Everyone loves to escape to the sunshine state of Florida for the winter months. It’s one of the best spots to get away from the world and indulge in some pleasant outdoor activities. One of the popular pastimes is golf, which comes as little surprise with their over 1,100 golf courses spread out over the green state.
Golf carts can not be operated on public or municipal roadways in Florida. Florida state statutes prohibit golf carts and other low-speed vehicles from leaving the designated spaces unless authorized. Some areas, such as park roads, county roadways, and some sidewalks, are designated for golf cart use.
It’s essential to check the local municipal laws and regulations regarding where you can and can not operate your cart.
Due to the low speeds and lack of many safety features on golf carts, they are not meant to be driven on roads like a car.
However, some towns and municipalities make exemptions for convenience, provided that the golf cart has the necessary safety features installed, such as headlights, turn signals, seat belts, and a battery for golf cart.
Where Can You Drive a Golf Cart in Florida?
Golf carts may be operated on any road designated for their use specifically or on other non-public streets. As a general rule, you should never drive your golf cart on a roadway, sidewalk, or other public areas unless specified. You can, however, operate on golf course tracks, some private streets, and some public roads.
Under the Florida driver’s manual, you are always instructed to share the road with slower traffic. However, this does not mean these slower vehicles have the right to be on these roads. Under the Florida state statutes regulating low-speed vehicles (LSVs) on public roads, golf carts are forbidden from traveling on county roadways and highways.
This is not absolute, however. Florida allows local municipalities to create their own rules and regulations about which vehicles may drive on minor municipal roadways.
Therefore, some townships and communities have slow lanes designated for operating golf carts and other low-speed vehicles.
Additionally, some highways have specified lanes for these modes of transportation as well. As a rule of thumb, the Florida code states that golf carts are forbidden on public roads except under the following circumstances:
- On public highways with designated spaces for LSVs and golf carts
- To cross highways with designated spaces
- Crossing highways with golf courses on either side
- A government-approved crossing for mobile home parks
- State Park Roadways with designated speeds under 35 miles per hour
It would be best to assume you can not drive a golf cart on roadways unless otherwise noted. This is the best way to avoid issues with the local laws and ensure your own safety.
Can You Operate a Golf Cart on the Sidewalk?
You are not permitted to drive or operate a golf cart on a sidewalk in Florida due to the impending danger to other pedestrians. Violations are typically considered non-criminal violations and will only result in a fine.
Typically, counties that designate specific roadways for LSVs and golf carts ensure the roads themselves are safe to avoid sidewalk use.
Similar to roadways, the rules regulating LSVs and golf carts on sidewalks aren’t absolute. Some municipalities and townships can designate their sidewalks for golf cart use if they feel it’s necessary and safe.
Necessity could be based on the roadways being too narrow in places to accommodate the golf carts. This is usually only permitted for certain sections of the sidewalk and does not include the whole sidewalk.
Use may also be permitted on sidewalks that have been designed to accommodate LSVs, bikes, and pedestrians safely. These are usually extensive pathways made from pavement, separated by lines and arrows giving direction for low-speed traffic.
Can You Operate a Golf Cart in Parks and Country Roads?
Parks and country roads are usually more friendly for golf carts and low-speed vehicles, but they are still not permitted unless specified. Other low-speed vehicles, such as ATVs, are more likely to be allowed due to their maximum speed capacities. Still, some country and park roadways permit them based on the roadway capacity.
Municipal roadways that designate golf carts and LSVs are legal for golf carts to use. The local government must make these decisions and post the appropriate roadway signage.
Park roadways are typically acceptable to golf carts as long as the speed limit is lower than 35 miles per hour. Even in these circumstances, the parks and recreation departments will typically have signage posted specifying where golf carts can operate.
So, as before, be safe and avoid assumptions about where you should be, and follow the appropriately posted signage.
What Are the Requirements and Regulations on Golf Carts in Florida?
Golf carts must abide by most of the usual regulations in place on cars and other motor vehicles on the roads. They must follow posted directional and instructive signs regarding where to go and how to drive and yield to pedestrians and stop lights and signs. Additionally, there are several physical requirements they must abide by in the setup of the golf cart, such as plates and reflective decals.
Under Florida state law, all golf carts must meet similar safety and operational standards as cars and other vehicles. This includes the following:
- Fully operational brakes
- Steering wheels or other turning devices
- Rearview mirror
- Reflective decals on the back of the cart or wagon
- Tires deemed acceptable
- License plates
- Must not exceed 30 mph on the roadways
- Must be operated by someone who is 14 or older
This is sufficient for anyone operating between the times of sunrise and sunset. Where local governments permit, evening driving is allowed. However, you must have the following:
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
You need to be fully aware of your surroundings and always abide by the posted rules of the road. Ensure to always leave sufficient space at crosswalks and intersections for pedestrians and avoid getting too close to automobiles. This will help prevent the disruption of fast-moving traffic.