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Using a golf cart as a personal vehicle, also referred to as a low speed vehicle (LSV), is becoming more and more popular. Street legal golf carts are easy to operate, inexpensive, and more environmentally friendly than gas-powered automobiles. Golf carts that are street legal can be operated on streets with speed limits of 35 miles per hour or less.
Why Have a Street Legal Golf Cart?
It might seem strange to opt for a street legal golf cart instead of a car, but they are a great alternative in many situations. Street legal carts have brake lights, head lights, rear lights, seat belts, windshields, and vehicle identification numbers (VIN), which make them safe for you and others on the road.
Street legal golf carts are often used in corporate environments with large campuses to transport employees and guests. They are also commonly found at country clubs, gated communities, and large corporations. These vehicles are a cost-effective solution to traveling short distances.
Converting Your Golf Cart to be Street Legal
Most golf carts have the features needed to meet local city ordinances (blinkers, belts, head and tail lights, horns, reflectors, and windshields). If your golf cart does not have one or more of these features, they can be easily installed. When converting your golf cart to be street legal, remember to:
- Check the original specs: An LSV's top speed must be between 20 and 25 miles per hour. If your golf cart does not go that fast, then you may need to improve or replace the motor and other parts. You may also have to present the manufacturer's certificate of origin as an LSV.
- Check your visibility: It is important that you have an unobstructed view while operating your golf cart. This means you need to have rearview mirrors and reflex reflectors, as well as a windshield and windshield wipers. You should be able to clearly see ahead, to the sides, and behind.
- Get identification: To be street legal, your golf cart needs to come with a VIN to allow for fast and easy identification of the vehicle. If your golf cart does not have a VIN, you must file the proper paperwork.
- Make your vehicle noticeable: A street legal golf cart needs to be seen, which means brake lights, head lights, stop lights, and turn signals. All of them must be functional for the cart to be street legal and it is important that you understand how to operate them while driving.
How Much Do Street Legal Golf Carts Cost?
It is difficult to provide an exact cost for golf carts, as the type of cart, its specifications and features, the age of the vehicle, and the dealer you choose all factor into the final price. That being said, here is a general pricing guide to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay for your street legal golf cart:
- A two-passenger golf cart with basic features has an average cost between $7,700 and $7,900.
- A four-passenger golf cart with basic features has an average cost between $7,900 and $8,400.
- A top-of-the-line, six-passenger golf cart with luxury features such as a cooler, DVD player, and radio has an average cost between $10,800 and $11,000.
If you plan to convert a golf cart to be street legal instead of buying a street legal cart, prices change. As stated above, most golf carts come with the necessary features to become street legal, so there shouldn't be much you have to do there. The biggest costs associated with converting a cart are license plates, registration, and titles, pricing for which depends on your local and state laws.
Check Local Laws
It is absolutely crucial that you check your local laws before buying a street legal golf cart or converting one. Some areas do not allow you to drive a golf cart on the street at all, while others are completely fine with it. Even if you think you have all the proper equipment to make your cart street legal, you need to check local laws, because they change regularly.
When converting a cart, make sure that you purchase and install items as according to the Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety regulations. This stipulates that you need exterior mirrors on either side, headlamps, a parking brake, tail lamps, front and rear turn signals, red reflex reflectors on both sides of the cart, and a windshield. You are also required to add a warning label that can easily be seen by the driver that states the vehicle cannot operate on public roads above 25 miles per hour.