Annually, fifteen thousand people obtain a golf cart accident injury. That’s about 288 people per week. But it’s easy to avoid becoming an accident victim when you follow the rules of the road- both on and off the golf course.
Keep reading to learn about age requirements, equipment rules, and registration golf cart laws in Florida.
Is a Golf Cart a Motor Vehicle?
Florida Statute §320.01(41) classifies golf carts as low-speed vehicles (LSV). This means vehicles with four wheels traveling at a maximum speed of 20-25 mph.
These are motor vehicles designed for operating on golf courses and for recreational purposes. They cannot go over 20 mph, per Fla. Stat. §320.01(22).
The vehicle has three or more wheels and weighs 1,800 lbs. or less. It can carry a maximum of four passengers, including the driver.
A roadway is the width between the boundary lines available for public vehicle traffic per Fla. Stat. §320.01(16). You can only cross a street with your golf cart under specific conditions. Operation is only permitted on roads with posted speeds of 30 mph or below when the road contains signage stating use is for automobiles and golf carts.
Conditions of Operating on Roadways
You can’t drive them on public roads in Florida, except under specific conditions found in Fla. Stat. 316.212. According to law, golf cart usage on public roads is not permitted except for the following:
- On a county road or municipal street designated for use by golf carts
- To cross a state highway intersecting a county road or municipal street designated for golf cart usage
- Crossing a state highway at midblock when a golf course is on both sides of the highway
- On a state road, if the DOT determines golf cart use does not impede traffic flow
- Crossing a street or highway where a single mobile home park is on both sides of the roadway
- On a state park road system, if the speed limit is 35 mph or less
- Operation only allowable from sunrise to sunset
- Nighttime driving is only allowable with government authorization and on carts equipped with headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and a windshield
Golf carts operating on public roads must have efficient brakes, safe tires, reliable steering, rearview mirrors, and reflectorized warning devices on the rear and front. Drivers must follow all traffic laws and maintain the posted speed.
When using designated golf cart crosswalks intersecting a roadway, you must yield to pedestrians and cross-vehicle traffic.
Avoid operating golf carts in bad weather. Heavy rain can cause slick roads and flooding, increasing safety risks.
You cannot operate golf carts on roads with speeds over 30 mph. It is illegal to drive on sidewalks unless designated for that purpose. Local government entities may obtain authorization from the Department of Transportation to allow the use on sidewalks.
Local ordinances must restrict the golf cart speed to 15 mph, and the sidewalks must be at least eight feet wide. Fla. Stat §316.212(b) requires posting signs that usage includes golf carts.
Golf carts using sidewalks must meet all equipment requirements for street usage. Additional safety requirements may include a horn or other warning device.
Adults aren’t the only ones at risk of golf cart accidents. Every year over 6,500 children suffer golf cart injuries; over half of those under 12. That’s why there are age restrictions around driving these vehicles.
The allowance for teens 14 years and over to drive is now void. Beginning July 2023, golf cart laws in Florida mandate teens be at least 15 years old and have a learner’s permit or 16 and above with a driver’s license.
Anyone over 18 must have a valid ID or driver’s license from the government to operate a golf cart.
Operating Under the Influence
You cannot operate your golf cart on public roads when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Law enforcement may pull you over and conduct a sobriety test if they believe you are intoxicated. If the officer determines you are under the influence, he or she can charge you with a DUI.
Florida law requires every person in a golf cart to have their own seat. There is no seat sharing or holding children on a lap.
Every seat must have a seatbelt, and all occupants must wear seatbelts on roadways. Children three years or under must be in a car seat. The state recommends using a booster seat for children over age four, but this is not a legal requirement.
To operate a golf cart on public roads in Florida, it must have all of the following:
- Front and rear turn signals
- Brake lights
- Parking brake
- Red reflex reflectors on each side and the rear
- Driver’s side exterior mirror
- Interior rearview mirror or passenger side exterior mirror
- Seat belt for each designated seat
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
If you have a valid disability placard for your automobile, you may park your golf cart in accessible parking spots. You must display your handicap placard. You can get a ticket for parking illegally if you do not display the placard.
Golf Cart Registration
Most golf carts in Florida do not have titles because they are designed for off-road use. Titles and registration are not a requirement unless operating on the road.
You must register your golf cart with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for road use. The registration must show the vehicle identification number (VIN). It must always display an up-to-date registration decal.
To register and title yours as an LSV, ensure it meets the equipment requirements above. Visit a Motor Vehicle Service Center with the following:
- Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
- Application For Title Form HSMV 82040
- Proof of minimum PDL and PIP insurance
- Personal identification-ID card, driver’s license, or passport
- Necessary Fees-title fee, plate fee, initial registration fee, registration fee (based on vehicle weight)
If you modify your golf cart into an LSV, the registration and title reflect the date of registration and title, not the manufacturing date. If purchasing a street-ready version, it may be older than the date on its title.
Golf Cart Insurance
To operate yours on public roads, you must have at least $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) and $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP).
One of the most common accidents on the road is the T-bone collision. People incur serious, life-altering injuries when an automobile crashes into the side of another vehicle or golf cart. This includes spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and tissue injuries.
When operating one on private property, insurance is not mandatory but is advisable. Golf cart accidents cause 10-15% of the personal injury claims on a course. About 70% of these accidents happen on private golf courses, and 40% involve experienced operators.
When recovering from personal injuries, accepting an insurance settlement offer that sounds fair is easy. Insurance companies know accident victims lack legal knowledge about what constitutes a fair settlement offer. Always consult a personal injury attorney before agreeing to a settlement.
If You Are in an Accident
When operating a golf cart on public roads in Florida, it is essential to comply with all Florida laws. Even the most cautious driver can become the victim of an accident.
If you suffer injuries in a golf cart accident, contact RHINO Lawyers for a free case analysis. We will negotiate your settlement or take the matter to trial while you recover. Call 844.RHINO.77 today.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.