Golf carts have become an indispensable part of playing golf. But here’s the fascinating twist: these aren’t confined to the course alone! Beyond the greens, they have a surprising versatility – you can actually hit the roads with them as well! Picture this: cruising through charming neighborhoods, leisurely exploring retirement communities, or even strolling along sunny beaches and sidewalks – all with the aid of these amazing vehicles.
Before driving them around the neighborhood, you should first look up: are golf carts street legal in your state? Each state may have different laws regarding this vehicle, so you should better check your local laws.
Street-legal golf carts are not the same as simple golf carts. You need to add some extras—a golf street legal kit—to allow them to run on public roads safely.
Continue reading as this article explores options to help you convert your cart into street-legal.
What Makes a Golf Cart Street Legal?
Golf carts are specifically designed for use on golf courses, where you don’t need a license to drive them. These carts lack the features that make them safe on public roads. Further, these vehicles can’t exceed 20 MPH (32 km/h) speed.
On the other hand, Electric Golf carts that are street-legal have safety equipment and can exceed the speed limit of 20 mph. However, it is important to note that these golf carts must comply with Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) standards.
Generally, an LSV vehicle has a top speed between 20 and 25 mph and is only allowed on streets where the maximum speed limit is 35 mph.
The following are the basic requirement for an LSV to be street-legal:
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Registered and Titled.
- Insured with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL).
Features of LSV
A golf cart should also have the following features to be considered an LSV:
- Windshield Wipers
- Each seat should have a seatbelt
- Tail lights
- Brake lights
- Parking Brake
- Exterior Mirrors
- Front and Rear Turn Signals
By adding all these accessories, you can drive around in your golf cart and have fun.
Street-Legal Golf Cart vs. Golf Cart
|Features||Street-Legal Golf Cart||Golf Cart|
|Speed||20 mph and above||Speed: Below 20 mph|
|Driving Requirement||License is required||No License requirement|
|Safety Features||Headlights, windshields, mirrors, fenders, reflectors, seatbelts, horns, turn signals, and more||No|
|Allowed on Road?||Yes, street-legal golf carts are allowed on the road||No|
Tips for Making Your Golf Cart Street Legal
Here are some tips on how to convert a golf cart into a street-legal:
Check Your Local Laws And Regulations
Check your local laws before converting your electric golf cart into a street-legal vehicle. Street-legal golf cart requirements vary from state to state. Ensure that you comply with state laws before making any modifications.
Install Safety Features
Most states require street-legal electric carts with safety features, including headlights, taillights, turn signals, mirrors, and seat belts. Depending on where you live, you may also need a windshield and windshield wipers installed. Ensure that your safety features are high-quality and meet local standards.
Upgrade The Brakes And Suspension
The brakes and suspensions are necessary for street use but may not be present in golf carts because they are designed for use on golf courses. Adding brakes and suspension to your golf cart can make it safer and more reliable on the road.
Get Quality Batteries
Considering golf carts are battery-powered, it is best not to travel too far. Cart performance is heavily influenced by battery health and charging ability. Therefore, choose the best golf cart batteries with extended life expectancy and higher charge capacity.
Register Your Golf Cart
Register your golf cart with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or similar agency to drive it legally. You should have proof of ownership and insurance along with all necessary paperwork.
Get a License Plate
A license plate must be attached to your golf cart after registration. In some areas, you must have a special golf cart license plate, whereas, in others, you can use an ordinary license plate. Find out what license plate you need by checking your local laws.
You’ll need insurance if you plan to drive your street-legal golf cart on roads. Look around for a policy that meets the requirements set by your local laws and works for you.
To ensure everything is working properly, test drive your golf cart before hitting the road. Depending on the vehicle’s handling, make any necessary adjustments.
By following these tips, you can convert your golf cart into a street-legal vehicle that’s safe and legal to drive. Good luck!
Where Can I Drive a Street Legal Golf Cart?
The regulations for driving a street-legal golf cart vary from one state to another and even from one city to another. You can drive your street-legal cart in the following general areas:
In most states, golf carts legally drive on streets with speed limits under 35 mph. This includes both residential and city streets, as well as some rural roads.
Neighborhoods and Subdivisions
A street-legal golf cart is often allowed in neighborhoods and subdivisions with speed limits under 25 mph. It’s a great way to explore your neighborhood without taking your car.
College and Retirement Communities
Street-legal golf carts are allowed on some college campuses and retirement communities. Getting around campus or the community can be both fun and convenient.
Beach Towns and Resorts
Several beach towns and resorts allow golf carts on the streets. This can be a great way for people to travel around town without worrying about parking.
It is, of course, also legal for street-legal golf carts to operate on golf courses! Switching your golf cart’s mode accordingly is important, depending on whether you are using it for street or golfing.
Before driving your street-legal golf cart on the road, familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations regarding golf carts. Also, while traveling around, check how long a golf battery lasts. It will save you from any inconvenience.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive a Golf Cart?
Most states restrict the age at which golf carts can be operated. However, each state has a different age limit to drive a golf cart. Depending on your location, you must be 12 to 18 years old to drive the golf cart. If you are interested in finding out more about state laws, read our article “How old to drive a golf cart.”
Why Are Golf Carts So Common In Certain States?
You will notice golf carts on streets in many states and areas. This can be attributed to several reasons, which we have discussed below:
- Climate: Most golf cart-friendly states have warm climates, such as Florida, Arizona, and California. If you live in these areas, golf carts provide a comfortable, convenient alternative to driving in the heat and humidity.
- Retirement communities: Golf carts are a common feature in many retirement communities in the United States. Often, these communities have wide, golf-cart-friendly streets and paths, allowing residents to use golf carts to get around instead of walking.
- Tourism: Beach towns and resort communities with high tourism traffic have also embraced golf carts as a preferred mode of transportation. Tourists can use golf carts without worrying about parking or navigating crowded streets because they are easy and fun to drive.
- Environmental concerns: Golf carts are becoming more popular as an eco-friendly means of transportation in some states. Using golf carts in urban areas can reduce traffic congestion and noise pollution as they produce fewer emissions than cars.
Due to climate, infrastructure, tourism, and environmental concerns, golf carts have become popular in certain states. In the future, we may see golf carts become even more common as communities adopt them as modes of transportation.
In What States Are Golf Carts Street Legal?
Almost all states in the USA allow golf carts to operate on designated roads/streets. However, some states, like North Carolina, New York, and Kentucky, will have restrictions on using golf carts on the street.
Given below are states where the golf cart is street-legal:
The sunshine state is home to thousands of retirees. With so many retirement-aged people, golf carts are street-legal in Florida. To drive legally on the roads of Florida, you must have
- Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO)
- ID card
You don’t need a driving license in Florida to operate an LSV. However, golf carts titled and registered for road use will only be allowed to operate there.
The state is second in popularity among retirees. Just like in Florida, golf carts are street-legal in Arizona. The rules in this state require you to pay $10,000 in PDL and $15,000 in PIP to use golf carts on roads.
For registration, you need to provide the following:
- Insurance Proof
- Golf cart Driver’s license, ID card, or passport
However, golf carts in Arizona do not require windscreens. The cost of acquiring a street-legal golf cart in this state is high.
Golf carts are street-legal in Carolina. However, you need to convert the traditional golf cart into a street-legal version by adding features required for LSV.
You can find many street-legal golf carts for sale or even used street-legal golf carts from different places.
Golf carts are street-legal in Texas. Many of these LSVs can be seen in coastal cities and towns, where there are many retirees.
The state of Texas allows you to drive non-converted golf carts with slow-moving vehicle emblems. However, you can drive in the following situations:
- Within communities that have specified roads or streets
- On beaches– both public and private
- Only during daytime
- Not more than two miles from the golf course
If you plan to operate your golf cart on the road with a speed limit of 35 mph, you need minimum liability insurance as well as DOT lighting, which includes all automotive lighting, signals, and reflectors. For this purpose, you can buy a golf cart street-legal kit and convert your cart into LSV.
Also, golf carts are street-legal in these states:
- New Jersey
Golf carts are becoming a popular option for moving around in these states. For that reason, many states are revising their rules and regulations to make these carts more secure and accessible.
Golf carts are street-legal in many states. Since these carts have become more popular as a means of transportation, more states and municipalities could reevaluate their regulations to accommodate them. To avoid potential fines or penalties, it is important to check with local authorities and follow the rules and regulations.