Golf Cart 101: What Makes Golf Carts Street Legal?

Golf Cart 101: What Makes Golf Carts Street Legal?

Have you ever wished you could take your golf cart off the green and onto the road? These days its possible with Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) and Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) options.

These unique golf carts aren’t like the traditional models used at country clubs and on golf courses. More robust with additional features, these road-friendly vehicles are of a class all their own.

Discover what makes golf carts street legal below.

Why Buy a Street Legal Golf Cart?

Street legal vehicles open up brand new opportunities for short distance travel. Where golf carts are designed for private grounds and golf courses, LSV’s have special features that adapt them for low-speed street use.

These golf carts feel more like a compact vehicle than a regular golf cart. While each state has its own laws and regulations on how they can be used, a general restriction is that these vehicles can be driven on any road with a speed limit of up to 35 miles per hour.

This makes them perfect for short drives to neighboring homes, nearby convenience stores, and shopping centers. Because of their short distance range, they are ideal for highly populated areas where low-speed streets and nearby shopping and entertainment are common.

LSV’s are also used for commercial purposes. You may have seen them before. Often, companies will have their LSV’s designed with specific customizations and branding to meet function and uniformity needs.

Uses may include:

  • Taxiing guests and employees around large campuses
  • Transporting loads of various weights and sizes
  • Traversing outdoor terrain quickly and efficiently
  • Providing services and products, similar to a small food and beverage truck
  • And more

Street legal golf cart models can vary dramatically depending upon the function for which it was designed.

Various Golf Cart Modifications for LSV’s

Street legal golf cart owners may commission modifications to a certain LSV make and model in order to adapt to recreational or commercial functions.

Models built to handle large or heavy cargo may have open or closed beds installed on the back of the vehicle or additional storage areas. These are commonly seen in maintenance or other manual jobs.

LSV’s designed to handle commutes may feature a stretched design with additional seating to accommodate a large number of passengers. They are often used at amusement parks, large commercial parks, and special events.

However, some modifications may simply be for looks or entertainment. It isn’t uncommon for a street legal golf cart owner to “pimp” out their ride! From custom horns to lighting and lift kits, you can really make your LSV stand out in a crowd.

Others may prefer to install radios or even coolers to carry their favorites food and refreshments. These are perfect for a drive to the park or a scenic joy ride down your favorite local back roads.

Pricing for these customizations varies greatly depending upon the extent of the modification.

What Makes Golf Carts Street Legal?

So what is so special about street legal golf carts that they are able to operate on some of the same streets as regular vehicles?

A lot, actually. While requirements may vary between states, LSV’s are typically required to have:

  • Headlamps
  • Turn signal lamps
  • Stop lamps
  • A Vehicle Identification Number (also known as a VIN number)
  • A rearview mirror
  • Parking brakes
  • Seatbelts
  • Reflex reflectors
  • A windshield

All of these features are designed to make your street legal golf cart safer. Because LSV’s are capable of speeds between 20 to 25 miles per hour, they are vulnerable to a wider range of safety hazards. This is why they feel more like a motor vehicle than your traditional golf cart.

Although equipped with the appropriate coverings, belts, lamps, and signals, LSV’s are significantly smaller than the average motor vehicle. That’s why it’s important to drive cautiously and defensively. Always yield to larger vehicles who try to pass you on the road and never be timid about using the horn to make yourself known.

Owners will also notice that street legal golf carts have a smaller range per tank or battery charge than a regular vehicle. Most average anywhere between 30 to 60 miles per charge or tank, which is significantly less than a normal motor vehicle.

While you shouldn’t trade in your primary source of transportation for one of these restricted street legal alternatives, they are quite fun and useful!

Many LSV owners find they can save money on small commutes back and forth, especially with an electric model. They are also a much more eco-friendly alternative for short distance travels.

What’s more, many models of street legal golf carts are actually wheelchair accessible. This is perfect for families or individuals with disabilities that may make regular vehicle travel difficult.

How to Decide If an LSV is Right for You

Are you on the fence about purchasing an LSV? If so, there are a few things consider in order to help narrow down whether these low-speed vehicles are right for you.

First, consider where you live. If a highway stands between you and most of your errands, a street legal golf cart may not be the best choice for an alternative, short distance mode of transportation.

Likewise, rural areas may prove too remote for the limited distance.

However, if you live in an area where your most frequent stops are a short, backroad drive away or you intend to use your vehicle to navigate your residential or commercial property, street legal golf carts might be the perfect solution!

Just keep in mind the type of terrain you’ll be navigating and make sure your chosen vehicle is modified for them. This is especially important if you plan to take your LSV off-road or in arduous weather conditions, such as snow, ice, or heavy rain.

Shop Street Legal Golf Carts Online

If you’re looking for features like the ones that make golf carts street legal, you can shop for the perfect LSV or NEV electric vehicle without ever leaving your computer chair.

Browse new and used golf carts for sale by their make, model, engine type, drive system, seller, and more!

With both private and dealer listings, you’ll find a wide array of models at tempting prices.

This entry was posted in Personal Transportation.