NORTH PORT – The North Port Police Department is investigating the death of a woman following a one-vehicle accident involving a low-speed vehicle that ran off the sidewalk along U.S. 41 near Preto Boulevard Sunday.
According to an email from North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor, an unregistered low-speed vehicle was traveling west on the sidewalk in the Wellen Park area of North Port, when the front right tire ran off of the hard surface and into the grass.
The front passenger was thrown from her seat and onto the grassy area.
The woman at first said she was ok and got back in the electric vehicle and drove home.
The woman subsequently collapsed while walking into the residence and became unconscious.
The passenger was flown to a hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Taylor noted that though the vehicle was equipped with seatbelts, the occupant was not wearing one.
Police have opened a traffic homicide investigation on the incident.
By the way, subscribers: Confused about golf cart rules?
In 2020, the North Port City Commission revised its ordinances to allow for low-speed vehicles to travel along West Villages Parkway, as well as Playmore and Preto boulevards in Wellen Park.
The ordinance covers golf carts, low-speed vehicles and personal transport vehicles.
Golf carts are not insured, cannot exceed 20 mph, are considered recreational vehicles and meet other requirements as defined in State Statute 320.01.
Low-speed vehicles – which cannot go faster than 25 mph – are licensed and insured, have windshields, seat belts, and VIN numbers and meet other requirements defined in state law0.01.
Personal transport vehicles fit a gray area between the two vehicles because they are not defined by state law. Those vehicles are modified golf carts with turn signals, but they are not required to be registered or insured.
The accident occurred on the same stretch of U.S. 41 where Wellen Park developers plan to install traffic roundabouts and other improvements for pedestrian safety.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: North Port woman dies after fall from low-speed vehicle