electric golf cart laws california

Are Golf Carts Street Legal in California?

Electric Golf Cart Laws California | Electric Golf Car Rocklin

Are Electric Golf Carts Street Legal in California?

There is a lot of confusion around electric golf cart laws. One of the most common questions we get at our Rocklin electric golf cart show room is, “Are electric golf carts legal in California”? Of course, what they are wondering is if their new or used electric golf cart is “street legal” here in California. In this article we will go over some of the California laws for electric golf carts.

Golf Cart vs Low Speed Vehicle

It is really important to understand the local and state laws for where you live. When you buy a new or used electric golf car, make sure you know what you are buying. The first thing to understand is the difference between a “golf cart” and a “low speed vehicle”. Read about the differences in our article HERE. Essentially, a “golf cart” (technically, golf “car”) is suitable ONLY for golf courses or travelling within one mile of a golf course on a road designated for such use. A low speed vehicle, or “LSV”, is a motor vehicle that has been modified for limited street use.

Here is the California Golf Cart Law

CVC 345. 21115, 21115.1 and 21716 Operation of golf carts

The operation of a golf cart upon the public roads or streets of this state is prohibited except as provided herein:
A golf cart is a motor vehicle designed to:
  • Carry no more than two persons, including the driver.
  • Carry golf equipment.
  • Have not less than three wheels in contact with the ground.
  • Operate at a maximum speed of 15 mph.
  • Weigh no more than 1,300 pounds unladen (empty).


  • Registration is not required if you operate your golf cart on a highway designated for such use by ordinance or resolution within one mile of a golf course.
  • You may not operate on a road with a speed limit above 25 mph except by ordinance or resolution by a local authority.

According to the California DMV, if you drive a golf cart on the road it must include the following safety modifications:

  • At least one headlamp, tail lamp, and stop lamp.
  • A rear reflector.
  • Front/rear turn signals.
  • Front/side reflectors.
  • A mirror (located in a position to allow the driver a rear view of at least 200 feet).
  • A horn.
  • Fenders.
  • A safety-glazed windshield.
  • Windshield wipers.

Here is the California Low Speed Vehicles/Neighborhood Electric Vehicles Law

VEH Code 358.5 Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV)

a) A “low-speed vehicle” is a motor vehicle that meets all of the following requirements:

  1. Has four wheels.
  2. Can attain a speed, in one mile, of more than 20 miles per hour and not more than 25 miles per hour, on a paved level surface.
  3. Has a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 3,000 pounds.

(b) (1) For the purposes of this section, a “low-speed vehicle” is not a golf cart, except when operated pursuant to Section 21115 or 21115.1.

(2) A “low-speed vehicle” is also known as a “neighborhood electric vehicle.”

(Amended by Stats. 2006, Ch. 66, Sec. 1. Effective July 12, 2006.)

Additionally, according to the California DMV, the following rules apply to NEV’s/LSV’s:

  • Has a 17 digit VIN
  • Must be certified to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) to be registered and operated on public streets, roads, or highways.
  • May look like a golf-cart to the casual observer, but is actually a motor vehicle requiring a valid California driver license, registration, and insurance.

Confused Yet?

Yes, golf cart laws can all be very confusing. To make it simple, think of it like this: if you need a motorized vehicle strictly for the purposes of golfing, then buy an electric golf cart! If you want a fun, low maintenance, affordable, electric motor vehicle to get around your neighborhood, or cart a few people around, or haul supplies on your property, then buy a LSV!

The best part is, when you buy a new or used electric golf cart or LSV from Electric Golf Car Company in Rocklin, we will make sure you understand exactly what you are getting. We will even help you with DMV registration if needed!

Did you know that the cities of Lincoln and Rocklin in Placer County are super electric golf car friendly? These make an excellent alternative to driving your car, particularly when you just need to make a quick stop to the market. Come down to Electric Golf Car Company TODAY to tour our selection of new and used electric golf cars, NEV’s, and LSV’s!

Electric Golf Car Company is Northern California’s premier custom golf car service center! NOW is a great time to invest in your own custom golf car, so be sure to check out our gallery or come by our show room.

To learn more keep checking back with Electric Golf Car Company’s Golf Car Guru! And follow us on social media for all the latest news, articles, and available golf cars!

Electric Golf Cart Laws California| Electric Golf Car Rocklin



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