(You may be breaking the law and not even know it!)
Since the Coachella Valley is so famous for golf and a relaxed resort lifestyle, it is natural that golf carts are an attractive and popular mode of transportation in the Desert. Heck, there is even an annual golf cart parade on El Paseo! However, there are some things people need, or should know, before they take to public roads. Each city has laws for golf carts, and like just like your car, these laws apply when operating one.
As such, golf carts & NEVs (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles) need to be properly equipped, obey the traffic controls (there is signage in some cities for cart crossing and paths), be registered with the city, and in some cases insured like a car. Unlike cars, they are not allowed on all streets within a city. Most Cities allow them to drive on streets with the speed limit at or below 25mph and on the roads specifically allowed by city ordinance (these specific roads are shown on the map below). It is also important to note that no matter where you operate a golf cart or NEV you could still get a DUI – even if you are on a golf course path! The Insider has outlined these requirements on the next page. Also, drivers should be aware of the total distance their cart is able to drive. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the heat with no way to get home!
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR OPERATING GOLF CART / NEV ON PUBLIC ROADS & PATHS (be sure to check with your local authorities)
Each City in the Coachella Valley has it’s own set of rules for Golf Cart / Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV). Please check with the city you plan to ride in for their specific rules.
- Golf cart operators must be licensed drivers in the State of California with valid California driver’s license, or a driver’s license issued by another state.
- Golf cart operators must have proper insurance and registration.
- Golf cart operators must maintain golf cart in a safe condition.
- Golf carts are limited to daytime operation and are not permitted before one-half hour prior to sunrise or after one-half hour after sunset.
- Golf cart operators must yield the right-of-way to automobiles, pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Golf cart operators may only travel on designated golf cart roadways, and only in those golf carts that meet the minimum design criteria. (headlight(s), seat-belts, tail-lights, mirrors, etc.)
- Most cities allow for golf carts to drive in areas where the speed limit is posted 25 mph or lower. Check with city hall)
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