Street legal golf carts. When you say it like that, it reminds you of those fancy race cars in all of the Fast & Furious movies that weren’t street legal. Compared to those cars, golf carts are less dangerous, not to mention slower. It would seem like there wouldn’t be that much concern over golf carts, but there is and for good reason.

What Makes a Golf Cart Street Legal?

Not all golf carts are created equal. As cool as some may look, their street safety levels leaves something to be desired.

According to the DMV, street legal golf carts have the following characteristics.

  • It has four wheels
  • It goes between 20-25 MPH
  • It weighs less than 3000 pounds
  • It is certified and has met the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards
  • It is insured and registered with the DMV.

Under these standards, there are some other safety guidelines to consider. The golf cart is not allowed to travel over 35 miles per hour. If crossing state highways, it can only be done so at controlled intersections.

Why aren’t all golf carts legal? The main reason is because they can pose a threat to the driver and passenger in the cart, as well as to other drivers on the road. Golf carts can be likened to bicycles and motorcycles – most drivers aren’t looking for them. Therefore, it is easier to get into a traffic collision.

man in suit driving street legal golf cart in ManhattanWhen golf carts don’t meet the road safety regulations, it makes the situation even more dangerous. Take, for instance, a cart with only three wheels. These carts don’t have the same level of security on the road, making them vulnerable to tipping, especially if they hit or are hit by another car.

Even at a low speed, the situation could be dangerous because of the lack of safety features in a golf cart. Unlike a car, truck, or SUV, golf carts have open sides, no windows, and no airbags. Getting hit in one of these could be catastrophic, so it’s important to take every precaution – starting with making sure your golf cart is street legal.

How to Make Your Golf Cart Street Legal

For those who don’t own street legal golf carts, there are some steps they can take to remedy this.

1. Check the Cart’s Specs

If the golf cart cannot go as high as 25 MPH, you will need to improve the motor so that it can reach this speed.

2. Make Sure You Get Noticed

Just like a regular vehicle, you will need equipment that makes you visible. According to, this includes adding headlights, tail lights, and turn signals. It also includes making sure you notice others as well. Make sure to add a rear view mirror, reflectors, and side mirrors, too.

3. Have a Specialist Check Your Work

If you choose to make these modifications on your own, make sure someone double checks your work before you take the cart out on the road. This will not only help ensure that the cart is safe for you and for others on the road, it will ensure you don’t get a ticket for not being compliant.

Always Check with the DMV Before Taking Your Cart on the Road

Of course, the best course of action is to check with the DMV before taking your golf cart on the road for a ride. You may well think that you know which golf carts are street legal, but regulations are updated from time to time. It’s better to check your cart against these regulations so that you don’t end up getting into any trouble.