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Part 1: Golf cart craze spreads

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Instead of reinventing the wheel, towns copy each other

The Town of Colonial Beach makes a lasting impression on all visitors, but possibly on none more those from Caroline County. Widely known for being a golf cart community along with the Potomac River, Colonial Beach’s golf cart lifestyle motivated the council members from the Town of Bowling Green to create a similar environment.The Town began to use their golf carts in town under the new ordinance adopted on June 2, 2011.“I was having lunch with my family one Sunday and I saw all these golf carts going around the street,” said Mayor David Storke. “Families

The idea to have a golf cart community has spread across the nation and the Town of Colonial Beach has caused it’s own bit attention as well. (Photo by Tara Moy)

and children, everybody looked like they were having a good time. It just looked so inviting as a community…I said if it can work here, it can work at home.”Storke said what really helped the process was having the same town attorney as Colonial Beach in Andrea Erard and also the streets were within the state speed limit that is 25 mph. The next step was arranging a committe to investigate the idea.

“We had a public meeting, kicked it around in the paper a lot, got a lot of responses and positive feedback,” Storke said. “It was pretty painless…our town was just laid out perfectly for us.”

“You have just got to educate the constituents on what you are thinking about doing in a nonthreatening way…so people will learn about it ahead of time,” Storke added. “If we had any pushback [from the public] we wouldn’t have moved forward.”

Storke said while he is not a resident of Stratford Harbour, he believes both communities share a common idea, which is a break from the city or suburban areas.

“They want to get out of the fast-paced world,” Stroke said.

Some of the requirements of golf cart users are to have a town sticker, the vehicle be insured and inspected once a year.

“We did have concerns,” Storke said, referring to ideas of on-coming traffic with trucks. “But the law allows you to do more things risky now such as riding a bike down the street, or moped down the road, walk or run down the street, so the golf cart is no more dangerous than those things.”

“Just alleviate the safety concerns is the most important thing to say to folks,” Storke said. “If we have cars or trucks going too fast down our streets to begin with then there’s an enforcement problem; but a lot of people think that kids will be out on golf carts, nope you have to have  a driver’s license. It’s like driving a car.”

The biggest advice Storke offered is to educate everyone involved. Since then the mayor said he has enjoyed the idea coming to fruition.

“It’s been a good thing for us so far,” Storke said. “I bought a six-passenger cart because I have  my wife and four boys.”

“It was kind of weird at first…but it’s a lot of fun,” Storke added. “It’s just really neat.”

Storke has served as the town’s mayor since 2006 and has been a resident for 27 years. He is also a native of King George, ancestor to former owners of Stratford Hall and son to retired superintendent Dwight Storke of George Washington’s Birthplace.

As of February a total of 11 golf carts were issued town stickers.

“I wish some more folks would get a little more of them on board,” said resident and cart inspector Tim Lewis. “We still don’t have a bunch of them registered…if they had a golf cart, it would be a lot easier on them.”

Lewis said what’s convenient for some of Bowling Green’s residents with health issues is being able to travel to the store in the cart rather than walking.

One of Lewis’s recommendations for Stratford Harbour or other communities considering the thought of changing into a golf cart community, is to find willing people to inspect them and make sure the ones being operated are safe.

“I think it’s a good thing having the golf carts and just wish more people would do it,” Lewis said. “I thought it was a neat idea…we don’t have a beach, but we do have a park and other things for people to get to in town, so it’s kind of nice.”