are golf carts street legal

Imagine cruising through your neighborhood in a breezy, open-air cart, the perfect blend of convenience and fun. But wait, can you drive a golf cart on public roads? The answer, like a good golf swing, depends on a few factors. Buckle up as we explore the world of street-legal golf carts and answer all your burning questions!

As a golf blogger and website owner, you’re likely aware that the popularity of golf carts extends beyond the greens. These versatile vehicles are now commonly used for neighborhood transportation, beach cruising, and more. But are golf carts street-legal?

Golf Carts

Why Consider a Street-Legal Golf Cart?

Street-legal golf carts, also known as Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs), are popping up everywhere from beach communities to retirement havens. Here’s why they’re gaining traction:

  • Eco-Friendly: Electric golf carts are quiet and emission-free, making them a sustainable choice for short trips.
  • Cost-Effective: Compared to cars, golf carts are cheaper to buy, maintain, and operate.
  • Fun and Convenient: They offer a unique and enjoyable way to get around town for errands, visiting friends, or exploring your surroundings.

Navigating the Legalities: Street Legal vs. Not Street Legal

Now, the big question: is your dream ride street legal? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Federal Guidelines: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sets minimum safety standards for LSVs. These include headlights, taillights, turn signals, windshields, seat belts, and a maximum speed of 25 mph.
  • State and Local Laws: Each state has its regulations for street-legal golf carts. Some states require them to be registered, titled, and insured, just like regular vehicles. Others restrict them to specific roads or communities.

Here’s what you should do:

  1. Check Your State’s DMV Website: This is the ultimate resource for understanding the legalities of street-legal golf carts in your area.
  2. Contact Your Local DMV Office: They can answer specific questions about registration, titling, and insurance requirements.

Key Requirements for a Street-Legal Golf Cart

Not all golf carts are created equal. To be street legal, your cart typically needs to meet these criteria:

  • Minimum Speed: LSVs must be able to reach a minimum speed of 20-25 mph to keep up with traffic flow.
  • Safety Features: Headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, a windshield wiper, a rearview mirror, and seat belts are essential.
  • Street Tires: LSVs require DOT-approved tires designed for road use, not just golf course terrain.
  • Headlights and Taillights: These ensure visibility during low-light conditions.
  • Turn Signals: Communicate your driving intentions to other motorists.
  • Windshield and Wiper: Protect from the elements and ensure clear visibility.
  • Seat Belts: Safety first!

Remember: It’s crucial to ensure your golf cart meets all the legal requirements before cruising the streets.

What Makes a Golf Cart Street Legal?

To legally operate a golf cart on public roads, it must meet specific requirements to ensure safety and compliance with state and local laws. Here are the essential factors:

a. Equipment Requirements:

  • Headlights, Taillights, and Turn Signals: Street-legal golf carts need proper lighting for visibility. Ensure your cart has functional headlights, taillights, and turn signals.
  • Mirrors: Install rear-view and driver/passenger-side mirrors to enhance safety.
  • Windshield: A shatter-resistant windshield protects occupants from wind and debris.
  • Seat Belts: Buckle up! Seat belts are crucial for passenger safety.
  • Low-Speed Vehicle Sign: Some localities require a “Slow Moving Vehicle” sign.

b. Speed Restrictions:

  • Street-legal golf carts typically have speed limits imposed by state or local regulations. Common limits range from 20 to 25 mph.

c. Registration and Insurance:

  • Register your golf cart with state or local authorities.
  • Obtain insurance coverage to protect against accidents or damages.

Where Can You Operate a Street-Legal Golf Cart?

a. Private Roads:

  • In gated communities, golf communities, and resorts, you may drive standard golf carts on local roads with speed limits of 25 mph or less.
  • Some beach areas allow golf carts on sand and roads with beach access.

b. Public Roads:

  • Driving a standard golf cart on public roads is illegal in most states.
  • Convert your cart to meet low-speed vehicle standards (lights, mirrors, etc.).
  • Obtain a valid driver’s license to operate your street-legal golf cart on public roads.

c. Local Laws:

  • Over 460 localities have golf cart ordinances.
  • Check with local authorities to ensure compliance.
Street-Legal Golf Cart

FAQs on Road Legal Golf Carts:

a. What Is The Fastest Street Legal Golf Cart?

  • Street-legal carts typically reach speeds of 20 to 25 mph.

b. Is 30 Mph Fast For A Golf Cart?

  • Yes, 30 mph is fast for a golf cart. Most street-legal carts have lower speed limits.

c. Can You Drive a Golf Cart on the Road in the US?

  • Yes, except for Rhode Island, Maryland, Missouri, Delaware, and Hawaii.

d. Do You Need a License to Drive a Golf Cart Around?

  • Yes, a valid driver’s license is required for street-legal golf carts.

e. What Makes a Golf Cart Street Legal in California?

  • Compliance with equipment requirements, speed limits, and local laws.


Street-legal golf carts offer convenience and eco-friendliness. Remember to follow regulations, prioritize safety, and enjoy cruising your golf cart on designated roads!

Remember, simplicity in wording ensures readability and engagement. Happy writing! 🏌️‍♂️🚗

By Lana

Lana Lana has been swinging a golf club for close to 30 years. After playing Division 1 College golf, she went on to turn professional and coach hundreds of golfers to become better players. Lana lives in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children and continues to write, teach, and learn about golf daily. As a scratch golfer, Lana has actionable tips and advice to help you take your game to the next level without over complicating it.

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