A street-legal golf cart can zip down most streets with cars, but you need to take some steps before driving your vehicle on the road.
And in some places, you won’t be able to do it all. If you don’t want to get a ticket for illegally operating your buggy, you’ll need to brush up on the rules.
Today will cover the regulations over low-speed vehicles so you can hit the road.
Are Golf Carts Street Legal in the US?
Depending on the state, driving a golf cart on the road may or may not be legal. All but five states allow it: Hawaii, Delaware, Missouri, Maryland, and Rhode Island. Hawaii doesn’t issue ID numbers to low-speed vehicles, so you can’t legally operate them on the road. The other four states have passed laws prohibiting using buggies on the streets.
You’ll be happy to hear that operating a golf cart in the other 45 states can be legal. But you typically have to stick to roads with 35 miles per hour or lower speed limits.
Every state and city can set its own laws about these buggies. Snowbirds and campers that like to roll around neighborhoods in low-speed vehicles should check local regulations and follow the rules.
Where Can You Drive a Golf Cart on a Public Street?
People love to drive around on golf carts while RVing because lightweight vehicles travel well. They’re also popular in some communities, especially those geared towards retired folk, for attending nearby social events.
These practical little cars are an effective mode of transportation, getting people around faster than they could walk but at a slow enough speed to stay safe. They can also make parking easier. But you’ll want to check local laws before taking your buggy on a public street.
In California, low-speed vehicles must be under 1300 pounds and have no more than two passengers when on the road. Alaska has fewer rules. Their golf carts can go on any public street with a speed limit of fewer than 35 miles per hour.
On the other hand, carts in Idaho must be fully insured and equipped with a car horn to be allowed on the road. Several states, including Mississippi and Minnesota, leave the decision up to each municipality.
Depending on where you travel with your golf cart, you may be able to take it on the road. Look up local ordinances before you take a spin to avoid a costly citation.
What Needs to Be Done to Make a Golf Cart Street Legal?
As we’ve mentioned, a street-legal golf cart looks a little different in every state. Let’s review a few features that will make it more likely that you’re in the clear.
The government considers them low-speed vehicles. This type of four-wheeled car should travel between 20 and 25 miles per hour, weigh less than 2,500 pounds, and be able to carry over 80 pounds.
The Department of Transportation requires specific safety equipment for anything you drive on the road, including low-speed carts. You’ll need headlights and brake lights. You should also have turn signals, but you can use hand signals instead. Install a rearview mirror and a side mirror on the driver’s side. Most importantly, make sure you have seatbelts.
Every auto on the road requires a vehicle identification number (VIN). Golf carts don’t have a VIN like cars because they’re not built for street use. This is why you can’t drive them on public roads in Hawaii.
Do Golf Carts Have Titles?
You can register your golf cart as a low-speed vehicle in most states. Your local DMV should be able to issue a VIN (unless you live in Hawaii).
When you buy a car, you get a title, but not when you buy a golf cart. You’ll need one to make your low-speed vehicle street-legal. The bill of sale should include all the information you need to get the paperwork from the DMV. You’ll need the serial number and the year, make, and model.
Depending on your state, you might also need insurance for your low-speed vehicle. Check with your local DMV for specific policies where you live.
Pro Tip: No golf cart? No problem. Find out Do RVs Have VIN Numbers?
How Do You Register a Golf Cart?
Not all states require that you register your street-legal golf cart. Before you waste hours at the DMV, look online to see how to get your cart road ready.
States such as Florida and New Hampshire require your golf cart to be registered before it hits the road. Other locations with similar laws include Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, you can purchase a title for your low-speed vehicle for $157. Registration costs only $23 every two years.
Every state has different procedures, but by visiting the website for your state’s DMV, you should be able to find the information you need.
Do You Need a License to Drive a Golf Cart?
You might be starting to see a trend in our answers, but depending on your state, you may need a driver’s license to have your cart on the road.
The driver doesn’t need a license in Georgia as long as someone aboard has one. Alaska and Colorado don’t have these requirements. Drivers need a special low-speed vehicle permit to drive a golf cart on Minnesota roads. Likewise, Nevada also requires one if the county you’re in has more than 700,000 people.
Seventeen other states, including Connecticut, Indiana, and Kentucky, require a valid driver’s license to operate a golf cart on streets. You should be able to find all the information you need about driving low-speed vehicles in your town on your local DMV website.
Pro Tip: Park your golf cart in one of these 5 Best 5th Wheel Toy Hauler RVs.
So, Are Street Legal Golf Carts Worth It?
A street-legal golf cart can be a great form of transportation. They’re fuel efficient and often entirely electric. Their small size makes them easy to transport when traveling, but they can get you in trouble if you don’t take precautions.
Before you take your golf cart out for a spin, check local guidelines to ensure your vehicle complies. Once you’re in the clear, enjoy the ride!
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