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California Golf Cart Laws

You can encounter all types of vehicles on the road in California, from large trucks to electric bicycles and scooters. Of all these vehicles, you may even encounter a golf cart. Since these vehicles are found only on golf courses, they’re designed to move around a golf course’s various paths and terrain.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter them on a main road in California. So, it’s important to understand how California classifies these vehicles and what you can do if you’re involved in an369694168_6961974270490366_1455028040368689722_n accident with one.

How is a Golf Cart Classified in California?

Because golf carts are plentiful in California, the California Vehicle Code (CVC) has extensive definitions and regulations relating to their use, particularly when they share a main road with vehicle users. Here is a look at some of the safety laws governing golf carts in California:

  • CVC 21115 – This section of the code outlines rules and regulations for these types of vehicles, including requirements for lighting, reflectors, and other safety equipment. It also specifies that low-speed vehicles (LSV) can be operated on roadways with speed limits of up to 35 miles per hour, provided they meet certain criteria. Also, can only be operated either on a golf course itself or within one mile of the course if it is located in a residential area. Generally, only licensed drivers 16 and over can operate golf carts and LSVs on the road in California.
  • CVC 21115.1 – This section further outlines how the local government can regulate the use of a golf cart. They can make rules that allow golf carts to cross streets next to golf courses during the day when it’s not dark. These rules apply to streets with speed limits of 45 miles per hour or lower, but not on major roadways.
  • CVC 345 – CVC 345 officially lays out the definition of a golf cart. Under the law, a golf cart in California is any vehicle that:
    • Has three or more wheels contacting the ground at all times
    • Weighs less than 1,300 pounds
    • Designed to carry golf equipment
    • Designed to carry only a driver and passenger
    • Doesn’t exceed 15 mph
  • CVC 385.5 – This section of the law classifies a golf cart as a low-speed vehicle (LSV) or a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) when operated pursuant to CVC 21115
  • CVC 4019 – Under this section of California law, golf carts are exempted from being officially registered with the DMV. However, owners can still register these vehicles.
  • CVC 21716 – Under this section of the law, no one is allowed to operate a golf cart on a highway, except in areas with a speed limit of 25 mph or less.

Like other laws governing vehicles, golf cart laws exist to make sure that these vehicles are used for their intended purpose and where they are designed to be used. But like anything else safety really depends on drivers following the rules at the right times. When golf cart users don’t do that, it can lead to serious accidents.

What Causes Golf Cart Accidents in California?

While they’re designed for certain use only, golf carts are ultimately like any other vehicle in California in that if you encounter them on the road, you can be involved in an accident with them. However, because they are designed for use at a golf course, they’re not built to move like other vehicles and furthermore aren’t designed to protect the driver or passenger in the event of an accident. So, it’s extremely important to follow the law as it pertains to these vehicles so you can avoid accidents with them.

At the same time, golf cart accidents in California are fairly common, particularly around golf courses and residential areas. Some of the more common causes of accidents involving golf carts include:

  • Inexperience – Inexperienced golf cart drivers might not be familiar with handling the vehicle properly, leading to accidents.
  • Speeding – Going too fast in a golf cart, especially around turns or on uneven terrain, can result in loss of control and accidents.
  • Distracted driving – Just like with regular vehicles, using phones or being distracted while driving a golf cart can lead to accidents.
  • Impaired driving – Operating a golf cart under the influence of alcohol or drugs can impair judgment and coordination, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Unsafe conditions – Driving a golf cart on steep slopes, slippery surfaces, or in adverse weather conditions can make accidents more likely.
  • Mechanical issues – Poorly maintained or malfunctioning carts can cause accidents if brakes fail or other essential components don’t work properly.
  • Ignoring traffic rules – Not following traffic signs, signals, and rules designed for safety can lead to collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians.
  • Lack of visibility – Golf carts are small and might not be as visible as larger vehicles, especially in busy traffic areas or at night.
  • Collisions with objects – Hitting obstacles like trees, curbs, or posts due to misjudgment or lack of control can cause accidents.
  • Reckless behavior – Engaging in risky behavior like sharp turns, sudden stops, or driving too closely to others can result in accidents.
  • Pedestrian interaction – Collisions with pedestrians can happen if drivers are not paying attention or if pedestrians don’t see or hear the approaching golf cart.

Ultimately, a golf cart is the same as any other vehicle in the eyes of the law in California. So, when there’s an accident, it’s extremely important to proceed as you normally would by getting the driver’s information and documenting the incident and damage to you and your vehicle for potential legal action. Once you have that step completed, consider contacting our team of experienced California personal injury lawyers for further guidance.

Free Consultations For California Accident Victims

Being in an accident in California is almost always stressful and will impact your daily life. It can also make life really hard for you and your family, especially if you get hurt or suffer property damage. At Maison Law, we understand how difficult any accident situation can be and will be there to help you through it. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a golf cart or any other vehicle, contact us today for a free consultation.

Additional Resources

Can Golf Carts Drive on Sidewalks in California?

Can Golf Carts Drive on Roads in California?

Do you Need a License to Drive a Golf Cart in California?

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