Golf cart related injuries are a significant national public health problem. A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported on 148,000 golf cart related injuries. The study found that most of these accidents involve children with injuries that include skull fractures, paraplegia, and death.
Boca Grande is not immune from golf cart related injuries. Every year fractures, abrasions and lacerations resulting from golf cart accidents are seen at the Boca Grande Health Clinic. More serious injuries have required evacuation to neighboring hospitals.
During holiday periods bike path usage and safety concerns peak and, as many of you have observed, small children below the age of 14 are driving golf carts, and some teenagers and young adults drive recklessly, endangering not just themselves but everyone else using the bike path.
A most-frequent complaint involves near misses as golf carts and bicycles silently come from behind and speed past walkers.
To address this problem and make our bike path even safer we are pleased that the Lee County’s Sheriff’s Department will increase the manpower patrolling the bike path and downtown area during peak periods throughout the year. The GICIA is underwriting this program with the help of a grant from the Boca Grande Woman’s Club. The safety patrol will increase our local deputies’ visibility and interaction with the residents of Boca Grande.
The GICIA’s objective is to make the bike path safer for all our residents and, in particular, our children and grandchildren. The deputies’ primary focus will be eliminating dangerous and reckless operation of a golf cart or bicycle by anyone. They will also be on alert for golf cart drivers under the age of 14.
Success can only be achieved by the support and efforts of parents and grandparents who insure that their children below the age of 14 do not get behind the wheel of their golf cart. Success also requires that everyone needs to slow down, prepare to stop, and warn walkers when approaching from behind with a clear “passing on your left!” announcement.
With your help we can make our bike path not only beautiful but safer for everyone who uses it.
Misty NicholsGasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association, Inc. (GICIA)Executive DirectorBoca Grande
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