What Is An LSV Golf Cart? A Quick Guide To A New Ride


What Is An LSV Golf Cart? An LSV is defined by law as a 4-wheeled vehicle whose maximum speed falls between 20 and 25 mph on a flat paved road. An LSV Golf Cart is an electric golf cart that has been modified to be street legal by the addition of locally mandated and DOT-approved equipment and meets these Federal laws. 

What Is The Difference Between A Golf Cart And A Low-Speed Vehicle?

An LSV (Low-Speed Vehicle) and golf cart are two distinct and different classifications, so, while an LSV can be used as a golf cart, it is not technically a golf cart. An LSV is described as an electric vehicle that has a top speed of greater than 20 MPH but less than 25 MPH varying state by state. A golf cart, by contrast, is to have a top speed of under 20 MPH. The public road maximum speed limit also varies by locale, so check the chart below for your state traffic laws.

A street legal golf cart is known as an LSV or low-speed vehicle. State and federal safety standards laws dictate what requirements need to be met in order to be allowed to drive on roads.

Since LSV’s are classified as slow-moving vehicles, you won’t be able to take them out on the freeway. As a matter of fact, according to federal law, your vehicle has to not only be able to do a minimum speed but also is restricted to roads with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour or less (some states are 35 miles per hour). Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards also dictate that all low-speed vehicles be electric…no gas-powered vehicles allowed!

What Is Required To Make A Golf Cart Street Legal?

Since converting a golf cart to be an LSV means it will be driven on a public road, it will need to be treated as if it were an automobile. State law varies to some degree on all safety equipment, but such accessories can include:

  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Turn signals
  • Brake lights.
  • Windshield
  • Horn (in some municipalities)
  • Seat belts (including the passenger side) for each designated seat
  • Exterior mirrors
  • Valid Driver license
  • License plate
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Vehicle registration
  • Insurance.

A golf cart is also required to meet the minimum speed limit to be considered a street-legal LSV for use on a public road.

Can My Golf Cart Be An LSV and Street Legal?

In short, almost any golf cart can be brought up to specs with the addition of the safety equipment. The hard part is increasing the speed to reach the minimum required by local law. Remember that an LSV is required to be an electric vehicle, not a gas model, so if your cart cannot exceed 19 MPH on a flat paved county road you will need to modify the motor and/or controller.

StateRoads Permitted?Top Speed Permitted for LSV in MPH?
AlabamaLocal option, municipal streets in class 2 municipalities during daylight hours25
AlaskaThe local ordinance may allow use on roads with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less; otherwise roads with a posted limit of 35 mph or less.25
ArizonaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
ArkansasRoads on which a low-speed vehicle would not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic25
CaliforniaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
ColoradoRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less; Colorado DOT may permit LSVs on some roadways with a speed limit equal to 40 mph25
ConnecticutNo state lawNo state law
DelawareRoads, other than dual highways in unincorporated areas, where the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less 25
District of ColumbiaRoads on which a low-speed vehicle would not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic25
FloridaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
GeorgiaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
HawaiiRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
IdahoRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
IllinoisRoads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less; local ordinance may allow use on roads with a posted speed limit of thirty-five mph or less 25
IndianaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less35
IowaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
KansasRoads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less25
LouisianaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
MaineRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less35
MarylandRoads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less25
MassachusettsRoads with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less25
MichiganRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
MinnesotaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
MississippiNo state LawNo state law
MissouriRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
MontanaNo state lawNo state law
NebraskaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
NevadaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
New HampshireRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
New JerseyRoads with a posted speed limit of 25 mph or less; the commissioner may permit use on specified roads where the posted speed limit is greater than 25 mph but not greater than 35 mph25
New MexicoRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
New YorkRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
North CarolinaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
North DakotaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
OhioRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
OklahomaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
OregonRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
PennsylvaniaRoads with a posted speed limit of 25 mph or less; the secretary may permit use on specified roads where the posted speed limit is greater than 25 mph but not greater than 35 mph25
Rhode IslandRoads on Prudence Island with a posted speed limit of 25 mph or less during the hours of 6:00 am through 6:00 pm25
South CarolinaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
South DakotaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
TennesseeRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
TexasRoads with a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less35
UtahRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
VermontRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
VirginiaRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
WashingtonRoads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
West VirginiaRoads within the corporate limits of a municipality where the speed limit is 25 mph or less25
WisconsinLocal option may allow use on roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less25
WyomingNon-interstate highways on which the vehicle is capable of achieving the maximum speed limit Not Specified

Final Thoughts

It would be much better on the pocketbook and environment if we could just share the short travel trips between Large automobiles and LSV’s. It’s easy to add the necessary components and pay the registration fees to make your golf cart a short trip utility vehicle.

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