Michigan Golf Cart Laws
Michigan provides its residents with many unique riding opportunities.
From large hills to many beautiful lakes, you can take your golf cart to many great areas.
Before you do, though, you need to make sure that you follow all road rules.
Like all other states, Michigan has a series of regulations that ensure you and others are safe when on the road with golf carts.
Federal Rules Dictate Your Travel
Michigan is, in many ways, a state very focused on many highways.
As it is close to Canada and was the center of the automobile revolution, many freeways cut through this state.
Therefore, anybody interested in riding low-speed vehicles in this state must pay attention to federal law.
Currently, the federal government does not allow low-speed cars on their highways.
That’s because these carts cannot travel fast enough to reach the speeds on these roads.
Thankfully, the government does not regulate what states and local governments decide on low-speed vehicles.
That said, the federal government does ask that all low-speed vehicles follow a specific guideline.
States are allowed to tweak these rules in the sense that they can add stricter ones.
Michigan mostly follows federal law and guidelines in this way.
However, they have a unique population-based ruling that dictates when and where you can ride golf carts and other low-speed vehicles.
Please note: when golf carts are used as low-speed vehicles – or upgraded to serve this purpose – they are no longer classified as golf carts.
Instead, they are considered motor vehicles.
Keep this fact in mind whenever reading through these regulations.
For example, all low-speed vehicle must have headlights, turn signals, stop lights, tail lights, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, seat belts for each rider, a vehicle identification number, and windshields.
These bare minimum requirements help to make carts safer to ride.
You will need a professional to apply these upgrades to ensure that they are as reliable and complete as possible for your needs.
You can find the Inspection Form Here.
Michigan’s Population-Based Guidelines
Currently, Michigan has a unique rule in place that states the following: any cities with a population of 30,000 or less – based on the 2010 census – may allow the operation of golf carts on public roads.
This ruling indicates that Michigan does not allow golf carts on state laws, regardless of whether or not the streets otherwise qualify for cart use.
So pay attention to which avenues you ride on, here, to avoid legal troubles.
This ruling also means that one city may allow golf cart or low-speed transportation use while others do not.
Talk to local governments as you travel to ensure that you don’t ride on roads in a place that restricts golf cart travel.
Remember: ignorance of a law is not considered a defense.
So even if you didn’t know about regulation, you might still be prosecuted for breaking it.
Interestingly, Michigan does not force cities to charge a fee for listing golf carts or their operators.
Waiving these fees means that you don’t have to let a city know when and where you plan on riding your golf cart.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can ride in any way that you want.
Many restrictions are in place to ensure that you don’t break any laws.
For example, you must be at least 16 years or older to ride a golf cart.
Beyond this age restriction, you must also have a valid driver’s license.
A driver’s permit is not good enough in this state – you must be fully licensed to qualify.
The restrictions for when and where you can ride will be entirely up to the cities that grant you that permission, however.
Some cities have granted access to all of their roads under a certain speed – usually either 30 or 35 miles per hour.
Others have much lower maximum inn speeds and limit you to specific areas.
For example, some may force golf cart use only onto roads touching golf courses.
Again, we suggest that you read through your local regulations to make sure that you qualify.
Other Guidelines and Rules to Consider
All golf carts on Michigan roads must be capable of speeds of no more than 25 miles per hour but at least 20 miles per hour.
They cannot travel on any route that is above 35 miles per hour.
However, they can cross these roads temporarily if they are on an appropriate and legal street for their cart.
When riding, you must stay as far to the right side of the road as is practical.
The idea is that you are protected from other faster cars when you are further to the right.
You must also obey all traffic laws, such as not drinking while you drive.
If you do, you may be ticketed appropriately and will pay fines and may even get jail time.
Federal Golf Cart Laws
Even though our guides are thorough and researched, it is highly recommended that you perform your own research and check with your local municipality on rules as well.