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Golf Carts: Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities in Florida

May 17, 2024 | Category: Automobile Accidents, Personal Injury | Share

Golf carts have become ubiquitous in neighborhoods across Florida. Amusement parks, stadiums and other venues use golf carts as an efficient means of transportation for their employees and VIP guests as well. But, despite how popular they have become, it is clear that many people are not familiar with the laws that apply to golf carts operating on Florida’s roads (and on private property). So, what do you need to know? Fort Myers accident attorney Randall L. Spivey explains.

Where Can You Legally Drive a Golf Cart in Florida?

The first thing you need to know is that the law is surprisingly complicated when it comes to golf carts. While most people think of a golf cart as a fun and easy way to get around, strict rules and regulations apply. With most of these rules and regulations intended to help prevent accidents, golf cart owners and drivers who break the law can face penalties—and they can face liability in the event that they cause (or contribute to causing) an accident that could have been avoided.

Golf Carts vs. Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs)

One of the most complicated aspects of Florida law when it comes to golf carts is the distinction between golf carts and low-speed vehicles (LSVs):

Golf Carts

Under Florida law, a standard golf cart is not an LSV (although a golf cart can become an LSV, as we discuss below). As defined by the Florida Statutes, a golf cart is “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.” Golf carts are subject to several restrictions, and they generally cannot be driven on public roads. As the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) explains, it is only legal to drive a golf cart:

  • On roadways that are designated for golf carts that have a speed limit no greater than 30 mph; and,
  • Across a “country road” that intersects a roadway that is approved for golf carts.

As the FLHSMV also notes, all such roadways “should have signs posted that golf carts share the roadway,” and golf cart drivers may need to comply with local ordinances that are more restrictive than state law.

Additionally, under a new law passed in late 2023, no one under the age of 15 can legally drive a golf cart on public roads. Minors must possess a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license in order to get behind the wheel. While drivers over the age of 18 do not need a driver’s license, they do need “a valid form of government-issued photographic identification.”

Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs)

The Florida Statutes draw a distinction between golf carts and low-speed vehicles. While a golf cart is a motor vehicle that can go no faster than 20 mph, an LSV is defined as “any four-wheeled vehicle whose top speed is greater than 20 miles per hour, but not greater than 25 miles per hour.” Thus, generally speaking, a golf cart is not an LSV (though there are exceptions), and although LSVs can go more places, they are also subject to more rules and requirements.

While golf cart drivers must stick to designated roadways, LSV drivers can go on any street that has a speed limit of 35 mph or less. Additionally, only licensed drivers can operate LSVs on public roads under Florida law, and to be “street legal,” an LSV must be equipped with the following:

  • Headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals
  • Parking brake
  • Rearview mirrors
  • Red reflectors on each side
  • Seatbelts
  • Windshield

A low-speed vehicle must also have a vehicle identification number (VIN). If an LSV does not meet any of these requirements, then it cannot legally be driven on Florida’s roads. Local ordinances may impose additional requirements for LSVs as well.

Is Your Golf Cart an LSV?

While golf carts generally are not classified as LSVs, golf carts can be converted to LSVs, and many people have converted LSVs–though they might not realize it. If you bought a “golf cart” from a dealer that was marketed as being “street legal,” then you most likely purchased a converted LSV.

Golf carts that have been converted to LSVs are subject to all of the same requirements as other low-speed vehicles. The driver restrictions that apply to other low-speed vehicles apply to golf carts that have been converted to LSVs as well.

What Are the Registration Requirements for Golf Carts (and LSVs) in Florida?

In Florida, low-speed vehicles (including golf carts that have been converted to LSVs) need to be titled and registered. Unregistered LSVs cannot legally be driven on public roads—just as you cannot legally drive your car, truck, or SUV if its registration has expired.

What Are the Insurance Requirements for Golf Carts (and LSVs) in Florida?

Registering a low-speed vehicle (including a golf cart that has been converted to a low-speed vehicle) requires proof of insurance under Florida law. At a minimum, LSV owners must carry $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage and $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. However, LSV owners can opt to purchase additional coverage—including bodily injury liability (BIL) and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage that provides protection in the event of a serious accident.

Golf Cart (and LSV) Drivers Must Follow the Rules of the Road

Whether driving on a roadway designated for golf carts or driving on a public road with a speed limit of 35 mph or less, golf cart and LSV drivers must follow the rules of the road. Among other things, this means that drivers must:

  • Obey the posted speed limit
  • Observe all applicable traffic signs and signals
  • Avoid tailgating, swerving, and other reckless behaviors
  • Never drive while distracted
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Of course, these same rules apply to other drivers, and car, truck, and SUV drivers must respect golf cart and LSV drivers’ right to share the road. When any driver makes a mistake that leads to a serious golf cart accident, the driver can—and should—be held fully accountable.

Understanding Your Legal Rights After a Golf Cart (or LSV) Accident in Florida

So, we have covered your legal responsibilities as a golf cart (or LSV) owner—or driver—in Florida. Now, what are your legal rights?

When you get injured in a golf cart (or LSV) accident, you have clear legal rights under Florida law. Generally speaking, these are the same rights afforded to drivers and passengers injured while riding in cars, trucks, and SUVs. For example, as a golf cart (or LSV) accident victim in Florida, your legal rights include:

  • The Right to File an Insurance Claim – Whether you have a claim under your PIP or UIM policy (or under a family member’s PIP or UIM policy) or you have grounds to file a claim with another driver’s insurance company, you can—and should—seek the full coverage that is available to you. When you have a golf cart (or LSV) accident claim, the amount you are entitled to recover is based on the extent of your injuries and the costs you incur as a result of the accident.
  • The Right to File a Claim Against Any Other Party that is Responsible – From golf courses to homeowners’ associations (HOAs), and from government agencies to golf cart manufacturers, various entities can potentially be liable for a golf cart (or LSV) accident depending on the circumstances involved. You have the right to file claims against all of the parties that are responsible for your accident-related losses. In most cases, this will involve dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company as well.
  • The Right to Find Out What Happened and Why – To determine which type of claim (or claims) to file, you need to figure out exactly what happened and why. This involves conducting a thorough investigation, and you have the right to gather all of the information you need to make informed decisions about asserting your right to just compensation.
  • The Right to Be Treated Fairly (and to Go to Court if Necessary) – When you file an insurance claim, the insurance company has a legal duty to handle your claim in good faith. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement for any reason, you have the right to take your claim to trial.
  • The Right to Hire an Attorney to Represent You – Finally, you have the right to hire an attorney to represent you. Protecting your right to just compensation after a golf cart (or LSV) accident is not easy. However, an experienced Fort Myers accident attorney can help, and you can hire an attorney to represent you at no out-of-pocket cost.

Request a Free Consultation with a Fort Myers Accident Attorney 

Do you need to know more about protecting your legal rights after a golf cart or LSV accident in Florida? If so, we encourage you to contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. Call 239-337-7483 or statewide call 888-477-4839 or contact us online at to arrange a free consultation with Fort Myers accident attorney Randall L. Spivey today.

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