In the state of Montana, there are more and more people relying on alternative modes of transportation. Golf carts and low-speed vehicles are becoming increasingly popular, especially in neighborhoods with older residents.

With the increase in popularity, many people are having questions on the different Montana golf cart and LSV laws out there. This is a breakdown of what people should expect in The Treasure State.

What is the Difference Between a Golf Cart and LSV?

The terms golf cart and LSV are used interchangeably at times, but by the letter of the law, they are significantly different. One of the biggest differences is speed. Golf carts are limited to a speed of 20 mph. This makes them capable of handling only certain streets that a local governing body has approved them for. Unless explicitly stated, golf carts are not allowed on any public roads or highways.

Low-speed vehicles offer a bit more flexibility for those who want a complete driving experience. They are street legal on any roads with a speed limit of 25 mph or less, and they look much more like an actual vehicle as well. All LSVs require a valid driver’s license and plates to operate in the state of Montana.

Golf carts are generally cheaper than LSVs, but some feel like there are too many limitations to make it worth the investment. LSVs are more expensive, offer better safety features, and have more versatility overall. Some find it possible to replace their standard vehicle with an LSV, whereas a golf cart does not have that capability.

What are the Golf Cart Laws for the State of Montana?

The golf cart laws in Montana are very lenient overall, mostly due to their road use limitations. Another positive is that a person needs only to be 14 years old to drive.

The requirements for the vehicle itself includes:

  • One or two headlamps
  • One or more tail lamps
  • One or more reflectors
  • Stop lamps
  • One or more mirrors

Golf carts are mostly limited to local residential streets, although there are a growing number of cities and towns that allow them on some roads. Even when this is the case, golf carts do not need a title, registration, or liability insurance.

There are some additional limitations to keep in mind with a golf cart. It is against the law in most jurisdictions to drive at night, unless returning home. Despite no need for proper registration and insurance, a person can still receive driving citations and charges for alcohol-related offenses for operating a golf cart recklessly.

What are the LSV Laws in the State of Montana?

Low-speed vehicles in the state of Montana are identified as electrically powered options that read a max speed of 20 mph to 40 mph. They are legal to ride on all roads in the state of Montana with a speed limit of 25 mph or less.

All the requirements for an LSV include:

  • Four wheels
  • Headlamps
  • Tail lamps
  • Stop lamps
  • Turn signals
  • At least two rear reflectors
  • Driver side mirror
  • Center and/or passenger side mirror
  • Full windshield
  • Parking brake
  • Seatbelts
  • Vehicle identification number

In the eyes of the law in the state of Montana, an LSV is viewed almost exactly like a standard vehicle. A driver’s license is required to drive an LSV, and a person must also get license plates.

This does offer more freedom, but it puts more responsibility on drivers as well. Most LSV drivers must learn how to navigate roads with bigger and faster vehicles. Reckless drivers can face the same exact charges as standard drivers.

Registering a LSV in Montana through the Dept of Motor Vehicles

To register an LSV, the state of Montana requires a few things from every individual. Make sure to come prepared with the following to avoid any hold-ups.

  • Title Application Form
  • Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Identification (valid driver’s license, ID card, or passport all work)
  • Money to cover all taxes and fees

Final Thoughts

Both golf carts and LSVs have plenty of uses for short trips. Some people only need a golf cart for their lifestyle, while others want an LSV to have more freedom. Both are great options as a secondary mode of transportation that helps save fuel money in the long run.


Montana Department of Transportation

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)