Golf Carts on the Street

Today I got put in an awkward position as I was driving home from holiday shopping.
My neighborhood is connected to a ritzier neighborhood which situates everyone’s house on or beside the golf course.

One such resident has made it his way of traveling around his neighborhood via golf cart. At times I’ve even seen him allow his kids (8 yrs or so) to go off driving in these by themselves. He tends to make an ass out of himself as he owns two of these fine chariots and they are usually “out and about” at the same time.

My Q is: What does the law in general say about golf carts on the street? They are fully electric so they I’m wondering if they are even classified as a motor vehicle.

I’m not asking for SC road laws, I’m only asking in general. Should a golf cart be on the street or the sidewalk for that matter?

      • In the US, if the town does not have a law specifically approving golf carts for street use, then they are illegal. Any vehicle with more than 3 wheels is subject to all the regulations that cars are, and a great many of those things a golf cart won’t pass: glass windshield standards, crash bumpers and side impact ratings, automatic seatbelts or air bags, DOT-rated tires, DOT-rated running lights, licensing (no little kids driving), license plates/registration and insurance, ect. You may have to complain a lot before the police do much about it however.
  • A few towns have enacted laws allowing golf carts on the streets that have slower speed limits; one I know of is a retirement community (with a very-high-golf-course-per-capita rate!) in Arizona. This question (of golf carts used on regular roads) has been asked before and there were a few places posted that allowed their use.

California’s Vehicle Code says:

  1. Except as provided in Section 21115.1 and Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 1950) of Division 2.5 of the Streets and Highways Code, no person shall operate a golf cart on any highway except in a speed zone of 25 miles per hour or less.

There are also provisions for allowing golf carts to cross busier streets (provided the speed limit is not more than 45 mph there) in order to get around the course or to a residence.

When I was 14 (1990’ish) we lived in Phoenix and had a street legal golf cart. It had headlights, brake lights, turn signals, horn and a plexiglass windshield. It was legal for a licensed driver to drive it, though I’m not sure what roads/speed limts, etc were forbidden. It went about 20 MPH. I got a ticket for driving without a license in it once.

Anyhow, in 1990 it was legal to drive a golf cart on certain streets in my little suburb of Phoenix.

(The judge let me off with a warning, in case you were wondering)

the guy’s got the speed limit on his side, he’s just a nuisance in general, plugging up the street when there’s a perfectly good sidewalk in a golf community for him.

This particular day his kids were in one on the sidewalk driving and there was one(kid) out behind it running to catch up with it (5/6yrs) and this guy and an older fella were stopped in the street cuz he was watching this one that was running behind the other cart.

There was also a car parked in the street in the opposing lane so that cars moving opposite of me had to stop and wait for traffic on my side to proceed.

To approach all of this at once was just an extra headache for me, as it was he not his kids that were creating the compromising situation, his kids were in no danger and were driving this cart where they should have been (in my opinion anyway).

I slowed down thinking of the possibility that his kid might run out into the street in front of me, but as I passed his kid and approached the guy’s cart I sped-up to both get myself out of this awkward situation and to get out of his way. Upon doing so I was screamed at (through my closed window) by the guy to slow down.

Gees, some people… I hope he choked on my fumes; acting like that.