A golf cart and a Jeep collided Friday afternoon on a public thoroughfare on St. Simons Island.
No serious injuries were reported.
The crash occurred at 3:19 p.m. when a teenager lost control while driving west through a curve on Demere Road and struck an eastbound Jeep Grand Cherokee, Glynn County police said.
County EMS workers transported four of the six people traveling in the golf cart to Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital, although none of the injuries turned out to be serious, police said.
The driver told police he lost control after the cart began swerving through the steep curve near the intersection with Old Demere Road, in front of the county’s island police precinct and county fire-rescue Station 2.
The woman driving the Jeep Grand Cherokee told police the cart struck the front bumper of her vehicle.
The golf cart ended up overturned on its side.
The teenager had a valid driver’s license, as is required to drive a golf cart, police said.
The cart had two seats in the front, two seats in the middle and two seats in the back, police said.
Police cited the 31-year-old woman for not having a valid license.
Police provided The News with information on the crash Tuesday, although the final report has not been cleared for release.
Photos from the crash began appearing on social media Friday afternoon, showing the overturned cart, stretchers, EMS workers and ambulances.
Debates about the long-standing tradition of golf carts on island roads began posting on Facebook and other mediums.
Golf carts are a common sight on island roadways year-round, though more so during the busy tourism season of the summer months.
While no one has been found at fault in the collision, the accident emphasizes the need for all to understand the rules of the road for this popular form of travel, said county police officer Earl Wilson.
A person behind the wheel of a golf cart on roadways must meet all the qualifications to drive as a person in a vehicle, beginning with being legally licensed to operate a vehicle, he said. Any golf cart on roadways must be insured and must have headlights, taillights, rearview mirrors, brake lights and turn signals.
Golf cart drivers must observe all traffic signs and signals. Drinking and driving a golf cart is still drinking and driving, and the driver is subject to arrest.
Glynn County ordinances recognize two kinds of motorized carts: those capable of traveling 25 mph or less (Low Speed Vehicles), and those capable of traveling 20 mph or less (Personal Transportation Vehicles). The faster carts cannot be driven on roadways with a speed limit exceeding 35 mph and the slower carts cannot be driven on roadways with a speed limit exceeding 25 mph.
“A golf cart is a vehicle by Georgia code and they have as much of a right to be on the streets as any other vehicle within the parameters laid out by law,” said Wilson, spokesman for the county police department. “They must abide by all rules of the road.”
Golf carts can be cited for impeding traffic as dictated by the posted speed limit. As a courtesy, golf cart drivers typically pull over periodically on busier island roadways to allow backed up vehiclar traffic to pass.
Golf carts may be fun and ideal for island hopping and trips to the beach, but they can be dangerous if misused, Wilson said. He urged parents to remind their licensed teenaged drivers and their young passengers of this fact.
“Any rules that apply to a teenager driving a vehicle apply to a teenager driving a golf cart,” Wilson said. “These vehicles are not toys. They are thousand-pound vehicles on the road at times with large pickups and semi-trailer trucks. They’ve got to treat them as transportation that comes with responsibility.”
Because golf carts have a legal right to be on the road, Wilson asks traditional motorists to be nice when encountering them on the roadways.
“Look out for golf carts, be patient with golf carts,” he said. “And be patient and mindful of bicyclists and motorcycles too, for that matter.”