Last month we talked about how some parts of the country are introducing more relaxed changes to golf car laws and some are tightening the reigns on golf cars. As golf cars become more popular as an economical and environmentally conscious way to travel short distances, local laws are not necessarily accommodating. If your community or town does not permit the use of golf cars, what can you do to change that?
Several communities across the country, like Sun City, Arizona and Cumming, Georgia, have petitioned their local and state governments to change golf car laws and have been successful. Here is how they did it:
1. Understand the Current Law
Read local and state laws about the use of golf cars and thoroughly understand what they mean. It is helpful to enlist the assistance of a local lawyer. Make sure that you have a firm grasp on what the local laws are and why they are in place. Understand whether the change will be made on a state or local level.
2. Be Clear About the Change
What would you and your community member like to see change? And why? If you want to drive your golf car to the local Walmart and will need to cross a street, perhaps you want the laws to allow for the crossing of a thoroughfare. If you would like to drive freely on low speed roadways, determine how many roadways that will affect in your community. Whatever change you would like to see, make sure that you are clear about it, which regulations currently apply, and understand the implications of what you are requesting.
3. Gain Support
There is power in numbers. Raise awareness within your community through newspapers and local businesses and organize support for the law change. A few examples of how to do this are:
• Post on the local golf course website.
• Publish an opinion article in the local newspaper.
• Issue a statement to the press about your concerns and the change you would like to make.
• Create a group on social media.
• Create a petition, either physically or online to present to lawmakers.
Clearly state your argument against the current regulations, why it should change and how many golf car drivers it will benefit. Be prepared to overcome the objections of those who will oppose your position.
4. Get Political
Determine whether your proposed change is a neighborhood, community, county, or state issue. Attend a town hall meeting, visit your city, county or state representative and plead your case. Contacting decision makers in person is always best, but calling or emailing can be effective also. State your proposed change, the reasons for it, who is affected, and why. Be clear, concise, and firm. It only takes one government advocate who agrees with your stance to push the change forward.
5. Be Persistent
Change does not happen overnight. But when citizens mobilize for a common cause and make themselves heard, they get results. The residents of Sun City influenced their governor to pass a bill allowing golf cars to be driven to the side of auto traffic on main roads within a year. Once a group convinces a representative to sponsor the law, things can move pretty quickly, so don’t give up.
As golf cars increasingly become the preferred method of transportation in communities across the country, adjustments in law will follow. When safe, responsible golf car owners stand up and fight for more flexible golf car laws, policy makers will listen.
About the Author: The Founder/Former Owner of WHEELZ Custom Carts & Accessories, Julie Starr, was one of the industry’s first online retailers of golf car products. The eCommerce store, www.WHEELZLLC.com, has served golf car owners since 2008 and remains a popular online shopping experience for golf car owners who want to take their golf cars to the next level.