If you’re a golf cart enthusiast looking to take your ride to the streets of Florida, this guide is for you! Converting your golf cart into a street-legal vehicle, also known as a low-speed vehicle (LSV), requires a few important steps to ensure compliance with Florida’s regulations.
In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of making your golf cart street legal in Florida, providing you with all the necessary information and resources to hit the road safely and legally.
Important Note: Before You Mod
Modifications to your cart should be done by, or under the expert advice of, an authorized golf cart service professional to ensure that all mods are legal, fit your cart model, and won’t void your warranty.
Golf Carts vs. Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs)
There’s a distinction between golf carts and low-speed vehicles (LSVs). While these two types of vehicles may appear similar, they are subject to different regulations in Florida.
- A golf cart is defined in Florida Statute § 320.01(22) 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.”
- An LSV (Low-Speed Vehicle), defined by Florida Statute § 320.01(42), is a four-wheel vehicle with a top speed between 20 and 25 miles per hour.
Learn more about the difference between golf carts and LSVs
Requirements for Street-Legal Golf Carts in Florida
To make your golf cart street-legal in Florida, you must ensure that it meets certain requirements set by the state as well as federal guidelines set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
DOT-mandated safety accessories
To comply with Florida’s regulations, your golf cart must have specific safety accessories. These include:
- Headlights, taillights, and brake lights
- Electric horn
- Turn signals
- Seat belts for each seat
- Parking brake
- Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) triangle with tag light
- AS4 windshield
- Windshield wiper
- Exterior mirror mounted on the driver’s side, and either an exterior mirror mounted on the passenger side or an interior mirror
- Reflectors on each rear side and one on the rear
- Visible sticker stating: “This vehicle must not be operated on public roads at a speed more than 25 miles per hour.”
Registration, titling, and insurance
In addition to equipping your golf cart with the necessary safety accessories, you must also register, title, and insure your vehicle. This involves obtaining a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and securing Florida auto insurance for a low-speed vehicle, including Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage coverage.
The Conversion Process: Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Select the right golf cart
When converting your golf cart into an LSV, it’s essential to choose the right base vehicle. Factors to consider include the speed, age, and performance of the cart. LSVs are required to have a top speed between 20 and 25 miles per hour, so ensure that your cart can achieve this speed.
Some models are a no-brainer: All ICON® EV golf carts are street-legal in most of the United States.
If your cart doesn’t reach the required speed, there may be options for increasing its velocity. Older carts can be fitted with a high-speed motor, while newer models may only require a high-speed chip or code. However, it’s important to consider the cost of these modifications and potential repair needs of older carts.
Step 2: Assess and install safety accessories
Once you have selected a suitable golf cart, take an inventory of existing safety accessories to determine what additional accessories are needed for LSV conversion. Ensure that the cart meets all the safety requirements mentioned earlier, such as lights, horn, turn signals, seat belts, and more.
Step 3: Secure Florida auto insurance
To register your golf cart as an LSV, you must present proof of Florida auto insurance that includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage coverage. This insurance ensures that you are financially protected in case of any accidents or damages involving your LSV.
Step 4: Submit the application packet
After installing the required safety accessories, it’s time to submit the application packet to the DMV for an inspection appointment. During the inspection, your cart will be assigned a 9-digit VIN. It is crucial to have the proper insurance in place before the inspection, as it will be required for the registration process.
Step 5: Obtain title, registration, and license plate
Once your golf cart has successfully passed the inspection and insurance requirements, you’ll need the title, registration, and license plate from the tax collector’s office. These documents and the license plate are essential for legally operating your street-legal LSV on Florida roads. Your EV golf cart dealer can help you with this step.
Enjoy Your Street-Legal Golf Cart
Congratulations! You have successfully converted your golf cart into a street-legal LSV in Florida. Now, you can enjoy cruising around your neighborhood, golf courses, and designated roadways, all while adhering to the state’s regulations.
Remember, always prioritize safety and obey the rules of the road when operating your LSV. Stay aware of your surroundings, yield the right of way, and respect other drivers and pedestrians. With your new street-legal golf cart, you can experience the freedom and convenience of using an LSV for your transportation needs.
Note: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered legal or professional advice. For specific guidance regarding the conversion of your golf cart into a street legal vehicle, consult with a qualified professional or contact the relevant authorities in Florida.