Would you want to ride a golf cart down a city street? If Birmingham passes an ordinance allowing such vehicles to operate as taxis in the city, you might get your chance. Other cities, including Tuscaloosa, already allow low-speed transportation services such as these.
Current plans do not give the golf cart taxis designated travel lanes, which means they will be driving alongside cars, SUVs, vans, pickups and commercial trucks. Even at low speeds, an accident between these vehicles could be catastrophic.
Any type of open-air vehicle poses dangers to passengers, but the risk increases if it shares the road with cars and trucks. Open-air vehicles simply cannot provide any protection to passengers in a collision, leaving them vulnerable to serious or fatal injuries. They are especially dangerous if they roll over in an accident because passengers will come into direct contact with the ground.
Are the proposed regulations enough to keep people safe?
In its current draft, the proposed ordinance requires that low-speed vehicles such as golf carts:
- May not operate over 25 miles per hour
- Can only travel on streets that the city traffic engineer approves
- Must provide seatbelts for passengers
Even with these rules, passengers in golf cart taxis must consider how safe the ride is if they will be on regular city roads.
Because this issue is still under consideration, residents can express their ideas and concerns to the Birmingham City Council.