Here’s What You Should Know Before Renting A Golf Cart in Tampa

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By Marcus Fernandez

You may be wondering why golf carts now carry people through the streets of Tampa. It’s the latest effort by local officials to make it easier and, hopefully, safer for residents and visitors to make their way around the city. Instead of walking or relying on your car to enjoy all that Tampa offers, you can now rent from one of the private companies doing business in the city.

Florida has different rules for operating a golf cart than it does for cars and other types of motor vehicles. Before taking off on an excursion around the city, please take a moment to learn about the laws that apply to them and safe driving tips to avoid accidents.

Florida law and golf carts on streets

Golf carts, the kind you see on golf courses, cannot have maximum speeds above 20 mph, nor can they be operated on public roads where the posted speed limit exceeds 30 mph. Even then, they can only be used on roads intersecting golf courses and mobile home parks. So, how did the vehicles designated by law as limited to recreational and sporting activities end up on the streets of Tampa?

State law allows the operation of golf carts on public roads when modified and equipped to meet the requirements for low-speed vehicles (LSVs). The following are some of the equipment requirements that LSVs must meet to operate legally on public streets in Tampa:

  • Headlamps
  • Taillights
  • Front and rear directional signals
  • Sideview and rearview mirrors
  • Windshield 
  • Seat belts to accommodate all riders
  • Parking brake

You’ll need a valid driver’s license to rent and operate one of the golf carts available in Tampa. An LSV, or a golf cart modified to meet LSV standards for use on the street, requires a driver’s license to operate. 

Golf carts modified and equipped to meet the standards for LSVs may operate on any road with a speed limit of 35 mph or less. They also may operate at speeds up to 25 mph instead of the 20 mph top-speed restriction that applies to standard, unmodified golf carts.

Safety considerations when renting a golf cart

LSVs and golf carts converted to LSVs lack airbags, a protective frame, and other standard safety features that protect occupants of cars and other types of passenger vehicles. The following are a few tips for staying safe as a driver and passenger:

  • Use seatbelts whenever the vehicle is in motion. 
  • Do not stand up until the vehicle comes to a complete stop.
  • Keep arms, hands, legs, and feet inside the cart.
  • Obey all traffic laws and rules of the road as you would when driving a car.
  • Distracted driving is as dangerous as when driving other vehicles.
  • Do not operate when drugs, alcohol, or a combination of both impair your ability.

Golf carts are more prone to tipping than other vehicles, so slow down when making turns. 

Who is at fault in a golf cart accident?

Golf carts used on public roads must comply with Florida insurance laws requiring $10,000 in personal injury protection and $10,000 in property damage coverage. Check with the rental agency about insurance coverage before taking the vehicle on the road.

When an accident occurs, determining who was at fault in causing it requires carefully reviewing the facts. Negligent or reckless behavior that caused or contributed to causing a crash could make a driver liable for compensating other parties who sustained injuries. 

Injured in a rented golf cart? Call a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been in an accident, the rental agency and other at-fault parties may owe you compensation for your injuries. Call KFB Law today for a free consultation with a Tampa car accident lawyer to learn more.