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Use of golf carts on island not a wise idea

April 11, 2012
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

I was the victim of a hit and run boat in Broward City in 1988, I have (among other things) an ankle that does not have normal range of motion on a foot that has all the bones fused, and a crooked knee that cannot be replaced. One foot is now smaller and the leg is shorter than the other. I believe I am a properly experienced advocate for these issues. As such I would like to tell you how unwise I believe it is to allow golf carts on the Pine Island exercise path.

The Broward Sheriff once deputized a group of seniors to issue tickets and do a study of disabled issues. The results of that study was that disabled parking laws are some of the most abused laws in Florida. Most of that abuse is from the registered owners or their relatives. To properly use the placard the registered user must be parked, and not in his or her car. This is not a driving permit for any vehicle. Anyone with a permit has a car.

I walked with a cane for 25 years, but after retiring my doctors told me that the only relief for my pain was to loose weight and to begin consistent exercise. I have lost 40 pounds partly from daily biking on the path from SJC some 12 miles a day. I still cannot walk or stand for more than 30 minutes. However I can walk from the parking lot to the grocery store, so I have not renewed my disability parking permit.

When people with or without disabled parking permits abuse the proposed rules (and in my experience they will) the rest of us will not be able to report them to the police as golf carts have no identification plates. I have had carts run up behind me while riding even though I ride much faster than most folks. There is not room to move over and let them pass without stopping and getting off the path. You can be assured there will be trouble. Golf carts are too slow for the roads and too fast for the sidewalk. In retirement communities where they are allowed they have their own lanes as they should. Pine Island is not a retirement community

The other issue is the physical nature of the exercise path. It is narrow and has no shoulders. As I write this there is a golf cart high centered on the bike path as the owner ran off the edge driving in the dark overnight without lights. A few months ago there was one broken down and wedged between the safety railings near the bridge over Saint James Creek, so that for three days we had to ride in the street. (Last winter I had a feral dog run at me and I went off the shoulder on my bike and even though I was wearing a helmet, I spent the night in hospital with no memory of the incident.)

When we use our hearts or gut instinct, we all want to support the Americans With Disabilities Act. But when we examine the nature of the issues and the facts, we will not be helping anyone who can get to the PO or grocery store in their car. And we will be creating situations the county sheriff will not have the manpower or time to deal with, as well as probable safety and legal problems when accidents occur.

Norm Stark

Year around resident St. James City



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