Don’t Be Fooled & Misled About
of Street Legal Golf Carts
There are several dealers today representing that they are selling
golf carts that are street legal.At the present time, there are only
two manufacturers, Columbia PARCAR and Gems that produce newly designed
golf cart type vehicles that are “street legal”.These are referred
to as “low-speed vehicles” by the California Department of Motor
Vehicles and are also called NEV’s (Neighbor Electric Vehicles).
They have special design criteria and comply with the requirements
set forth by the National Highway Safety Committee. Standard golf
carts as manufactured by EZGO, Club Car, Yamaha as well as Columbia
PARCAR are not certified to be street legal.Four-wheeled ATV type
of off road recreational vehicles are not legal to be used on municipal
The following are some frequently asked questions and comments regarding
street legal vehicles.The operation, design and use of these types
of vehicles are regulated by the California Vehicle Code and the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
01. Question: What is a golf cart in the eyes of the CA V.C.?
Answer: CA Vehicle Code Section 345 - 345.A "golf cart" is
a motor vehicle having not less than three wheels in contact with
the ground, having an unladen weight less than 1,300 pounds, which
is designed to be and is operated at not more than 15 miles per hour
and designed to carry golf equipment and not more than two persons,
including the driver.
02. Question: What is a Low-Speed Vehicle or NEV?
Answer: This vehicle ids defined by the CA V.C. Section 385.5 and
NHTSA, DOT CFR Title 49-571.500 (a) A “low-speed vehicle” is a motor
vehicle that meets all of the following requirements: Has four wheels
Can attain a speed, in one mile, of more than 20 miles per hour and
not more than 25 miles per hour, on a level surface. Has a gross
vehicle weight rating of less than 3,000 pounds.
(b) (1) For the purposes of this section, a “low-speed vehicle”
is not a golf cart except when operated pursuant to section 21115
or 21115.1 (2) A “low-speed vehicle” is also know as a “neighborhood
CFR Title 49-571.500 A “low-speed vehicle” is a 4-wheeled vehicle
that can reach a speed of more than 20mph but not more than 25mph
on a level track.Can carry 2-4 persons, all facing forward; has Dot
rated tires; has DOT rated headlamps, tail lamps, & stop lamps;
has DOT rated front & rear turn signals and two mirrors.It has
a safety glass windshield of AS-1 or AS-5 material conforming to
ANSI STD Z-26.1-1977 and a Type 1 or Type 2 seat belt assembly conforming
to sec. 571.209 at each designated seating position.It must also
have a VIN number conforming to Section 571.565
03. Question: Can I legally drive my NEV on the street?
Answer: Yes!You may drive your “low-speed vehicle/NEV” on any street
with a posted speed limit of 35mph or less and you are subject to
the California Vehicle Code.
04. Question: Where can I legally drive my golf cart?
Answer: A standard golf cart as described in CA V.C. Section 345
cannot carry more than two people.You may drive a golf cart on municipal
streets for the explicit purpose of moving it from its place of storage
to a golf course.The maximum distance of travel for this use is 1
mile on roads with posted speed limits of 25MPH or less per CA V.C.
21115.You may not use it on municiple streets for general transportation
purposes.You are restricted for use on private property.
21115.(a) If a local authority finds that a highway under its jurisdiction
is located adjacent to, or provides access to, a golf course and
between the golf course and the place where golf carts are parked
or stored or is within or bounded by a real estate development offering
golf facilities and is designed and constructed, so as to safely
permit the use of regular vehicular traffic and also the driving
of golf carts on the highway, the local authority may, by resolution
or ordinance, designate the highway or portion of the highway for
combined use and prescribe rules and regulations that shall have
the force of law.No highway shall be so designated for a distance
of more than one mile from the golf course if the highway is not
located within a development or beyond the area of a development,
provided, the finding of the local authority in this respect shall
be conclusive.Upon the designation becoming effective it shall be
lawful to drive golf carts upon the highway in accordance with the
prescribed rules and regulations.The rules and regulations may establish
crossing zones and speed limits and other operating standards but
shall not require that the golf carts conform to any requirements
of this code with respect to registration, licensing, or equipment,
except that if operated during darkness the golf cart shall be subject
to the provisions of Section 24001.5 regarding equipment. The rules
and regulations shall not be effective until appropriate signs giving
notice thereof are posted along the highway affected. of this section,
means an area of single-family or multiple-family residences, the
owners or occupants of which are eligible for membership in, or the
use of, one or more golf courses within the development by virtue
of their ownership or occupancy of a residential dwelling unit in
the development. (b) For purposes of this section, a "golf cart" includes
a low-speed vehicle.
05. Question: I was sold a cart that was supposed to be street legal
is not. What should I do?
Answer: You should report this to the California Highway Patrol.
CA Vehicle Section 24005 makes it illegal for somebody to sell or
offer something to be used on the highway which is not highway legal.
24005.It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, lease,
install, or replace, either for himself or as the agent or employee
of another, or through such agent or employee, any glass, lighting
equipment, signal devices, brakes, vacuum or pressure hose, muffler,
exhaust, or any kind of equipment whatsoever for use, or with knowledge
that any such equipment is intended for eventual use, in any vehicle,
that is not in conformity with this code or regulations made thereunder.
06. Question: The dealer told me to say it was a NEV when I go to
registrar and get Insurance for the cart is this Legal?
Answer: NO! Most insurance companies will insure an NEV, however,
they will not insure golf carts mainly because they are not street
legal.You are signing these documents under the penalty of perjury.
If you get caught you’re on your own. The insurance company doesn’t
have to cover you.Also keep in mind, that in order for a dealer to
sell you a street legal vehicle they must have a Dealer’s License
from the Department of Motor Vehicles.If they don’t have a Dealer’s
License this should be your first sign trouble.
07. Question: What should I look for before purchasing a “street
Answer: (1) A licensed, reputable dealer who knows the law. (2)
Be sure you get a Certificate of Compliance confirming that the vehicle
conforms to the State of California Vehicle Code asrequired by CA
V.C. Section 24007. (3) Confirm that the vehicle is insurable.