Golf carts are becoming an increasingly common sight not only on the golf course but also on streets, highways, and roads.
However, golf carts must follow state laws to be allowed on the road. Without understanding these rules, golf carts can become expensive issues for the owner.
You first need to know the definition of golf carts and low-speed vehicles and what licenses are required for each type.
What is Indiana’s definition of a golf cart?
In Indiana, according to code 9-13-2-69.7. Sec. 29-7, a golf cart is:
—a four (4) wheeled motor vehicle originally and specifically designed and intended to transport one (1) or more individuals and golf clubs for the purpose of playing the game of golf on a golf course.
This means that golf carts cannot legally be driven on any street or highway with a speed limit above 35 miles per hour without appropriate licensing.
It is also important to note that golf carts included in this definition are powered by an electric motor and battery and those powered by a gasoline engine. Therefore, it does not pertain to other off-road vehicles.
NEVs, the new kids on the block
NEVs (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles), including street-legal electric golf carts, are legal to operate in low-speed communities.
Golf carts may also be referred to as NEVs (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles), are legal to operate in low-speed communities.
Street-legal electric golf carts are registered the same as cars and can carry several people while saving you money on operating expenses.
Despite the speed of your golf cart, it is crucial to follow the posted speed limit, as many county roads, public roads, city streets, and certain subdivisions reflect different laws.
What is a low-speed vehicle?
Low-Speed Vehicles, or LSVs as they may be referred to for short, are defined as low-speed vehicles that have four wheels, are propelled by an electric motor of no less than 750 watts, and can go up to 25 miles per hour.
All LSVs must have headlights, taillights, brake lights, blinkers, a windshield, seat belts, and a parking brake. Also, they must be tagged and titled just like any other vehicle registered in the state of Indiana.
In addition to this, LSVs must follow very specific requirements regarding things like safety and equipment standards, lighting specifications, and braking performance.
Golf Carts vs. LSVs
With golf carts and LSVs, there is a difference in term usage.
In many cases, people use the terms interchangeably, but it’s more legally correct to classify a golf cart that is street-legal as a low-speed vehicle. In contrast, those that can go more than 25 miles per hour are best classified as neighborhood electric vehicles.
Golf carts and LSVs are legally defined by federal law.
In the end, while there are some definite differences between golf carts and LSVs, both can be driven on roads where speed limits do not exceed the posted limit by more than 15 miles per hour.
Indiana’s laws for low-speed vehicles require the driver to have a valid driver’s license operating on public streets.
Street Legal Golf Carts in Indiana
If your golf cart has been modified to be an LSV, it is possible to ensure that it is street legal.
One of the essential requirements is that you must have a golf cart registration according to Indiana golf cart laws.
This means you must have a vehicle identification number, a valid driver license, and other motor vehicle requirements, such as inspection and insurance.
According to state law, you will also need a license plate, which you must display on both the front and back of golf carts and be visible at all times.
Additionally, the letters and numbers on your plate must align, be visible, and be easy to read.
Indiana laws vary from city, county, or town, so you will need to check your local ordinance traffic regulations to ensure that you comply with the following and much more.
• Seat belts
• Rearview mirrors
• Break lights
• A slow-moving vehicle sign
• Vehicle identification number
• Golf cart registration
• Parking brakes
• Turn signal lamps
Indiana golf carts need headlights, taillights, brake lights, and signal lamps to be considered street legal. There are several options for which lighting you can that we can introduce you to in our golf cart shop.
Turn signals serve as an important function of letting other drivers know what direction your motor vehicle is turning.
To be street-legal in Indiana, turn signals must meet the following requirements: must have individual lamp units that are visible from the front and rear; must be amber to the front and red to the rear; may only flash at a rate of 60p/min (for a total of 120 flashes per minute), and lamps must be on the same side as the turn direction.
In addition to having both a headlight and taillight, Indiana law requires that low-speed vehicles have one or more headlights. Therefore, when making your golf cart street legal, these lights must meet the following requirements:
• A minimum of two headlamps, or one on each side of your vehicle.
• An upper beam of at least 500 candlepower, which means that it can cast light to more than 100 feet in front.
• Turn signal lamps in the front.
• A taillight containing a red light source visible from 500 feet to the rear of your motor vehicle.
Red rear taillight
The rear of your golf cart or LSV must have a red light that is visible at all times.
Whether you are making your golf cart street legal or want to ensure that you have a taillight, the red light must meet the following criteria:
• The lens of the taillight must be at least two square inches in size.
• The lens of the light must be made out of red, transparent material.
• The light must be placed in the center of the rear end.
Indiana golf cart laws
To operate a golf cart on public roads, you must title and register it as a low-speed vehicle or neighborhood electric vehicle.
In some cases, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles may require an inspection for your golf cart before you can get it appropriately titled and registered as an LSV.
If this is the case, be sure that you follow all state regulations regarding the inspection process.
While making your golf cart street legal in Indiana is possible, you must follow all state laws and regulations for this type of motor vehicle.
Understanding golf cart laws in Indiana will help keep everyone safe when driving these fun and versatile vehicles.
Golf carts street legal perks
There are some definite advantages to owning a street-legal golf cart. Driving a golf cart through city streets with ease, especially in a recreational area, can be a fantastic experience.
It can be very freeing to feel confined to the course or public golf course roads.
As with any other vehicle, there are some safety concerns to consider when operating a low-speed vehicle.
Safety golf cart laws
Whether driving a low-speed vehicle or a golf cart street legal, bicycles, pedestrians, and other motor vehicles should be considered when driving through an area with mixed traffic.
Traffic laws still apply to street-legal golf carts, so it is important to remember this when driving, regardless of how many miles per hour your cart can go.
Other safety laws to pay attention to are those regarding drinking and driving.
If you are caught operating an LSV while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the penalties are the same as those for a regular motor vehicle.
Do your research
If you decide to make your golf cart street legal, be sure that you do some research to ensure that it is legal in your area.
Since each city and town has different street-legal golf cart laws, you will want to be sure that you follow all of the rules and regulations that apply to your area.
While it is legal in some areas, you will want to ensure that your community allows street-legal golf carts.
This will ensure that you don’t waste your time and money getting a golf cart ready for the road when it will not be legal to drive.
Some states, such as California, have strict laws concerning the operation of an LSV, while other areas have no requirements for operating a golf cart.
Driving street-legal golf carts and LSVs can be convenient to get around the city, county, or town.
However, if you are based in Indiana, you should check with your city’s laws to ensure that your golf cart is street legal.
Remember that you need to follow your local area’s laws to ensure your golf cart is legal and safe.
We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. We are located at 1035 N. Columbia St. Union City, IN 47390.
Carts & Parts is the go-to source for golf carts and parts. We’re proud to offer service, golf cart rentals, and accessories to the residents of Ohio, Indiana, and beyond.