The Villages Voice - August 2010

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VHA Regions 5 & 8 Regional Report

by Chuck Wildzunas

Villages Voice Report for Region 5 & 8

Now that summer is “officially” here, the number of our younger visitors really increases.  For most of us, heading out in our carts is no different than getting in our cars.  But, for those visitors, it’s just as good as the Dumbo ride at Disney World.  Safety is the farthest thing from their minds.  That means that we have to be extra careful whether we are the hosting family or merely sharing the roads and paths with the visitor’s carts. 

One important fact that we all need to know is that you must be 14 years old to operate a golf cart (LSV operators must be 16 and have a driver’s license).  This is a motor vehicles regulation.  The consequences can be severe if you and/or the underage operator are cited.  Some Villagers feel they can get around this rule by putting that adorable five year old on their lap and letting them steer.  Just driving behind this combination lets you know that this is never a good idea.

Even after they have reached the magic age of fourteen, we have to consider that the basic driving rules that are second nature to us are not a part of their everyday experience.  I can honestly report that brakes on a cart squeal just like car brakes when you have to stop short because that younger driver decided to pull out at full speed without stopping from the tunnel by Palmer.  I learned that it takes longer for my heart rate to return to normal than it used to.  I’m sure that other grandparent can say the same.

When we first move here to The Villages, as a lot of our new members in Region 8 are finding, that golf cart is more than just transportation.  It is the most visible evidence of our new “Lifestyle”.  We sometimes have to remind ourselves that it is a motor vehicle and we have to remember that as we drive to all the wonderful amenities the Villages has to offer.  Driving around in our carts with that Villages map is a memory almost all of us can recall.  Don’t be surprised if all it takes is stopping with a confused look on your place for someone to stop to offer assistance.  It is a perfect demonstration that this is truly the “friendliest” of hometowns. 

One real asset for our new – and not so new residents – is the VHA-sponsored Golf Cart Clinic.  It is the perfect way to spend a few hours and gain so much information.  From safety to insurance and so much more, all aspects of operating a cart in The Villages is covered on the third Wednesday of January through November.  The clinic is held at 10:00 AM at the Savannah Center.  As I write this, the project to update the cart paths is concentrated around the Savannah Center.   I can’t predict where that project will be on August 18th for our next clinic, so why not take a quick look at the information on the www.districtgov.org website before you head out.  It might just be a good idea to check on this project regularly over the coming months it’s always better to be prepared.

Finally, we want to welcome all of our new Region 8 members.  Some of your neighbors have already joined us as VHA Neighborhood Representatives; you can check the list in this issue.  If you have any questions, we’d be happy to hear from you.  You can call your rep, or if your village or villa doesn’t have one yet, anyone of our reps or officers will be happy to talk to you.  If there is no rep listed and you think it might be something you would be interested in, please email Barbara Urbanski at dburban@comcast.net.