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Do Golf Carts Need License Plates?

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Published: 6 April 2024
Written By Ifrah Tanveer

Reviewed by Farrukh Mehmood

Facts checked by Zafar Mehmood

A golf cart is a useful, slow-moving vehicle that can be utilized in a variety of locations, such as private estates, warehouses, golf courses, and university campuses. These adaptable carts can even be utilized for street transportation in certain situations. The question arises: Do golf carts need license plates?

Golf carts usually do not need license plates when they are used on private property, like a golf course or personal estate. But in states where they are considered street-legal, if a golf cart is going to be used on the streets, certain rules must be followed and a license or permit must be obtained.

Although not all states allow golf carts on public roads, it is important for anyone thinking about using one on the street to be aware of the rules and the licensing requirements. You will have gained valuable knowledge about the specifics of installing license plates on golf carts by the end of this article, which will be helpful to anyone who wants to use their carts outside of their private property. 

Before that, there is one more query in which many golfers got stuck. While purchasing the golf cart, they require an insurance plan for it. So if you’re also puzzled, then have a read of our detailed guide on “How much does golf cart insurance cost?” 

Do Golf Carts Need License Plates?

When a golf cart is used on private property, like a golf course or personal estate, a license plate is typically not required. However, if you want to drive your golf cart on public roads or streets, you have to follow certain requirements:

  1. To be street-legal, the golf cart needs to be modified to include working lights, reflectors, mirrors, and brakes.
  2. On the golf cart, there should be an emblem for slow-moving vehicles installed.
  3. The 35 mph speed limit, which is usually applicable in residential areas, should be followed by the cart.
  4. The distance between the parking lot and the destination—typically a golf course—should not be more than two miles in 35 mph zones.
  5. Every crossing should be located inside the 35 mph zone.
  6. The ideal speed range for a golf cart is twenty to twenty-five miles per hour.
  7. It might be necessary to obtain a permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles in counties with a population of at least 700,000.
  8. Some beaches require permits from the local government in order to use the golf cart, whether they are public or private.

How are Golf Carts Treated in Different States?

In the United States, different states have different policies regarding golf carts; only a small number permit road-legal golf carts on public streets. A few examples of the variables that affect the treatment are the state of the public roads and the local population.

States have varying levels of tolerance when it comes to golf carts. Authorities may be more lenient in areas where there is a high concentration of senior citizens who use golf carts on a regular basis.

Some states, however, might demand legal permits in order to allow golf carts to be used on public roads. Irrespective of tolerance levels, a golf cart cannot operate on the street unless certain requirements are fulfilled.

Golf carts fall into two categories under the law: non-compliant models and compliant models. 

Non-compliant Golf Carts:

  • Golf carts that span multiple generations and have a top speed of 12 to 14 miles per hour.
  • golf carts on golf courses that can go up to about 15 mph.

Compliant Golf Carts:

  • High-end versions with a top speed range of 20 to 25 miles per hour.
  • limited to 35 mph zones, which also permit utility and all-terrain vehicles and recreational off-highway vehicles.

The Golf Cart Licensing Procedure:

Do Golf Carts Need License Plates? Well! Obtaining a license for your golf cart is a lengthy process that requires careful attention to every detail in order to avoid possible rejections.  Start the process by getting in touch with a nearby motor service company to talk about converting your golf cart.

Make sure it complies with street laws by adding the required headlights and tail lights.  Obtain the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) by gathering the necessary paperwork, which includes the original bill of sale, certificate of origin, weight slip, application for title, and proof of insurance.

Provide proof of identity, such as a passport or ID card, in addition to your driver’s license.  Pay license, titling, and inspection fees to satisfy your financial obligations.

It is important to remember that, in order to continue driving your golf cart on public streets in accordance with the law, your license must be renewed on a regular basis. Usually, this happens every five years or when your address changes. You may like to read our article on How Much Does Golf Cart Insurance Cost?

How Should a License Plate Be Installed on a Golf Cart?

Golf carts, unlike regular cars, usually do not have plate frames or safe places to attach license plates, so doing so can be difficult. Unlike cars, which have regular nuts and bolts, golf carts frequently have ornamental holes that are not useful for mounting plates. As an alternative, think about using Velcro straps to firmly affix license plates.

The plates can be securely held in place with the help of these straps. You can also get in touch with the manufacturer of your golf cart to see if they can drill mounting holes just for the purpose of fastening license plates, which would be a more permanent and personalized option. 

Can I Use the Sidewalk to Drive My Golf Cart?

Regardless of whether it has license plates or not, using a golf cart on a sidewalk is generally prohibited. Golf cart use on sidewalks can be dangerous since they are intended for pedestrian use only.

A golf cart may, however, be permitted on a sidewalk under certain conditions, such as accessing a parking lot, adjoining property, or a specially marked area like a golf course. Respecting local laws and ordinances is essential to ensuring that golf carts are used responsibly and lawfully in certain locations. Also read our complete guide on How Tall is a Golf cart?

Conclusion- Do Golf Carts Need License Plates?

Do Golf Carts Need License Plates? To sum up, license plates are not necessary if you only use your golf cart on private property. But, in order to be used off your property, the golf cart needs to be converted to be street legal, and a license is required. Golf cart permits differ from state to state, but generally speaking, they must operate within 35 mph zones and have a 20 to 25 mph speed range.

Before getting a license, the golf cart might need to have certain modifications made. Respecting these rules guarantees that golf carts may be used legally and sensibly in various situations.

Frequently Asked Questions – Do Golf Carts Need License Plates?

Are there exemptions for golf carts on private property?

Yes, there is typically no need for license plates or other street-legal modifications if a golf cart is used exclusively on private land.

Can golf carts be driven on sidewalks?

In general, golf carts are not permitted on sidewalks unless they are entering a parking lot, adjoining property, or a specially marked area such as a golf course.

How can license plates be attached to golf carts?

Golf carts frequently do not have standard plate frames. Velcro straps can be used to secure license plates, and in certain situations, mounting holes drilled by the golf cart manufacturer can provide a more secure fit.

What adjustments are needed before getting a license for a golf cart?

To ensure compliance with specific speed regulations, it may be necessary to make street-legal adjustments prior to obtaining a license. These adjustments may include installing headlights, tail lights, reflectors, mirrors, brakes, and more.

Muhammad Zafar