California Motor Vehicle Code 21716
According to California Vehicle Code 21716, golf carts have the same rights on the roads as all other vehicles, except they are restricted from driving on fast-moving roadways. They also come with the same regulations as other vehicles, meaning that most of the time the local authorities will required having a drivers license to drive on public roadways. Wearing a seatbelt and having safety features like mirrors, a windshield, and brake lights are also required. The exception to this rule may be on private property such as golf courses our private roads, where local rules specifically allow golf carts. Most golf carts are designed to travel at 15 mph or less. This is why they are only allowed on roads where the speed limit is at or below 25 mph.
California legislators are concerned with the high levels of air pollution in the major cities, and the use of more environmentally friendly transportation is encouraged. For this reason, golf carts are permitted on many city streets. They are a great means of transportation for a quick trip to the grocery store, or an afternoon at the park.
There are a few exceptions to the rules of the road that apply to golf carts. These vehicles are not allowed to operate on any street where the speed limit exceeds 25 miles per hour. Crossing roadways where the speed is greater than 25 mph is permitted only if the street you are leaving and the street you are going to are both 25 mph roads, and you can cross the street safely. Golf carts can also be prohibited from operating on any public street if local authorities in your city deem them unsafe. Signs must be posted to let you know they are prohibited.
Keep in mind that golf carts do not come with the same safety equipment as cars and trucks. There are no air bags, no roll bars, and very little protection for passengers if you are involved in a crash with another vehicle. While operating on a heavily traveled roadway may be legal in your town, it may not be safe. Use good judgment when traveling in a golf cart.