Golf carts are one of the best investments an avid golfer can make. With them, you won’t have to worry about dragging heavy golfing equipment on your shoulders and back, or walking several miles to reach your destination.
Golf carts don’t usually exceed speeds of 25 mph, so users rarely wear seat belts when riding them. But this begs the question, do golf carts have seat belts? And is it illegal to drive golf carts on roadways without seatbelts?
The short answer to this question is no, golf carts aren’t usually equipped with seat belts. This isn’t a manufacturing issue; golf carts simply don’t have the “need” for seat belts because they’re mostly used to periodically drive around the golf course.
Do Golf Carts Have Seat Belts?
This may come as a surprise, but golf carts don’t typically come with seat belts. The safety standard for golf carts as provided by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) doesn’t require golf carts to have seat belts.
In place of seat belts, golf carts are instead equipped with accessible handholds and body restraints to prevent passengers from sliding or falling out of the vehicle.
Why Don’t Golf Carts Have Seat Belts?
Golf carts don’t have seat belts because of one simple reason: they’re (mostly) unnecessary. Golf carts usually don’t exceed speeds of 20 miles per hour, so the risk of accidents due to speed-related reasons is low, eliminating the need for seat belts.
There’s also the fact that passengers don’t usually stay in the golf cart for long, so most users don’t feel the need to wear seatbelts during the short driving period.
Golf carts are mostly designed to carry golfers and golfing equipment on a golf course, so wearing a seat belt defeats the purpose of quickly entering and leaving the cart.
Some manufacturers also view seat belts as a potentially dangerous accessory when driving on uneven terrain. Golf carts are much lighter than other LSVs, so they can quickly flip or roll over in sculpted or hilly terrain even at low speeds.
The viewpoint here is that it’s much safer to fall out of the golf cart when it’s tipped on its side than be strapped to the vehicle, which can potentially cause fatal injuries.
Is It Illegal to Drive Golf Carts on Roadways Without Seatbelts?
Golf carts with a maximum speed of less than 20 mph aren’t legally required to comply with the LSV (Low-Speed Vehicle) standard when ridden on a public street or on private property.
However, they’re still subject to local and state regulations. Though you won’t be fined for driving your golf cart without a belt on a golf course, the same can’t be said when driving it on the street.
Law enforcement officials state that golf carts must be equipped with headlights, turn signals, taillights, windshields and windshield wipers, brakes, valid license plates, and proper seat belts for all passengers to be considered road legal.
Furthermore, all drivers must be at least 16 years old and possess a valid driver’s license to operate the cart. If the driver doesn’t meet these requirements, he might be subject to fines of up to $500.
Should You Install Seat belts on a Golf Cart?
Regardless of whether you’re planning to use your golf cart outside the golf course, it’s always a good idea to install seat belts on your golf cart for increased safety.
Golf carts don’t typically come with pre-installed seat belts, so you’ll have to equip them yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
Thankfully, the installation process doesn’t take all that much time or money. In fact, you should be able to install them yourself even without the help of a cart mechanic as long as you’re well-versed with DIY.
How Do You Install Seat Belts on a Golf Cart?
Installing seat belts on a golf cart is a relatively easy process, but it does require you to have some basic knowledge of your golf cart’s design and construction.
With this information, you’ll be able to install the seat belts in the proper location. Essentially, all you’ll need to do is to attach the bracket pieces and steel plates to each other and install the bracket to the golf cart itself with bolts and nuts.
Once the bracket is in place, attach all four of the seat belts by screwing them into the holes on the outer edge of the bracket. Then, do the same to the buckle.
When installing seat belts to your golf cart, make sure the vehicle is completely stationary. Park the vehicle in an open space, turn off the ignition, and put blocks behind the wheels to prevent it from rolling.
You’re also going to need a pair of gloves to prevent blisters on your hands and some safety goggles. You’ll be using the drill quite a lot during installation, so metal shaving can go everywhere including your eyes.
What States Allow Golf Carts on the Road?
Golf carts are street-legal in most US states, including California, Texas, Florida, and Georgia among others. As long as the vehicle has basic road requirements—yes, that includes seat belts—you can safely drive your golf cart on the street.
That said, some states don’t allow golf carts to be driven on the road. These states include Hawaii, Rhode Island, Maryland, Missouri, and, situationally, New York.
Typically, golf carts don’t come with pre-installed seat belts. Since most don’t exceed 25 mph, golf carts aren’t legally required to have seat belts installed as long as they’re used on the golf course.
However, golf carts can only be dubbed “road legal” if they have seat belts, so if you’re planning to use them on the street, you need to have them equipped with seat belts.