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Golf Carts and Pennsylvania Law

Golf carts are becoming an increasingly popular way to get around, but there’s a lot of misleading information online about where, when, and by whom they may be driven. Here’s a breakdown of Pennsylvania’s laws concerning golf cart use on Commonwealth highways.

Important Distinction

Although they are very similar in appearance and purpose, Golf Carts and LSVs (defined by PA as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles), are legally distinct.

    Golf Carts: A self-propelled motor vehicle designed and manufactured for the transportation of persons or equipment for sporting, maintenance, or recreational purposes, not capable of exceeding 20 miles per hour.

  • Pennsylvania does not permit golf carts to be titled or registered for use on Commonwealth highways.
  • Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (LSV): A four-wheeled electric vehicle with a maximum design speed of 20-25 miles per hour that complies with Federal safety standards (49 CFR 571.500).

  • LSVs may be titled and registered in PA but are subject to the same moving, inspection, insurance, and registration laws as passenger cars.
  • For additional information pertaining to these types of vehicles, see PennDOT’s Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Fact Sheet.

Rules Specific to Golf Carts

Generally, driving a golf cart on public roads in Pennsylvania is illegal.

    PA Vehicle Code §77A01 (a) states that operating a golf cart on a Commonwealth highway is unlawful unless specifically exempt from vehicle registration.

    PA Vehicle Code §1302 provides two exemptions for golf carts:

  • §(3) – When used for sporting, maintenance, or recreational purposes while crossing certain public highways.
  • §(14) – When used for maintenance of golf courses, resorts, colleges, universities, or seminaries when:
    • The golf cart does not travel on public roads in excess of one mile; and
    • The property on both sides of the public road is owned by the golf course, resort, college, university, or seminary.

    PA Vehicle Code §77A01 (b) allows a golf cart to directly cross a highway if:

  • Crossing is made at approximately 90° to the roadway.
  • The crossing is at an unobstructed location allowing a quick and safe crossing.
  • The golf cart comes to a complete stop before crossing; and
  • The driver yields to all oncoming traffic.
  • In this specific situation, the golf cart and driver would fall under the exemption allowed by PA Vehicle Code §1302 (3).
  • PA Vehicle Code §77A03 prohibits anyone under 12 from operating a golf cart. Those aged 12-16 may drive across a highway only under direct adult supervision.

Where Can I Legally Drive My Golf Cart?

If the above situations don’t apply, you can primarily drive your golf cart on private property. This includes your own property or with permission from a landowner.

Township Parks

Golf carts are motor vehicles and subject to Ordinance 175-8‘s regulations. Therefore, they are not permitted in Township parks.

Important Points

There are no designated Golf Cart Crossings within Upper Allen Township (as defined by PA Vehicle Code §77A02).

Driving a golf cart on public roads can result in violations and fines including, but not limited to:

  • Driver’s license requirements
  • Vehicle registration and insurance
  • Equipment violations
  • Moving violations
  • Driving under the influence