Mesa Golf Carts
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Passanger golf Carts burden cart personal golf cart utility cart towing cart speciality cart
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Don’t Be Fooled & Misled About
the Legality of Street Legal Golf Carts

There are several dealers today representing that they are selling golf carts that are street legal.At the present time, there are only two manufacturers, Columbia PARCAR and Gems that produce newly designed golf cart type vehicles that are “street legal”.These are referred to as “low-speed vehicles” by the California Department of Motor Vehicles and are also called NEV’s (Neighbor Electric Vehicles). They have special design criteria and comply with the requirements set forth by the National Highway Safety Committee. Standard golf carts as manufactured by EZGO, Club Car, Yamaha as well as Columbia PARCAR are not certified to be street legal.Four-wheeled ATV type of off road recreational vehicles are not legal to be used on municipal streets.

The following are some frequently asked questions and comments regarding street legal vehicles.The operation, design and use of these types of vehicles are regulated by the California Vehicle Code and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

01. Question: What is a golf cart in the eyes of the CA V.C.?

Answer: CA Vehicle Code Section 345 - 345.A "golf cart" is a motor vehicle having not less than three wheels in contact with the ground, having an unladen weight less than 1,300 pounds, which is designed to be and is operated at not more than 15 miles per hour and designed to carry golf equipment and not more than two persons, including the driver.

02. Question: What is a Low-Speed Vehicle or NEV?

Answer: This vehicle ids defined by the CA V.C. Section 385.5 and NHTSA, DOT CFR Title 49-571.500 (a) A “low-speed vehicle” is a motor vehicle that meets all of the following requirements: Has four wheels Can attain a speed, in one mile, of more than 20 miles per hour and not more than 25 miles per hour, on a level surface. 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 know as a “neighborhood electric vehicle”

CFR Title 49-571.500 A “low-speed vehicle” is a 4-wheeled vehicle that can reach a speed of more than 20mph but not more than 25mph on a level track.Can carry 2-4 persons, all facing forward; has Dot rated tires; has DOT rated headlamps, tail lamps, & stop lamps; has DOT rated front & rear turn signals and two mirrors.It has a safety glass windshield of AS-1 or AS-5 material conforming to ANSI STD Z-26.1-1977 and a Type 1 or Type 2 seat belt assembly conforming to sec. 571.209 at each designated seating position.It must also have a VIN number conforming to Section 571.565

03. Question: Can I legally drive my NEV on the street?

Answer: Yes!You may drive your “low-speed vehicle/NEV” on any street with a posted speed limit of 35mph or less and you are subject to the California Vehicle Code.

04. Question: Where can I legally drive my golf cart?

Answer: A standard golf cart as described in CA V.C. Section 345 cannot carry more than two people.You may drive a golf cart on municipal streets for the explicit purpose of moving it from its place of storage to a golf course.The maximum distance of travel for this use is 1 mile on roads with posted speed limits of 25MPH or less per CA V.C. 21115.You may not use it on municiple streets for general transportation purposes.You are restricted for use on private property.

21115.(a) If a local authority finds that a highway under its jurisdiction is located adjacent to, or provides access to, a golf course and between the golf course and the place where golf carts are parked or stored or is within or bounded by a real estate development offering golf facilities and is designed and constructed, so as to safely permit the use of regular vehicular traffic and also the driving of golf carts on the highway, the local authority may, by resolution or ordinance, designate the highway or portion of the highway for combined use and prescribe rules and regulations that shall have the force of law.No highway shall be so designated for a distance of more than one mile from the golf course if the highway is not located within a development or beyond the area of a development, provided, the finding of the local authority in this respect shall be conclusive.Upon the designation becoming effective it shall be lawful to drive golf carts upon the highway in accordance with the prescribed rules and regulations.The rules and regulations may establish crossing zones and speed limits and other operating standards but shall not require that the golf carts conform to any requirements of this code with respect to registration, licensing, or equipment, except that if operated during darkness the golf cart shall be subject to the provisions of Section 24001.5 regarding equipment. The rules and regulations shall not be effective until appropriate signs giving notice thereof are posted along the highway affected. of this section, means an area of single-family or multiple-family residences, the owners or occupants of which are eligible for membership in, or the use of, one or more golf courses within the development by virtue of their ownership or occupancy of a residential dwelling unit in the development. (b) For purposes of this section, a "golf cart" includes a low-speed vehicle.

05. Question: I was sold a cart that was supposed to be street legal and it
is not. What should I do?

Answer: You should report this to the California Highway Patrol. CA Vehicle Section 24005 makes it illegal for somebody to sell or offer something to be used on the highway which is not highway legal.

24005.It is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, lease, install, or replace, either for himself or as the agent or employee of another, or through such agent or employee, any glass, lighting equipment, signal devices, brakes, vacuum or pressure hose, muffler, exhaust, or any kind of equipment whatsoever for use, or with knowledge that any such equipment is intended for eventual use, in any vehicle, that is not in conformity with this code or regulations made thereunder.

06. Question: The dealer told me to say it was a NEV when I go to registrar and get Insurance for the cart is this Legal?

Answer: NO! Most insurance companies will insure an NEV, however, they will not insure golf carts mainly because they are not street legal.You are signing these documents under the penalty of perjury. If you get caught you’re on your own. The insurance company doesn’t have to cover you.Also keep in mind, that in order for a dealer to sell you a street legal vehicle they must have a Dealer’s License from the Department of Motor Vehicles.If they don’t have a Dealer’s License this should be your first sign trouble.

07. Question: What should I look for before purchasing a “street legal” vehicle?

Answer: (1) A licensed, reputable dealer who knows the law. (2) Be sure you get a Certificate of Compliance confirming that the vehicle conforms to the State of California Vehicle Code asrequired by CA V.C. Section 24007. (3) Confirm that the vehicle is insurable.