Earlier this week I posted this article about two bills currently being considered that would let people drive golf carts on streets or in bike lanes and on sidewalks in Washington state.

In respone, blogger ‘Ventura’ said that it’s not a good idea to put a golf cart in the bike lane as it’s a plain and simple safety issue. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News agrees and printed the editorial below yesterday. The newspaper requires a subscription to view their website, so that’s why I didn’t provide a link.

So much for budget concerns. Two Washington state legislators have taken time from trying to patch the holes in a $2.6 billion deficit to introduce bills that would permit the use of golf carts on city streets.

We would like to wake from this bad dream now, please. Unfortunately, it’s all too true.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, authored a bill that would allow local jurisdictions to create golf-cart zones on low-speed streets. Rep. Tami Green, D-Lakewood, went much further when she introduced a measure that would allow the use of golf carts in bike lanes and on sidewalks throughout the state.

Golf carts are designed for use on golf courses by players who may have difficulty walking a 7,000-yard course, or those who want to play a faster round.

They have become popular transportation in some communities because they are easy and cheap to drive. The carts also can negotiate areas other vehicles shouldn’t.

Police throughout the state are allowed to ticket those who drive golf carts on the street. That’s how it should remain in areas used by the public.

Golf carts aren’t designed with the same safety features as a 5,000-pound automobile. The two colliding could result in serious injuries to the cart’s occupants – even at speeds of 25 mph or less. Factor in a heavier SUV or truck, and fatalities could result.

Green’s idea to allow carts on sidewalks and bike lanes is absurd. There’s a reason why sidewalks are usually restricted to pedestrian traffic. It’s a safety issue. The same is true with carts sharing lanes with bicycles. Besides, most carts are wider than the lanes dedicated to bikes.

We’ll admit the increased use of carts as an energy-saving transportation alternative makes sense. But little else does, including the potential for serious injury.

We suggest Haugen and Green go back to finding money to keep the state solvent rather than pandering to a small segment of the population who own golf carts on the west side.

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