What Makes a Golf Cart Street Legal?
Golf carts and similar low-speed vehicles, or LSVs, are popular in many areas of Florida. Visitors often use them to get around tourist locations, while some residents find them helpful for quick trips around parks, golf courses, beaches, etc. Sometimes people have questions about driving them on streets or highways. This is okay under certain circumstances, but you must ensure your golf cart is properly outfitted. It’s also important to take a safety course and drive carefully, because you or others could be injured in a golf cart accident, even at a slow speed.
If you or a loved one were injured in a golf car accident, ATV, or LSV, you may have options for receiving compensation. The Darrigo & Diaz Personal Injury Law Firm has been helping injured clients cover their expenses since 1999. We offer free, no-obligation consultations and work on a contingency basis – that means there is no fee until we win your case.
What Is Required to Make a Golf Cart Street Legal?
Under Florida law, golf carts may be driven on streets if they are designated for golf carts and have a stated speed limit of 30 MPH or less. Golf carts can also cross other roadways if they intersect with a road approved for golf carts, a golf course, or a mobile home park. Any road you can drive a golf cart in should have signs noting that drivers are sharing the street with golf carts and should be looking for these small vehicles. You are not required to title and register a regular golf cart.
What if you want to drive your golf cart on a regular roadway that isn’t designated for golf carts? It will be necessary to convert your cart into a low-speed vehicle, or LSV, which can be driven on streets where the posted speed limit is 35 MPH or less. Converting your cart to an LSV requires making sure it has the following:
- Headlights, tail lights, and brake lights.
- Front and back turn signals.
- Red reflectors to make the LSV more visible – one on each side and another on the back.
- An interior rear view mirror or a passenger-side exterior mirror.
- An exterior mirror on the driver’s side.
- A parking brake to prevent the LSV from rolling off when parked.
- A windshield.
- A seat belt for each seat in the golf cart.
- A vehicle ID number or VIN.
Making a golf cart street legal through the conversion process also requires you title and register your LSV, complete with proof of insurance. The minimum requirement is $10,000 for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and Personal Damage Liability (PDL) coverage. PIP will take care of about 80 percent of medical care costs related to injuries from a covered accident, with no need to prove who was at fault in the accident. PDL will cover damage to another person’s property if you get in an accident in your golf cart where you are at fault.
What if You Were in a Golf Cart Accident and Were Not at Fault?
In some cases, people may suffer serious injuries in golf cart accidents. It’s important to remember that these small vehicles have fewer safety features than cars – no airbags, sometimes no seatbelts, and most golf carts have no doors to prevent you from being ejected in an accident. On the upside, golf carts aren’t meant to go faster than 20MPH – and even if you can push yours beyond that speed limit, it’s not safe. There is a lower risk of injury at slower speeds, but not a nonexistent one.
A Transportation Research Board study conducted in The Villages, Florida (the largest golf cart community in the country) looked at accidents involving golf carts between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2019. During this time, there were 875 golf cart crashes in The Villages, with a yearly average of about 136 accidents, 65 hospitalizations, and nine deaths or permanent disabilities.
Here are some common causes of golf cart crashes:
- Popping wheelies or taking turns too fast, especially going downhill, as golf carts are very easy to flip.
- Passengers standing up, dangling limbs outside of the cart, riding on the back of the cart, or goofing off.
- Operating a golf cart while under the influence. Driving drunk is still dangerous on a golf cart.
- Distracted driving. As with the last point, texting, eating, drinking, and other distractions can also be dangerous while driving a golf cart.
- Overloaded golf carts. Your specific model will probably list a weight limit if you look up its specifications online. Generally, this is anywhere from 450-800 lbs. In most cases, carrying more than two people in the front and three in the back is a bad idea. It’s better to make another trip than carry too many people, which raises the risk of the cart flipping.
- Lack of seat belts. You don’t even have to crash your golf cart for someone to get hurt – many golf cart injuries involve people simply falling out. If you can get a cart with seat belts, this is the best solution, but you don’t always have a choice of what’s available if you’re renting a cart from a golf course or other venue.
Darrigo & Diaz, Attorneys at Law Can Help
If you’ve been injured in a golf cart accident that was not your fault, and the golf cart was not yours, there may or may not be applicable insurance coverage. However, even if there is, it may only cover some of your bills if you have a serious injury. A personal injury lawyer can help you figure out the best way to get compensation for your injuries.
When you have questions or concerns about a golf cart accident, please contact the Darrigo & Diaz Law Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll explain all your options, and if we take your case, you won’t owe us anything until we win. Call today at 813-734-7397.