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Golf Cart Road Safety

It’s not exactly unusual to see someone driving a golf cart down the street, especially in the Florida suburbs. Some people seem to prefer driving them over regular motor vehicles—they’re energy-efficient, cheaper to purchase and maintain, and probably more fun to drive. Yet just because it is not an uncommon sight doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe or permitted. Our Panama City personal injury attorney explains the basics of golf cart road safety in Florida.

A golf cart is classified as a low speed vehicle (LSV) in Florida. Florida Statutes Section 320.01(41) defines LSVs as “any four-wheeled vehicle whose top speed is greater than 20 miles per hour, but not greater than 25 miles per hour.” By law, LSVs must be registered, titled, and insured with personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance. To legally operate an LSV, the driver must have a valid driver’s license in their immediate possession.

However, the rules for golf carts differ slightly from those of typical LSVs.

Golf carts are defined in Florida Statutes Section 320.01(22) more specifically as “a motor vehicle that is designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.” Because golf carts rarely can exceed 20 mph, the rules that apply to them are laxer than those that dictate how other LSVs are treated by law.

Golf carts are not required to be titled or registered and, therefore, do not require insurance coverage. Golf cart operators are also not required to have a driver’s license; the only requirement necessary to operate a golf cart on designated roadways is that the driver must be 14 years of age or older.

Golf carts can legally be operated on roadways that are designated for them with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less. They may also be legally operated on certain, designated roads near golf courses—be on the lookout for signs posted noting that golf carts share the roadway.

These rules and regulations can be confusing, especially as they differ from how other LSVs are treated in Florida. Remember—golf carts that travel under 20 mph may have fewer regulations than other LSVs, but they cannot be legally driven on most public roads.

Keep in mind that if you break the rules or drive too recklessly, you can get a ticket while operating a golf cart. Speeding, riding on roads where it is illegal to do so, and driving with intoxicated (DUI) are all violations that golf cart drivers can receive.

Some general safety tips to keep in mind when driving a golf cart in Florida include:

  • Stay on designated roads and obey all traffic signs and laws
  • Only carry the number of passengers you have seats or seat belts for
  • Don’t drive any motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol
  • Avoid speeding and watch out for pedestrians
  • Keep your feet, legs, hands, and arms inside the vehicle at all times
  • Slow down before and during turns
  • Turn on your headlights when visibility is low
  • Don’t drive on sidewalks and other areas designated only for pedestrians

If you follow these rules and drive responsibly, your golf cart driving experience will be safe and enjoyable. However, even if you operate your golf cart safely you can still be struck by negligent drivers on the road. Drive safe!

Have you or a loved one been injured by or while riding a golf cart in Florida? No motor vehicle accident case is too complicated or unusual for our Panama City personal injury attorney, Wes Pittman. Call (850) 764-0383 or contact us online for a free case evaluation—we are available 24/7.

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