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Golf Carting in Ajijic/San Antonio


SYSY
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This topic is dedicated to the Golf Cart set. If you have a golf cart or want to learn more by sharing tips and experiences, this is the place. Suitable themes include: Getting around safely - which back roads to use, for example - keeping your cart maintained - battery care and the like. Best practices. Dealing with Transito.  Proper carting etiquette when driving and last but not least, proper golf carting attire :) P.S. Sorry to say, the topic has turned into a bit a a snipe fest - too bad about that but at least you can see what people really think about carting here. Well, I'll probably arrested tomorrow and given the death sentence for carting and for my heretical views, so won't be able to post any more. So good luck to you all! Bye! 

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This is a compilation of posts from another Topic relating to Golf Cart regulations / problems with transito / complaints about golf carts not being sufficiently regulated: 

To all those complaining about the “Golf Cart” problem and how it’s not fair that they don’t have to pay referendums, get plated or have insurance. And that they get in the way of the rightful users of the roads and parking spaces - cars.

Allow me to retort: Cars, not golf carts, are by far and away the biggest problems at Lake Side – no need to look further than the highway any day of the week or the “no place to park” situation in Ajijic.

Polluting, expensive, proven to be deadly and massively oversized for the tiny, narrow side streets, cars deal destruction and pain here on a daily basis. Kids, old ladies, dogs and cats all fall victim every year and it’s like, well, so what? I need to get around, don’t I? And these damn golf carts – always getting in my way…

Golf carts have a 3.5 horse power electric motor and normally can’t even hit 15 mph, hence no need for all the safety equipment. On the terrible back roads here, they usually go much slower.  And I agree, that’s where they belong. Not on the highway or the bike path. But on the frontage roads? Give me a break.

You can park 2 golf carts in a parking spot and they are being used in many small tourist towns all over the world as smart transportation.

In my mind, car users should give way to golf carts, not the other way around. Golf Carters are doing their part to make life better here by reducing congestion, lowering pollution levels, making less noise, saving energy ($10 USD per month in electricity to run), adding to the fun and interesting flavor of the area and generally being good citizens. They are ideal for shopping and making short trips. And oh yeah, not killing anybody – don’t forget that. Zero is the number of golf cart related fatalities for the last 10 years.

Why should we serve as a target for the self-righteous, self-centered and self-serving car population?  Seems like it should be the other way around…

(This post provoked some negative feedback which I tried to address here below)

Thanks everyone for the feedback on my post - even those that did not agree with all of it. 

I want to say that I'm not attacking car owners in general, just those who feel that they are the rightful owners of the back roads and parking lots.

I do agree with most of you that NO Golf Cart should be on the highway or the bike path and they should also obey the rules of the road. Only A-holes part in disabled spots - those that don't need to, of course.

Let me further explain why it should NOT be necessary to have insurance, a license plate and a drivers license to use one. 

The reason cars need all this is tied to their deadly nature: they are complex, several ton missiles traveling at high speed that can do a fantastic  amount of damage and kill many people in just a few seconds. The license plates are needed to know who to send to jail when you kill somebodies loved one. A license is also handy to make sure the owners is not totally blind and understands at least a few percent of the many traffic rules.

A Golf Cart? You'd pretty much have to have one dropped on you to get hurt. They are slow, comically easy to operate and have killed ZERO people. Why don't people on bicycles need insurance? Pedestrians? Dogs? They really should have it - to cover the cost of getting run over by a car. But, call me a fool, I resent the need to pay in advance for the pain and suffering somebody else is going to do to me. Maybe the car owner should have "I ran over a Golf Cart insurance"? 

As for the traffic cops that provoke so much fear and loathing here, try to understand. these poor people make zip (like $7000 pesos a month). Sure, many are dickheads that I'd gladly knee in the groin, but take a step back. In the last 5 years, I've paid a total of $1500 pesos in "special" fines - that's nothing. I'll trade that for my yearly $100 USD property tax no problem.

And I've only paid when I was going the wrong way down a one way street - it's hard to tell sometimes. So, I don't get worked up, if I do wrong, I pay. At least the money is going to a local family and not getting stolen higher up. They generally won't stop you unless they see  you breaking some kind of law. If they do stop you for nothing, tell them you want their name and badge number and take a picture of them like the ones on the site - they hate that. They want the money but don't want to get busted taking it. And for F--ks Sake: stay off the damn highway unless you have a death wish. 

Another trick for you Cart lovers - drive after 5PM. Traffic cops go home then :)

Thanks again to all for the feedback and please don't take anything I say personally. 

(A further post RE: the need to have insurance)

 

Thanks once again for all the feedback and the insurance issue is a valid point - it is possible to get hurt or even killed with a golf cart - but it is not the possibility that requires insurance - its the probability.

The probability is very low - there are many things that have a low probability of doing damage that do not require insurance to operate. A sail boat for example or even a motorboat. 

But I think a practical test is in order. You stand 20 feet from my golf cart and I'll head toward you at full speed - if you can't get out of the way in time, you are far too slow to be safely walking around here!

Then, let's take a new Suburban and try the same test with double the distance (40 feet)- I'll drive straight at you full power and you need to get away - bonus points if you don't crap yourself.

If you feel like  you need insurance, buy it. I'm self insured - if I do damage, I'll pay for it.

(Another post related to existing traffic laws and golf carts)

 

The State of Jalisco has ZERO laws relating to golf carts - they do not issue license plates for them, nor do they require insurance. 

You cannot get clear title to them since they don't have VIN numbers and also do not come with facturas. Some people do have these, but it's the huge minority. The plates they have are not regulation and will probably get them stopped as often as anything else.

Cops make it up as they go and specifically target users for money since it's a grey area. That's the real truth.

The reason it's important to discuss this is that we do have the power to influence them and they do respond - especially at higher levels - to our concerns. So if enough people go around saying we need a lot of rules and regulations for golf carts, they will make them just for us. And use them to shake us down as well. Sir, where's your turn signal? Do you have a horn on that? Air bags? Seat belts? A wind shield? They will find something, no matter how carefully you try to follow the rules. They want your money - they could care less about your safety or anyone else - or have you not seen how the locals drive around here?

What Mexico should really worry about is getting a bad rap and hurting tourism by making it an unfriendly place to be - this is the real problem and many people go away from Mexico with a very bad taste in their mouth thanks to cops desire to shake them down for money. 

As for all the accidents and fatalities involving golf carts, not so much.

I'm hoping the reason prevails here.

The cops should go after the dangerous CAR drivers - you know, the ones that cause you to crap your pants every time you need to cross the carretera and ACTUALLY kill people on a regular basis? And if they do, I'm happy to "tip" them once and a while.

I also think theirs some real resentment against golf carters - not sure why, but I'd like to hear from those that really don't like them - maybe I'm missing something?

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My experience owning  and using golf carts for the last 5 years at Lakeside.

If you live anywhere from West Ajijic to Riberas de Pilar, a golf cart might work for you. Anywhere else, they are unlikly to have the range or speed to get you where you need to go. 

They can only be driven on the back roads and frontage roads of these areas - safely, that is. There are a few that drive in Chapala, but I consider this reckless.

Golf Carts have a lot to offer over trying to walk around on the ankle twisting cobble stone roads and inconsistent broken and narrow side walks. 

PROS:

  • Faster than walking - as fast as a slow car on the worst roads or about 15 mph for faster models
  • Able to carry a large load for their size - some can carry 4 people and all can carry two people and a weeks worth of groceries.
  • Daily driving costs very low - about $100 pesos a month in electricity for two short trips a day.
  • Fun and enjoyable to drive in the fantastic climate we have here
  • Easy to keep clean due to the small size and rugged outdoor trim
  • No trips to the gas station
  • Much simpler to keep running than a car and much cheaper (electric motor = almost zero maintenance)
  • Park anywhere - not in disabled or no parking zones, natch!
  • Plates and insurance are optional (for now - more on this later)
  • No annual referendum
  • Very little noise
  • Eco friendly
  • Much safer for pedestrians and animals - you'd be hard pressed to do serious damage with one.
  • Free AC!

CONS:

  • They are not cheap - a newer one with new batteries can cost over $100,000 pesos (yikes) - it's not a toy. Older models with new batteries around $40 to 50K.
  • Some car owners have a hard on for golf carts (they are a minority) and they also have some reason thanks to a few bad actors in the golf cart world.
  • Transito WILL try to shake you down if they can - but this applies to regular cars as well - you just stand out more in a golf cart (more on this later)
  • Suspension and tires not designed for theses roads (this can be dealt with, but a stock cart bumps quite a bit)
  • You do need to water the batteries with distilled water ($35 pesos a gallon at Auto Zone - every two weeks to a month) 
  • You CANNOT drive on the highway - they are far too slow are really dangerous for that use - DON'T DO IT!
  • You are restricted to the back roads Ajijic, San Antonio, Chula Vista, La Floresta, Riberas and the local area - can't drive in Chapala safely, but people do it.
  • While you don't need gas, you do need to replace the batteries every 4 years or so - $20K for the Trojans and $15K for LTH (estimated - more on batteries later)
  • God help you if a car hits you - seriously - you need to drive carefully. Only a motorcycle or a quad bike is more dangerous.

That's the short version for now - feedback welcome!

Thanks

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I've never even gotten close to having my cart confiscated - not a real issue as long as you have at least a few hundred pesos in tip $.

If you go full gringo on the cops or do something stupid like drive right down the middle of the highway, well... I've still never heard of anyone permanently losing a cart in Mexico. Have you?

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I hate to see someone so blase about bribing police. It is a crime and in a crackdown you can end up a real victim. Bribing officers makes it bad for all of us and emboldens them. I've seen women , whom they especially prey on, brought to tears with their demands. Some of us have worked and are working to get rid of these officers, but, everything takes forever in Mexico. Persistence is key. Complaints are vital,

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All this fillbusteting for golf carts is wasted here. Your willingness to pay bribes after you break laws perpetuates the problem many here have tried to stop. Do you have your citizenship here? If so, actively petition the state government to change laws. until then, all your posts are ineffective. And I don't own a car. 

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For those that want honest cops, you need to look closer at the math and the reasoning behind why they are asking for bribes in the first place.

People seem to expect US-level services here for Mexican wages - not gonna happen. Why should it? If I paid you US $388 per month (Transito wages), are you going to just be nice while all these rich Trump-voting, racist gringos (don't personalize, but their are many) drive around taking advantage of the cheap labor? 

You might argue that it's cheaper to live here so that makes up for it - sure, again try to live here on $388 per month. Have a family too, just to make it more fun.

And please don't tell me, "They signed up for it so they should take it" crap. People are really hurting for jobs here - they take what they can get.

The government does not have the money to pay better for 3 reasons:

  1. They rip off as much as they possibly can at the highest levels - I have known plenty of people in government and they treat the job like winning the lottery - the old saying goes "don't give me money, put me in a place were I can get some (translated to English). The Transitos know this well.
  2. They have way MORE police here than in the states but they are much less effective and poorly trained - once again, on purpose. The "owner" class in Mexico makes a lot of money, pays very little in taxes and wants to be left alone to do whatever the f**k they want to do unimpeded by rules.  They break the law no problem and just bribe their way out of any problems they get into - check the new large apartment building in La Floresta. Similar to the states in this aspect, but more out in the open with direct payments instead of hoards of lawyers.
  3. The tax base is a joke - for example, my property taxes are less than $100 per year. In the US I pay $3800.

People get really upset here and think that the cops are really going to mess them up, but for the most part they just want a few hundred pesos - if they can scare you into paying more, they will. So stop being so scared of them to start with and understand that your value system does not always work here.

Also, while not exactly nice guys, the Transitos do have a sense of fair play most of the time - they stop you when you are doing wrong. So it's up to you to deal with it. Going full Gringo on them is likely to be the worst outcome for you, but you're free to do it. You can often talk your way out of it if you keep your cool. The municipal leaders are in total agreement with you, however. They want the money going into their coffers - because, you know, they have expenses to pay. You think it's going to pay better wages to the cops? Ha! It's going to pay for the new Suburban they want :)

We are trying to shame them for taking bribes while we live the high life and take advantage of the cheap labor and they can't even afford to shop at Walmart. Does that sound fair? 

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2 hours ago, HarryB said:

I hate to see someone so blase about bribing police. It is a crime and in a crackdown you can end up a real victim. Bribing officers makes it bad for all of us and emboldens them. I've seen women , whom they especially prey on, brought to tears with their demands. Some of us have worked and are working to get rid of these officers, but, everything takes forever in Mexico. Persistence is key. Complaints are vital,

The practice of bribing the police will never end while we have "entitled" gringos perpetuating it.  The solution to the problem starts with the "powers that be" paying the police a living wage.  At this point, they don't have one, and it's no wonder they are willing participants in the mordida system.  The other side of the solution is cooperation by the public.  When our car was pulled over once,  my husband played innocent and dumb, asked for a ticket and finally, the disgusted officer sent him on his way.  This wouldn't always work, but ending corruption by all parties concerned would be a good thing.  The fines are not unreasonable.

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2 minutes ago, gringal said:

The practice of bribing the police will never end while we have "entitled" gringos perpetuating it.  The solution to the problem starts with the "powers that be" paying the police a living wage.  At this point, they don't have one, and it's no wonder they are willing participants in the mordida system.  The other side of the solution is cooperation by the public.  When our car was pulled over once,  my husband played innocent and dumb, asked for a ticket and finally, the disgusted officer sent him on his way.  This wouldn't always work, but ending corruption by all parties concerned would be a good thing.  The fines are not unreasonable.

Haha, well it's not the foreigners who started the practice of paying mordidas to the police. That was happening way before we arrived.

Several years ago I saw a urologist at Maskaras Clinic who came from Guadalajara on Saturday afternoons. I was the last patient and we walked out together and he was parked right next to me. He was driving a brand new Mercedes sports coupe, convertible. I smiled and asked him if he got stopped much in Guad. All the time he replied. So how much do you have to pay to be on your way, I asked. He opened the glove box and came back with a closed hand. When he opened it there was a wrapped in plastic, 2 pill sample pack of Viagra! That always does the trick he said. What about for a female officer, I asked. He looked at me and smiled and said hell, they are just as happy as the men. It's not just foreigners who participate.

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Actually, that is an infraction, not a crime. When he breaks my leg backing into me, that is a crime but the law will not need to get involved, all will be taken care of before they arrive.

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Golf Cart Maintenance

Golf Carts are low maintenance, but not maintenance free. You need to take care of them (especially the batteries) if you want them to last. 

Batteries:

The batteries need watering with distilled water about once a month for new batteries and once a week for older ones (batteries) when the water goes that fast, you'll need to replace them soon.

If you do this job yourself, don't wear new clothes as the batteries are filled  with acid which will make tiny holes in everything. The batteries have a small plastic collar under the caps that extends down into the battery - fill up to about 1/8 inch below that. Not more or the acid will spill over and not less. DO NOT let the water get low enough for the plates get exposed as this shortens the life of your battery considerably. If your cart sits in direct sun, you should check the water more frequently.

Everyone seems to have a different opinion on charging, but I leave mine on the charger when not in use - the charger should stop charging automatically when the battery is full.

 

Tires:

Normal golf cart tires are not that great for the roads here - after years of being rattled to death, I've found the Quad Bike tires work way better - their lower operating pressure means a much smoother ride. You can also lower the pressure in your normal golf cart tires, but they wear out fast that way.

Normal tires are designed for 20 psi, but you can run them lower a few pounds and still get good life out of them. They can come off the rims if you try to go to 10 psi or lower, so check them at least monthly. I keep a spare rim (with inflated tire) at my house in case I get a flat.

Quad bike tires run as low as 7 psi - you might need to go with 10 or 12 psi on the back ones due to the extra weight.

 

Suspension:

Not much to do here - the shocks wear out but last a very long time,. The zerks need to be greased - this by somebody with a grease gun and better a lift. I use Jaime (Automotive Electrica) behind Super Lake for that. He does all kinds of work on Golf Carts and does a good job.

 

Exterior:

Wax it and apply protector to the plastic once a year or every six months. Wash it when ever :)

 

Upholstery:

I cover mine with some thing to protect it, but it's also cheap to completely replace every few years ($1500 pesos).

 

Costs:

It's a bit more expensive for by any parts or tires for Golf Carts due to their relative rarity, but it's not crazy expensive.

 

That's about it! The brakes may also need some maintenance once and a while - best to take that to an expert. Feel free to add anything I missed or any tips you have.

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3 hours ago, SYSY said:

For those that want honest cops, you need to look closer at the math and the reasoning behind why they are asking for bribes in the first place.

People seem to expect US-level services here for Mexican wages - not gonna happen. Why should it? If I paid you US $388 per month (Transito wages), are you going to just be nice while all these rich Trump-voting, racist gringos (don't personalize, but their are many) drive around taking advantage of the cheap labor? 

You might argue that it's cheaper to live here so that makes up for it - sure, again try to live here on $388 per month. Have a family too, just to make it more fun.

And please don't tell me, "They signed up for it so they should take it" crap. People are really hurting for jobs here - they take what they can get.

The government does not have the money to pay better for 3 reasons:

  1. They rip off as much as they possibly can at the highest levels - I have known plenty of people in government and they treat the job like winning the lottery - the old saying goes "don't give me money, put me in a place were I can get some (translated to English). The Transitos know this well.
  2. They have way MORE police here than in the states but they are much less effective and poorly trained - once again, on purpose. The "owner" class in Mexico makes a lot of money, pays very little in taxes and wants to be left alone to do whatever the f**k they want to do unimpeded by rules.  They break the law no problem and just bribe their way out of any problems they get into - check the new large apartment building in La Floresta. Similar to the states in this aspect, but more out in the open with direct payments instead of hoards of lawyers.
  3. The tax base is a joke - for example, my property taxes are less than $100 per year. In the US I pay $3800.

People get really upset here and think that the cops are really going to mess them up, but for the most part they just want a few hundred pesos - if they can scare you into paying more, they will. So stop being so scared of them to start with and understand that your value system does not always work here.

Also, while not exactly nice guys, the Transitos do have a sense of fair play most of the time - they stop you when you are doing wrong. So it's up to you to deal with it. Going full Gringo on them is likely to be the worst outcome for you, but you're free to do it. You can often talk your way out of it if you keep your cool. The municipal leaders are in total agreement with you, however. They want the money going into their coffers - because, you know, they have expenses to pay. You think it's going to pay better wages to the cops? Ha! It's going to pay for the new Suburban they want :)

We are trying to shame them for taking bribes while we live the high life and take advantage of the cheap labor and they can't even afford to shop at Walmart. Does that sound fair? 

You can´t seem to stop your condescending rantings about Mexicans and their country.

You even state these many falsehoods as being the truth and universal in all of Mexico .

It is pity you can´t get educated to the actual reality and going ons here instead of being a predjuice foreigner turned naturalized citizen. For me this is so sad to see it actually sickens me.

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Paying the cops more is not a solution. When I lived in Guatemala the government thought that if they raised their pay considerably that they would not seek out bribes. They raised their pay to an envious level, but the graft continues by cops embolden by their obvious success and income.

 

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Golf Cart Rules of the Road

Please note this is just how I think it should be - you can be your own judge of how to drive around here. Feedback welcome.

The main thing to remember is that you are at a serve disadvantage when it comes to driving around Lake Side especially when it comes to safety.

If a car hits you, he'll need to buff out his paint - your relatives will be getting quotes from funeral homes.

With that in mind:

  • Only drive on the secondary roads.
  • Give right of way to cars at all times - they will sometimes wave you by (thanks to all that do this) but you should usually insist they go first - safer that way.
  • Let cars pass you on the sides streets - pull over and let them by.
  • Stay off the highway at all costs - just way too dangerous. You can cross it, but be very careful. Some people prefer to cross at a light but you end up mixing with more traffic that way.
  • Stay off the bike paths - too narrow - bikes, people and carts don't all fit. I've had Transitos say it's OK, but I won't use them - use the frontage road, bumpy but better.
  • Don't take too much advantage of your mobility - carts can easily out maneuver cars and zip in and out of traffic - avoid this: it pisses off the car drivers and can lead to accidents. Act like you take up as much space as a car.
  • Keep in mind that it's not a toy - kids go crazy when they see a Golf Cart and want to drive them - DO NOT let them. They also want rides - I only do this for friends and relatives on back streets.
  • Make sure you have working headlights and put plenty of reflective tape all over the place if you plan to drive at night.

That's what I got - please feel free to add anything else you think might be useful.

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Many many years ago I made the mistake of accepting a ticket for making an illegal left turn.. Stood in line for 2 hours to pay a 31 peso fine . So I said to my self. "Self next time pay the nice police man to go and pay the ticket for you".  So now if I get a ticket I give the police officer a couple of hundred peso and ask him to go and pay the ticket for me. Works every time... He is happy... I'm happy because now I don't have to drive anywhere, don't need to find a place to park and don't have to stand in line....

It's not a bribe..... It's no different than paying a gardener to trim your bushes and water your grass.. Or a maid to mop your floors....You tip someone who does a service for so nothing wrong with paying someone to stand in line and pay your ticket....

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1 hour ago, TelsZ4 said:

Many many years ago I made the mistake of accepting a ticket for making an illegal left turn.. Stood in line for 2 hours to pay a 31 peso fine . So I said to my self. "Self next time pay the nice police man to go and pay the ticket for you".  So now if I get a ticket I give the police officer a couple of hundred peso and ask him to go and pay the ticket for me. Works every time... He is happy... I'm happy because now I don't have to drive anywhere, don't need to find a place to park and don't have to stand in line....

It's not a bribe..... It's no different than paying a gardener to trim your bushes and water your grass.. Or a maid to mop your floors....You tip someone who does a service for so nothing wrong with paying someone to stand in line and pay your ticket....

Sorry but you and the cop are breaking a federal Mexican law so your analogies are nothing more than the mumblings of a scofflaw.

 

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1 hour ago, ned small said:

Sorry but you and the cop are breaking a federal Mexican law so your analogies are nothing more than the mumblings of a scofflaw.

 

I don't give a &$@?  .  I see nothing wrong with asking someone to go and pay my ticket for me..and tipping him to do so..... I have never seen anywhere on the ticket that it says "This ticket must be paid in person" 

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Just now, TelsZ4 said:

I don't give a &$@?  .  I see nothing wrong with asking someone to go and pay my ticket for me..and tipping him to do so..... I have never seen anywhere on the ticket that it says "This ticket must be paid in person" 

Well said, TelsZ4!

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