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Are Golf Carts Street Legal in Florida?

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Are Golf Carts Street Legal in Florida?

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Laws

are golf carts street legal florida tampa

With their small size and low rate of speed, golf carts may not seem like they would be much of a safety hazard. However, drivers who operate these vehicles on public roads can cause accidents that lead to serious injuries. Multiple factors determine whether a golf cart driver may be liable for injuries that result from an accident, including whether the driver had a legal right to operate the vehicle where the accident occurred. Are golf carts street legal in Florida?

How Does Florida Law Define a Golf Cart?

Low-speed vehicles look and operate similarly to golf carts, but Florida law treats them differently. A golf cart is a motor vehicle designed to operate on a golf course that can’t travel faster than 20 mph. Florida law considers golf carts that can go faster than 20 mph to be low-speed vehicles.

Is Driving a Golf Cart on Florida Streets Legal?

Drivers may operate golf carts on residential streets, but it is only legal to drive a golf cart on public roads in specific circumstances. Golf cart drivers may:

  • Cross portions of highways that intersect county roads or municipal streets
  • Cross highways at midblock when there is a golf course on both sides of the highway
  • Cross a street or highway that divides the mobile home park they live or are a guest in
  • Operate their vehicles on roads that are part of the State Park Road System if the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less
  • Operate their vehicles on roads where a local government entity enacted an ordinance that makes it legal

Occupants of golf carts must wear seat belts when riding on public roads. To be street legal in Florida,  golf carts must have efficient brakes, reliable steering apparatus, safe tires, a rearview mirror, and red reflectorized warning devices in both the front and rear. Golf cart drivers must yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

Time Restrictions on Golf Cart Operation

Florida drivers may only operate golf carts from sunrise to sunset unless a local or municipal ordinance says otherwise. Where local laws allow drivers to operate golf carts after sunset, the golf cart must have headlights, brake lights, a windshield, and turn signals.

Age Limits

No person under the age of 18 may operate a golf cart on public roads or streets unless they have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit. Persons over 18 must have a valid ID issued by the government when operating golf carts.

Traffic Laws

Drivers must follow traffic laws when operating golf carts on Florida roads. Golf cart drivers may not drive while legally intoxicated and must follow traffic signs and signals.

Can You Make a Golf Cart Street Legal in Florida?

Low-speed vehicles may legally operate on Florida streets with posted speed limits of 35 mph or less. Golf cart owners can modify their carts to be street-legal golf carts if they qualify as low-speed vehicles.

To qualify as a low-speed vehicle, a golf cart must:

  • Be able to go faster than 20 mph but not faster than 25 mph
  • Have stop lamps, headlamps, turn signal lamps, parking brakes, tail lamps, reflex reflectors, rearview mirrors, seat belts, windshields, and a VIN
  • Be registered and insured

Drivers of low-speed vehicles must have a valid driver’s license. Golf carts operating on roadways may not carry more passengers than there are seats in the golf cart. Florida law treats golf carts that can travel faster than 25 mph as passenger vehicles.

Insurance Requirements

Florida law does not require golf cart owners to register or insure their vehicles. However, owners of golf carts that qualify as low-speed vehicles must purchase liability insurance.

Is It Legal To Drive a Golf Cart on the Sidewalk?

Drivers may only legally operate golf carts on Florida sidewalks if the sidewalk is a designated golf cart path. Some cities have specific rules about golf cart operation on sidewalks that may be different from Florida law.

What Should You Do If a Golf Cart Driver Injures You?

If a golf cart driver causes an accident that injures you, call the police and file a police report. Get medical treatment for your injuries.

Prompt medical treatment is important to ensure your health and to prove your claim. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent or get worse with time, so it is a good idea to see a doctor, even if you don’t think your injuries are serious.

Document the details of the accident and your injuries by taking photos and videos. Get a copy of the police report. Get the names and contact information of the driver of the golf cart, any passengers, and any witnesses.

Ask for the golf cart driver’s insurance information. Contact a golf cart accident lawyer. If the golf cart driver has liability insurance, you may be able to file a claim.

If there is no liability insurance, you may need to pursue recovery by filing a personal injury lawsuit.  An attorney will investigate the accident, estimate the value of your claim, determine who is liable for your damages, help you file an insurance claim or lawsuit, negotiate with the insurance company or opposing counsel, and obtain and present evidence to prove your case.

If the golf cart driver was illegally operating on public roads, not following traffic laws, or driving recklessly, they may be liable for your damages. If the golf cart driver’s negligence caused your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for emotional distress, lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and property damage.

Where Can You Get Help With a Golf Cart Accident?

If someone injured you while illegally or recklessly operating a golf cart on Florida streets, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries and other damages. The team of personal injury lawyers at Burnett Law, P.A., will aggressively fight for your best interests. Don’t take on the insurance company on your own. At Burnett Law, P.A., we stand up for “the little guy.” Contact us to schedule a free consultation.