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- Most states allow golf carts on sidewalks (California, Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois), but there are a few exceptions, like in Hawaii, Virginia, Maryland, and Rhode Island
- Check your state’s specific laws to see if you can drive a golf cart on the sidewalk near you
- Golf carts are great for short rides around town, and they’re more affordable than cars
- Maintaining and driving a golf cart is easy, especially compared to driving a car
- Golf carts are environmentally friendly, and they help reduce gas consumption
- In New York, you are also not allowed to drive a golf cart on public sidewalks or parking lots
- To be street legal, your golf cart must have a vehicle identification number, lighted license plate, functioning headlights and brake lights, turn signals, and interior mounted mirrors
- You can also obtain a permit to drive your golf cart on public streets in some states
- When driving your golf cart on public roads, you must comply with all local laws
My neighbor in New York is a recent retiree who spends his days golfing at the local country club. He was excited to learn that he could drive his golf cart to the club from his house, which is located on the main road.
But after he got his permit and started using his golf cart on the street, he quickly realized that there are a lot of restrictions on where you can drive them. He’s not allowed to drive on the sidewalk near his house, and he’s also not allowed to drive on any roads in the city with a speed limit over 20 miles per hour.
He’s been told by the police that if he gets caught driving his golf cart on the road with a higher speed limit, he could get fined.
While my other uncle in Nebraska lives in a small town where golf carts are becoming increasingly popular, almost everyone in town has one, and they’re used for everything from running errands to going to church.
The only rule about driving them is that you have to stay off of the main roads. Uncle Dave likes to take his golf cart for rides down the country roads on the weekends, and he’s never had any problems with the police.
New owners of golf carts can get carried away by their first cart, which might lead them to take them out in restricted places. Some might think of taking it out on the sidewalk to avoid traffic and also visit areas of their locality without encountering any difficulties.
Thus, all golfers must understand where and when they can drive their golf carts and beware of any situations in which they are allowed to ride their golf carts on the sidewalk.
Can you drive a golf cart on a sidewalk?
No, you cannot. That is something that is frowned upon in most places and is also capable of causing complications. Since golf carts are motor vehicles in their definitions, they are not allowed on the sidewalk. (Source).
However, a golf cart is not in the same motor vehicle category as a motorcycle, automobile, or semi-truck. Also, since it cannot go beyond 25 miles per hour and has no safety gear, the federal government does not define it as a motor vehicle.
Therefore, they are not allowed on such public roadways as highways, but they are allowed in private properties like a golf course or even a person’s yard.
In the instance that a golf cart gets upgraded to the low-speed vehicle category, it is allowed to travel on roadways at speeds that do not exceed 25 miles per hour and are under the regulation of state and federal laws.
State and federal definitions consider a sidewalk to be a pedestrian walkway, not a roadway. This means that golf carts are not allowed in most states.
In most states, you cannot use a golf cart in public spaces without it being considered a low-speed vehicle. Also, people cannot drive them on sidewalks once they attain the definition.
This regulation is why you do not see a lot of skateboards or bicycles on public sidewalks. In most states, these walkways are strictly set aside for foot traffic.
States that have legalized golf carts on public roads
In states like Delaware, Hawaii, Missouri, Maryland, and Rhode Island, you can’t drive golf carts on public roads legally. In New York, people who drive the carts on sidewalks, public roads, or parking lots can get arrested.
In all the other states, the laws allow using golf carts on public roadways, although usage restrictions vary from state to state. (Source).
The large states that allow street use of golf carts
Diverse laws govern golf carts in larger states such as Florida (read about whether golf carts are street legal in Florida), California, and Texas.
According to California laws, the golf cart should not weigh more than 1300 pounds and is not allowed to carry more than two individuals, one of them being the driver. They also demand fenders and a safety-glazed windshield.
When it comes to Florida, the laws allow driving a golf cart on public roads but with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Also, they allow as low as 14 years, but you cannot drive past 20 miles per hour.
Driving above 20 mph requires a special license and insurance for the cart. It also has to be DMV-registered.
In Florida still, they are also only allowed from sunrise to sunset. You can drive them on a public street at a maximum of 35 mph in daylight. You can also cross a street or highway at an intersection.
This is even if you were crossing a street with a speed limit that is more than 35mph. In Texas, the operation of a golf cart is only allowed on local roads that the local or county governments have permitted.
Requirements for golf carts to be legally used on the street
The states that allow people to use golf carts on public roads require them to meet local, state, and federal requirements. To meet the federal requirements, golf carts must have:
- A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- A lighted license plate
- A speedometer
- A horn
- DOT-approved seat belts, tires, and windshield wipers
- Exterior and interior-mounted mirrors
- Working brake lights, headlights, and windshield wipers (Source).
The fines for driving their golf cart on a sidewalk vary between cities and states, but they are usually small fines that don’t come with jail time. Golf carts are not usually taken from the driver or impounded when found on the sidewalk. Most people receive a ticket.
Hi, my name is Vince Richmond and I am the owner of earlygolfer.com. This blog is all about golfing, from tips and tricks to equipment reviews and everything in between. I have been golfing for over 20 years now and love the sport more than ever. I am always looking to improve my game and help others do the same. When I’m not golfing, I can be found spending time with my wife and two kids or playing some other sport (I’m a bit of a sports junkie). Thanks for reading and be sure to check out earlygolfer.com for all your golfing needs!