in Peachtree City

Golf Carts in Peachtree City

The town is Peachtree City, GA, a planned community. The overwhelming choice is the golf cart. There are over 9,000 registered carts, which comes out to about one per household. Over half the people that live there don’t play golf. The golf cart has become a primary source of transportation.

Accidents have become a problem, mostly because people don’t wear seat belts and fall out.

One more lesson that being anti-car doesn’t mean pro-bicycle. Given the choice, Americans choose ease and convenience.

6 replies
  1. Eric
    Eric says:

    I wonder what the people in the Netherlands would drive on their paths if golf carts were untaxed and legal.

  2. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    The Dutch have had problem with mopeds on their paths. I think they’re allowed, but they have problems with speeding. They’ve had to “traffic calm” some of their paths because of them.

    The “leaders” in Peachtree evidently believe anything that’s not a “full-fledged automobile” doesn’t belong on the roads. “Let’s get ’em all on those paths.”

  3. Kevin Love
    Kevin Love says:

    I spent quite some time in Peachtree City when I was a consultant for Avery-Dennison there. Yes, the path system is quite amazing. The hotel that I was staying at had electric golf carts for their guests to hire and I spent a few evenings driving one around the city. Yes, that makes me an official infrastructure geek.

    What impressed me the most was the intersection protection. There were no (yes, zero) level crossings over major arterial roads. All such crossings were on bridges or tunnels. I even saw a tunnel that was built as part of a new road for a new housing division to which the path network had not yet been connected.

    There were a few bicycles out on the system, but my rough impression is that there were at least five times more golf carts.

    What was most impressive was the local high school. The age to drive golf carts is younger that the age to drive cars. So a large number of secondary school students drive golf carts to school.

  4. Ed W
    Ed W says:

    Do they hot rod the golf carts? A 20 mph speed limit would be seen as a challenge to any tech-inclined school kid. I read of disabled teens doing software mods to powered wheelchairs, so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to guess that some of those golf carts can easily exceed 20 mph.

  5. JohnB
    JohnB says:

    What a great motivation to cycle vehicularly on the roads! 😉

    Hey, maybe this the magic strategy we’ve been looking for to promote vehicular cycling! Just encourage the public to drive golf carts on the multi-use paths! Drive them cyclists to the roads faster than you can say “John Forester”!

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