Rhode Island Golf Cart Laws
Rhode Island is a unique state that offers residents and visitors many fun places to visit and unique destinations to experience.
And it has a multitude of laws that dictate where you can take golf carts and other low-speed vehicles.
Fully understanding this factor is critical for ensuring that you don’t run into any complications when you take your cart out for a ride.
Don’t Forget Federal Laws
Every state is subject to specific federal laws that dictate how and where they can use various types of vehicles.
The same is true in Rhode Island.
Though they are allowed to dictate when and where carts and low-speed vehicles are used on their state and municipal highways, they must follow all federal guidelines for low-speed vehicle manufacture and safety purposes.
Once you do upgrade your golf cart in this way, though, it is now a motorized vehicle.
As a motorized vehicle, it is subject to all federal, state, and county laws.
This means that you can be ticketed for driving too fast, driving after drinking, or other inappropriate acts.
Typically, you also need a license to operate most low-speed vehicles, though this may vary depending on the state as well.
Under current NHTSA interpretations and regulations, so long as golf cars and other similar vehicles are incapable of exceeding 20 miles per hour, they are subject to only state and local requirements regarding safety equipment.
However, if these vehicles are originally manufactured so that they can go faster than 20 miles per hour, they are treated as motor vehicles under Federal law.
These upgrades include enhanced headlights, stop lights, turn signals, taillights, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, seat belts, windshields, and a proper vehicle identification number or VIN.
All of these enhancements ensure that your cart is in appropriate operational shape.
They also make sure that you don’t break any laws or guidelines when riding your cart or low-speed vehicle.
Rhode Island State Laws on Golf Carts
The rules for golf carts in Rhode Island are a little vaguer than in some other states.
That’s because they don’t have particular rules or guidelines set down in their state laws.
Therefore, there is a lot of room for interpretation.
However, many experts believe that the state does not allow golf carts on public roadways because of certain restrictions and cases brought up over the years.
A good rule of thumb in any legal situation where the laws seem vague is to err on the side of caution.
If you don’t see any specific rules dictating how you can use carts in a state, you may want to stay off of them.
However, Rhode Island does have guidelines for low-speed vehicles that help dictate how you can use them.
As a result, you need to read more to understand this facet of the law entirely.
Guidelines for Low-Speed Vehicles in Rhode Island
Rhode Island passes the buck for a low-speed vehicle to individual counties and municipalities.
Many states take this approach because they believe that these areas can best decide where and when they want to use low-speed vehicles.
Therefore, you need to talk to local officials and those in your county to ensure that you can ride low-speed cars and that you are on the proper roads.
Just as importantly, you need to make sure that you are allowed to ride on these vehicles at all.
Some municipalities limit the people who can ride low-speed vehicles in their limits.
For example, Prudence Island only enables a handful of people to use low-speed vehicles on roads in Providence.
These include those with the Omni Group, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, and the Providence Neighborhood Planting Program.
Carts can only be used between 6 am and 6 pm as well.
These restrictions are not common throughout every area of Rhode Island.
Some are laxer and allow low-speed vehicle use on city and county roads.
Remember: a city can pass its laws for ways that it owns.
So the county may restrict you from traveling on its streets, but the city in which you live may let you ride on theirs.
These guidelines can be confusing, so talk to officials to keep them clear.
Other Factors to Consider
When riding a low-speed vehicle in Rhode Island, you must stick to roads that are 35 miles per hour or less.
Faster routes are not safe for these vehicles and may cause complications.
Remember: some cities may even restrict you from these types of roads, so always talk to the proper officials before riding your cart.
And you must also make sure that you have a driver’s license, registration, and insurance for your cart.
Required policies include personal injury and property damage options.
And make sure that your cart weighs 3,000 pounds or less, or it may not qualify as a low-speed vehicle at all.
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.