Can I drive a golf cart on a Forsyth County road?

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Q: Are golf carts street legal in Forsyth County? I live in a neighborhood that has them zipping around beginning this time of year, sometimes seemingly driven by kids. What are the laws, if any, governing golf carts? A.R.

Melissa Hall, Straight Answer Ma’am

Answer: While Forsyth County does not have ordinance allowing golf carts, Winston-Salem does, which means they can legally be driven on city streets, but not on county ones.

Each county and municipality can enact ordinances allowing golf carts on public streets, roads or highways as long as the speed limit on the street 35 miles per hour or less. The operator of the golf cart must be at least 16 years old.

Kernersville has not enacted an ordinance, which means golf carts are illegal on the town’s streets, said Curtis Swisher, the town manager.

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And, yes, there are state laws governing golf carts. N.C. General Statute Chapter 20, which governs all things vehicular, has several laws concerning golf carts.

§ 4.01 (12b) defines a golf cart. “A vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour.”

§ 54. Authority for refusing registration or certificate of title.

The Division shall refuse registration or issuance of a certificate of title or any transfer of registration upon any of the following grounds:

(8) The vehicle is a golf cart or utility vehicle.

Winston-Salem’s ordinance allows golf carts on public streets where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.

The section on golf carts can be found in the Winston-Salem City Ordinances 74-512- through 74-519.

*The operator of the cart must be at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license.

*There must be liability insurance on the cart.

*In the central business district, they may be operated only as a vehicle for hire.

*They may be operated when driven across a public street from one part of a golf course to another part of a golf course.

In addition, city ordinance 74-515, has the following rules and regulations for operating a golf cart on public streets.

*The cart must have two, operating headlights, brake lights, and tail lights that are visible from 500 feet. The carts must also have turn signals, rear view mirrors and seatbelts for all passengers.

*The driver must have a valid driver’s license with them while operating the cart.

*The cart must be on the far-right part of the lane and yield the right-of-way to traffic.

*All traffic laws and laws against impaired driving must be followed.

*Children must be seated and buckled in while the cart is moving.

*Passengers cannot board or leave the golf cart while it’s in the road. Boarding and leaving the cart should be made as close to a sidewalk as possible, but the cart is not allowed to operate on a sidewalk, greenway, or city park, except by city employees doing their duties.

*The cart must have a sign, logo or the legal name of the party responsible for the operation of the golf cart prominently displayed at all times.

*Any violation of the ordinance is a class 3 misdemeanor and a fine of not more than $500 can be levied.

Here are a few tips to help you drive safely.

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Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., #100, Winston-Salem, NC 27101