Do Golf Carts Need License Plates?

A golf cart is an excellent low-speed vehicle that you can use around the golf course or your own property. It can also be used in a warehouse, private resort, a university campus, or to move around any similar facility. In some cases, you can even use a golf cart to commute on the street. So, do golf carts need license plates?

When you’re using a golf cart on your property, you don’t need to have license plates. However, in states where golf carts are street-legal, the cart should satisfy some requirements, and a license or permit should be issued.

Golf carts aren’t allowed to operate on the highway in every state, but if you’re planning to drive your cart, you need to read this article. So, let’s learn more about installing license plates on your golf cart.

Do Golf Carts Need License Plates?

When you’re using your golf cart on private property without taking it to the highway, you don’t need to worry about installing license plates. However, there are a few conditions to follow if you’re planning to use your golf cart on a public street or highway.

  • The golf cart should have functioning headlamps, tail lamps, reflectors, stop lamps, a mirror, and brakes. This conversion makes it street legal.
  • There should be an emblem for slow-moving vehicles installed on your golf cart.
  • The golf cart should be limited to 35-mile-per-hour zones. These are usually located in residential areas.
  • When allowed in 35-mile-per- hour zones, the total distance traveled between the parking spot and the destination golf course shouldn’t exceed 2 miles.
  • Crossing an intersection means that all the roads should exist within the 35-mile-per-hour zones.
  • The speed range of the golf cart should be between 20 and 25 miles per hour.
  • If you’re using the golf cart in a county whose population is 700,000 or more, a permit will be issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state.
  • If you use the golf cart on a private or public beach, there should be a permit from the local authorities.

A permit or license isn’t required in the following cases.

  • You’re using the golf cart on your property or in a particular area in the country or city that is allocated for crossing golf carts, like a golf course.
  • You’re using the golf cart on a route of access between a golf course and a parking lot, where the cart doesn’t have to go on the road.

How are Golf Carts Treated in Different States?

Only a few states currently allow road-legal golf carts to be used on the street. However, golf carts are treated differently in various states, depending on the condition of the public roads and the demography of the area.

For example, in a county with a lot of senior citizens who practice golf often, the authorities will be tolerant of the presence of golf carts. In other states, they might not be as tolerant, and a legal permit will be needed. Nevertheless, regardless of how tolerant the state is, several restrictions apply before allowing a golf cart on the street.

According to the law, golf carts are divided into two types: non-compliant and compliant models. Here are the differences between them.

  • Non-compliant golf carts include multi-generational golf carts that usually achieve a top speed between 12 and 14 miles per hour. These also include golf course golf carts that reach a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.
  • Compliant golf carts are top-tier models that are designed to reach a maximum speed range between 20 and 25 miles per hour. These golf carts will only be restricted to 35-mile-per-hour zones, which also allow the use of recreational off-highway vehicles, utility vehicles, and all-terrain vehicles.

The Licensing Process of Your Golf Cart

Getting your golf cart licensed involves going through a long detailed process. However, following every step is necessary, or your license will be denied.

  • Talk to your local motor service firm to discuss converting your car by installing the necessary headlights and tail lights.
  • Prepare some paperwork, including the original bill of sale, the certificate of origin, the weight slip, an application of title, and the evidence of insurance. Using these documents, you’ll get your Vehicle Identification Number or VIN.
  • You need to get your ID card or passport and your driver’s license.
  • Pay the inspection fees, titling fees, and license fees. You’ll have to renew your license every five years or when you change your address.

How Do You Put a License Plate on Your Golf Cart?

Golf carts usually don’t have plate frames, so license plants can’t be securely attached with nuts and bolts like other vehicles. Although some golf carts have holes that resemble those you see on other vehicles, these are only for decorative purposes.

Instead, you’ll have to attach your license plates with Velcro straps which will keep them in place. You can also ask your golf cart manufacturer to drill mounting holes to secure your license plates.

Can I Drive My Golf Cart on the Sidewalk?

With or without license plates, you can’t use a golf cart on a sidewalk except to enter an adjacent property. This means that your golf cart is only allowed on the sidewalk when it’s about to enter your property, parking lot, or golf course.

Wrap Up

You don’t need license plates if you drive your golf cart on your private property. However, if you’re planning to use your golf cart outside your property, it should be converted to become street legal, and then you should get a license.

Permits issued for golf carts differ from one state to another, but in all cases, the golf cart won’t be allowed to operate except in 35-mile-per-hour zones. In this case, its speed range should be between 20 and 25 miles per hour. There are also a few adjustments that you need to make to your golf cart before you’re able to get a license.



Scroll to Top