Street Legal Requirements
What Makes a Street Legal Cart Street Legal?
The terms “street legal” and “road going” are synonymous with car manufacturers like BMW, Toyota, and Porsche, among others. In fact, most of what you know about street legal cars probably started with these brands. But when it comes to golf carts, what exactly does it mean to be a street legal golf cart? More specifically, what makes a golf cart street legal?
Characteristics of Street Legal Golf Carts...The first challenge when it comes to defining a street legal golf cart is that different states have different standards for their vehicles’ operation on the road. Many residents are turning to golf carts for usage on roadways, so it is paramount to be familiar with the guidelines of a street legal vehicle. This include:
Speed...The maximum speed of a street legal golf cart should range from 20 to 25 mph, which is the primary requirement for low-speed vehicles. Additionally, you ma need to present a certificate of origin from the manufacturer as proof of a slow speed vehicle. If the golf cart cannot achieve this speed, the motor should be enhanced alongside its corresponding components.
Visibility...For a golf cart to be considered street legal, it should be fitted with tail lamps, turn signal lamps, stop lamps, and headlights. Like with any other vehicle, you should be able to turn your lights on or signal when turning, especially in the dark. After installing all the lights accordingly, test them to ensure you are familiar with how they work while driving. Any street legal golf car should be equipped with rear view mirrors and reflex reflectors. This will give the driver a clear, unobstructed view of the rear, which will, in turn, minimize related incidents and even deaths.
Adjust all the mirrors before taking on the road, just like you would do with a normal vehicle. Windscreens and windscreen wipers are also a must. It is important to ascertain that the ones you have can withstand a rainstorm as this can significantly compromise the visibility inside the vehicle.
Personal Safety...A roadworthy golf cart should also have functioning seat belts. Ensure that every seat has its seat belts (if there is more than one seat). Also, the belts should always be worn every time you are riding the vehicle on the road to be consistent with state law.
Identification...You should have a vehicle identification number (VIN) for your vehicle. This is used for quick identification. If your golf cart did not come with a VIN, seek out the required paperwork enabling you to drive on the road.
Horn...Although seemingly not the most significant piece of safety equipment, with several big cities even limiting its usage, a street legal vehicle should have an audible horn that can be heard from 200 feet or more. The horn can be any sound or note, as long as it meets the minimum volume requirements.
Steering Wheel...You’re probably aware that any vehicle needs a steering wheel not only to be street legal but to be drivable as well. However, there are limitations on the types of steering wheels a golf cart should have. To be considered a street legal golf cart, the steering wheel should not be “butterfly” shaped or look like a fighter jet joystick. Rather, the vehicle should be fitted with a circular wheel at least thirteen inches along its exterior diameter.
Brakes...This is also a no-brainer. Brakes are required in a road going golf court primarily for parking purposes. The added twist most people do not consider is that the parking brake must be functional.
Evasion Devices...It goes without saying: anything that enables evasion of law enforcement by damaging other vehicles or obscuring views is going to be illegal. This includes oil slicks, caltrops, and smoke screens. Some jurisdictions actually limit the use of jammers or radar detectors too.
It is also important to note that a golf cart is classified as a low-speed vehicle and should be treated as such. This means:
- If your child is not licensed or old enough to drive a car, then he or she is not qualified to drive a golf cart
- You cannot stand on the side and drive the golf cart or drive it on the sidewalk – any laws that apply to a the personal vehicle also applies to your golf cart
- Contact us if you have any questions regarding our street legal golf carts for sale.
Insurance...After buying a golf cart, one must consider whether they want to purchase golf cart insurance. Most residents in the interior drive traditional golf carts that sprint up to 20mph and don’t need to be insured or registered. But this is not in line with NEVs, which are commonly designed with a maximum speed of 25mph And a max loaded weight of 3,000 lbs. They are permissible on roads that have a maximum speed limit of 35 mph. Irrespective of whether or not you are required by law to acquire golf cart insurance; it is in your best interest to do so. But which type of insurance should you go for? Should you purchase a single golf cart insurance policy or add it to your homeowner’s policy? A typical homeowner’s insurance does not cover medical costs or third-party injuries. From this end, it is advisable to purchase a distinct golf cart insurance.
Look for a policy that offers the following packages:
- Collision coverage: This will cover your golf cart in case it is damaged from a collision with other objects or vehicles, regardless of fault
- Liability coverage: This covers property damage and third party injuries caused by a golf cart accident
- Medical payments coverage: This will cover medical care resulting from a golf cart accident
The requirements above ensure maximum safety for both drivers and pedestrians when street legal golf carts are on the road. When looking for street legal golf carts for sale, keep in mind that there may be additional rules and regulations depending on your state or where you are. Hopefully, golf carts will become a permanent fixture on the road in the future. To this end, you should expect the Department of Transportation to provide a uniform guideline to be followed.