Thanks to the ever growing reach of social media, the world continues to grow...cozier. The Great Bend Tribune received a submission through its website April 21 from a New Zealander concerned about what happened in a YouTube video taken on April 10. A golf cart crossing US 56 at the Ellinwood golf course, in the midst of traffic backed up from road construction west of the city, zipped across the road in front of the driver who was filming her trip with a dashboard mounted camera.
‘This weird chick from Boston’
The driver, Allie Knight, Byfield, Mass., has a regular following (23,677 subscribers) on her YouTube channel, “Allie Knight: big trucks, open roads, and this weird chick from Boston.”
She responded to an email from the Great Bend Tribune.
“I thought it was rather funny actually that he came out so quickly,” she wrote. She was making a delivery to Doonan trailers that day. “I was going quite slow at the time, and the traffic was really backed up because of the repaving.”
She said she drives all over the country in her big truck with her cat, Spike.
“We film our daily adventures and put them up for all to see,” she said.
Ellinwood’s golf course is unique, she reports. She knows of another golf course in Lufkin, Texas that is split by a road.
New Zealand fixer
Peter Yates of Dunedin, New Zealand, saw the video, along with 9,474 other viewers so far. Yates has his own YouTube channel, “Peter: AV Rescue.” He operates a New Zealand business specializing in the restoration of photographs, videos, slides and documents, according to his facebook page.
He was concerned enough to contact both the Great Bend Tribune and the City of Ellinwood. He wrote:
“I have noticed that there appears to be a dangerous golf cart crossing at the western approaches to Ellinwood. There is a recent (April 11) YouTube video of a trucker driving towards Ellinwood and suddenly finding a golf cart crossing the road through a gap in a stationary line of traffic, in spite of the oncoming truck. The truck was heavily laden at the time and probably would not have had time to stop if the golf cart had some sort of mechanical problem. There would also have been a disaster if the driver had a medical problem.”
Using Google Maps, Yates checked the “street view” in both directions, and noted there did not appear to be any advanced warning of a golf cart crossing, and no markings on the road to indicate that there is any sort of crossing.
“Hopefully all of this information is of use to you and the city,” Yates wrote. “We would hate to learn of any accidents at that location!”
In fact, a sign does exist, and has for years. Locals call it the “old duffer crossing” sign. It depicts a golfer towing a golf-bag, rather than a golf-cart. The sign is visible in the video for a few frames. According to Martin Miller, public affairs officer with Kansas Department of Transportation Division 5, the sign is not a KDOT approved sign.
Ellinwood and KDOT response
Ellinwood City Administrator Bob Peter, received the communication from Yates. The city, however, is not planning any action regarding the crossings.
“The highway is under the jurisdiction of KDOT and we do not control access,” he wrote in an email to the Great Bend Tribune. “That being said, the crossings have been in place for decades without any problems.”
Peters said club members are extremely cautious when crossing the road and are even more so with the ongoing construction.
Road milling and overlay began in mid-March along US 56 between Great Bend and Ellinwood, causing delays of about 15 minutes each way, as roads have been cut to single-lane access through work zones, requiring the use of pilot cars. The anticipated completion date is June 5.
New signage planned
According Miller, following the completion of the road construction, there are plans to install signage between the city limits. Signs indicating a golf-cart crossing will be installed in advance of the crossing in both directions. That project is tentatively planned to begin a year from now, he said.
The Tribune responded to Yates, who responded through facebook, “Thank you for your message. It’s great to know that there are future plans about the signage. ... Have a good day.”