Over the last few years, golf carts, low speed vehicles and neighborhood electric vehicles have become a lot more prevalent. These are all alternative options to using a standard vehicle to get around. While they have some obvious limitations, they still provide an affordable and efficient way to get from point A to point B.

So many people are focused on the future of electric vehicles. While companies such as Tesla get a lot of notoriety for their fully electric cars, perhaps the hottest debate right now is golf carts vs LSVs. These electric vehicles are readily available, can be mass-produced, and bring a true alternative to what people are accustomed to.

These carts and low speed vehicles are even more unique compared to the norm in many cases. Tesla is still a car, taking up the same amount of space and performing the same as millions of others out there. Carts for golfing and LSVs are smaller, much more affordable, and extremely efficient. Fully electric cars receive the luxury label more than anything these days.

Golf carts and low speed vehicles share a lot of similarities, but there are a few distinctions to keep in mind. It’s important to know the differences before buying one over the other. There are also several laws in place already, and perhaps more on the way as they gain popularity. They aren’t perfect vehicles, but they have advantages and disadvantages like any other option.

The Differences Between Golf Carts and Low Speed Vehicles

By the definition of the law, carts are made to be used on golf courses. The maximum speed is 20 MPH, and they don’t tend to have as many safety features as LSVs without a heavy amount of customization. The original use for them helped them get their name, but golf carts have a variety of uses now.

Just about every single golf cart that is used legally on the streets has been customized in some way to make them street legal. Every jurisdiction is going to have different rules and regulations, but at their core, they still look like the same golf carts found at the local country club.

Carts that are heavily customized can become low speed vehicles. For those who don’t want to spend the extra money upgrading, there are low speed vehicles ready to be purchased.

Low speed vehicles are built specifically to be used on streets. They tend to be a little bit faster, and they have a higher weight limit. Some low speed vehicles can handle over 3000 pounds, allowing for big groups to travel in the same vehicle together.

These vehicles might be mistakenly labeled as carts for golf as well, but they are a little bit more sophisticated. They are perfect for not only business uses like campus security, grounds-keeping and more, but residences love using them to get around their community and run local errands.

Both vehicles are going to be affordably priced, but carts will be cheaper. A basic, used vehicle can be purchased for a great price, but there are also luxury models of golf carts and LSVs for people to consider. The number of seats in each vehicle can also dictate the price quite a bit.

Legal Considerations of Golf Carts and LSVs

It’s extremely important to know the legal considerations of golf carts and LSVs locally. Not being up to date on everything can put a driver in a very vulnerable position. While a lot of jurisdictions are still trying to figure out what exactly to do with these vehicles, there are some rules in place that people need to consider.

Golf Carts and the Law

Before taking a golf cart on the road, it is important to check local laws. Every state handles things differently, and there are specific communities that have their own set of rules.

If carts are driven very locally in residential communities that approve them, they don’t have to go through registration at the DMV. That also means that insurance is not needed, and the age of the driver is not going to be checked by local law enforcement.

Despite the lack of rules, drivers can still be held accountable for certain issues. A driver can still be charged for drinking and driving, and held responsible for causing accidents as well. There has been instances around the world where people have received a citation for drinking and driving on a lawnmower as well as a bicyclist causing an accident. No one is completely above the law. Anyone controlling a golf cart or vehicle that can harm others will be held responsible for operating recklessly.

LSVs and the Law

Just like golf carts, LSVs have different laws and regulations in every single state. Not only that, but certain communities will have different things to consider as well. It’s important to look up any new information when moving to a different part of the country.

An LSV is treated the same as a car or motorcycle, at least as far as the DMV is concerned. It is required to go through the DMV to get license plates. The vehicle is also subject to inspection to make sure that it is completely street legal. It must have mandatory safety equipment on board, protecting the driver and any passengers.

States restrict low speed vehicles to certain roads with low speed limits. The standard is roads with a listed speed limit of 35 MPH or less, but Montana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Maryland all have lower limits. Before taking an LSV on the road, take the time to check beforehand.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Golf Carts and LSVs

It’s time to decide which vehicle should be purchased. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. There is no clear-cut winner, but figuring out what it will be used for primarily will sway a decision.

Most people shopping for a cart know exactly what they plan on using it for. Being knowledgeable can help to make the decision easier.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Golf Cart?

The biggest advantage for a lot of people shopping for carts is that they are going to be significantly cheaper. If people are going to primarily drive around their community, it might make sense to get a cheaper option.

They are also a little bit less intricate, which means fewer things can go wrong as far as repairs are concerned. It’s just a much more affordable way to get into driving. If they stay in restricted areas, there are no extra fees with the DMV or insurance either.

As for disadvantages, speed restrictions are going to make some people feel like they are going nowhere fast. Most golf carts max out at 20 MPH, and they can cruise at about 15 MPH. A person with a decent bicycle can go as fast or faster.

Finally, those who are worried about safety might want to look into either a low speed vehicle or a fancier golf cart model. Standard golf carts do not have the same level of safety standards, so it leaves drivers much more vulnerable in any type of accident.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of an LSV?

An LSV is just going to be a vehicle that much more mimics a standard car. They can go up to 25 MPH, and they are completely street legal in a lot of jurisdictions. They come in handy when a person wants to take their vehicle to other parts of their city instead of sticking to just a small community.

Since the vehicle needs proper registration from the DMV and checked for safety requirements, it is a much safer option to drive on the road. Plenty of people appreciate the added level of protection to ensure that they are not extremely vulnerable in an accident.

Price can sometimes get to be pretty high, even challenging standard car prices in some cases. For some, that is viewed as a disadvantage, because low speed vehicles are supposed to be alternatives to a standard car thanks to being more affordable to the average person. As the prices creep, many are left wondering if it’s a worthwhile investment after all.

Final Thoughts

Carts and low speed vehicles have a definite future in communities all around the world. They offer a great alternative to get around locally, and they do so without wasting natural resources. They are also very affordable, and easier to park.

As more and more people attempt to make their golf carts completely street legal, the line will be blurred between low speed vehicles and golfing carts. For now, they do have their differences, and they serve people in different communities very well. Before committing to one or the other, shop around and consider all the pros and cons. Having one of these dependable vehicles can save time and money when traveling short distances. There is no need to use a traditional car or truck.