Is It a Golf Cart or Low Speed Vehicle?

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By Chuck Purdue, Bay County Tax Collector

Each year as warmer temperatures return and outdoor activities resume, many residents choose to purchase recreational vehicles. However, many people are unaware of the distinguishing characteristics of the vehicles they purchase, which determine where they can be driven, who can drive the vehicle, as well as the registration and insurance requirements.

Below is an outline of the specific vehicles and requirements so you can make an informed decision before purchasing a vehicle and make sure you are operating it legally upon purchase.

Low Speed Vehicles
A low speed vehicle (LSV) is a vehicle with a top speed greater than 20 MPH, but not greater than 25 MPH. LSVs must be registered, titled and insured with personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance. Any person operating an LSV must have a valid driver license. LSVs may only be operated on streets where the posted speed limit is 35 MPH or less.

LSVs must be equipped with the following safety equipment:
• Windshield
• Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
• Exterior mirrors on the driver-side and interior rear-view or passenger side
• Headlamps
• Parking brake
• Front and rear turn signals
• Seat belt for each designated seat
• Reflex reflectors
• Tail lamps and stop lamps

To title and register an LSV, bring the following documents to the Bay County Tax Collector’s Office:
• Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin;
• Application for Title, Form HSMV 82040
• Proof of Florida insurance, minimum $10,000 PDL and $10,000 PIP;
• Identification- driver license, ID card or passport; and
• Payment for applicable fees

Golf Carts
Florida Statutes section 320.01 (22) defines golf carts as, “a motor vehicle that is designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 MPH.”

Golf carts may be operated on roadways that are designated for golf carts with a posted speed limit of 30 MPH or less.

Golf carts are not titled or registered and are not required to be insured with PIP and PDL coverage. A person must be 14 years or older to operate a golf cart.

Converted Golf Carts
Many people have purchased golf carts and then modified them to meet the requirements of a low speed vehicle. However, there are several items which must be completed before the vehicle can be titled and tagged in Florida.

Prior to titling and registering a converted golf cart, the vehicle must be inspected and assigned a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at a Motorist Services Regional Office (Bay County’s Regional Office can be reached at (850) 767-3660, option 1, appointment required). The converted golf cart must be street-legal before applying for a title or registration.

Owners should trailer the converted golf cart to a Motorist Services Regional Office and present the following documents and fees for an inspection, VIN assignment, title and registration:
• Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin or bill of sale for the golf cart.
• Statement of Builder Form, HSMV 84490, which will be completed by both the customer and compliance examiner/inspector;
• Affidavit for Golf Cart Modified to a Low Speed Vehicle, Form HSMV 86064
• Original bill(s) of sale or receipt(s) for all parts used to convert the golf cart;
• Certified weight slip for the converted golf cart.
• Application for Title, Form HSMV 82040
• Proof of Florida Insurance (minimum $10,000 PDL and $10,000 PIP);
• Sales tax or sales tax exemption information for all parts;
• Identification- driver license, ID card or passport; and
• Payment for applicable fees

All-Terrain Vehicles
Florida law states all-terrain vehicles (ATV) may only be operated on unpaved roadways where the posted speed limit is less than 35 MPH and only during daylight hours. Anyone under the age of 16 operating an ATV on public land must be under the supervision of an adult and must have proof of completion of a Department of Agriculture and Consumer services (DACS) approved safety courts. ATV operators and riders under the age of 16 must wear a USDOT approved safety helmet and eye protection. ATVs are titled, but not registered, and are not required to be insured with PIP and PDL coverage. (Sections 261.20, 316.2074 and 316.2123, Florida Statutes)

If you plan to purchase a recreational vehicle, make sure you know the law so you can ensure you are purchasing the vehicle that meets your needs and are prepared to take the necessary steps to operate the vehicle legally in Florida.

For questions regarding this information, please visit our website at baytaxcollector.com or call us at (850) 248-8501. All forms mentioned above can be accessed at, www.baytaxcollector.com/form-library.