This article will discuss some major key points in making go-karts Street legal. Any country or place you visit they have some federal laws that make go-karting requirements, and legality on the streets can be pretty confusing.
We can consider and classify go-karts in many different formats, including but not limited to Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV). They can be driven on off-roads, making them Off-Road Vehicles (ORV), and Utility Vehicles (UTV), and can also even be acknowledged as Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV).
Is Go karting legal on the Streets?
If we should answer this question in very simplistic terms. I can say that a standard go-kart is not allowed to drive on streets, which will also include neighborhood parks, sidewalks, or other public areas.
As go-karts are considered recreational vehicles and considering the laws and regulations set by the government or neighborhood you reside in. It will not be a best practice to drive your go-karts on the street which can be mainly for safety purposes.
There is a way you can make your go-kart Street legal; you would have to qualify as Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV). We will discuss the requirements you need to make your go-kart Street legal later in this article.
If you managed to make your go karts Street legal, in that case, you would be allowed to roam around your street road without any issues and hassle, as long as you follow the given set of rules appointed by the govt or local body.
What Can Make a Go-Kart Street legal?
A profound answer would be to make anything Street legal is to use it on public roads, and to do so, you need to ensure that it comes equipped with a specific configuration of safety equipment, has the right and safe speed capabilities, and last but not the least proper and avid to eyes lighting in your go-kart.
An alternative way to define a go-kart as Street legal is to compare its legal requirement, local government regulations, and laws.
Can you Make a Go-Kart Street legal?
Well, technically, no law has been passed down which adheres you not to make your go-kart street legal, so we can say that “Yes,” it is possible to make your go karts Street legal, but there are legal and specific requirements or hurdles you have to pass before you can do so.
In this article, I will guide you through a step-by-step process of making your go-karts legal and ready for the Street.
In general, the essential requirement needed to meet is:
- Multiple Safety standards must be fulfilled and passed.
- Installation of all the safety equipment.
- The Go Kart should be registered with local bodies such as the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV).
- The max speed at which Go Kart can travel should be 25 mph.
- It’s been speed tested and inspected.
- The weight of the Go kart doesn’t exceed 3000 lbs.
- Proper vehicle insurance is required.
Step 1: Make the best of your go-kart and make it street-ready
Although it may seem easy, you will require lots of preparation before you can make your go-kart ready to be launched on the Street, and this is going to be a tough challenge.
Installing Protective and safety features in your go-kart will ensure your safety and the safety of others.
Maintain your go-kart in good condition and ensure it’s equipped with all the necessary Safety parts and features required to comply with your local govt laws, which will increase your chances of legally driving the go-kart onto the streets.
There will be quite a few parts that need to be installed which might increase the weight of your go-kart to make it Street legal don’t consider it as a burden on your wheels but treat it as a safety precaution that will not only keep you but other drivers safe on the road.
List of the Equipment/Parts that Need to be Installed
You can find the list of parts that needs to be installed on the go-kart below. These parts are essential and must be installed before registering your go-kart to make it Street legal.
Remember that additional features might also be required according to your local laws to pass the mandatory safety check. Still, we will try to cover the most common ones required.
- Side View/Rear View Mirror: Mirrors are one of the essential pieces of equipment that need to be installed when driving on streets as they give you a sense of your surrounding environment and a 360 view of any activity happening around you.
- Windshields: These not only protect you from flying debris but also protect your eyes from dust blowing from the wind, bear in mind that windshield wipers should also be installed for rainy conditions, and consult your local laws for better guidance.
- Good Brakes: An excellent braking system with perfect brakes condition will be needed for you to qualify in DMV, as worn-out and faulty brakes will lead to disqualification on the streets. The brakes installed should be considerate enough to work in rainy and snowy conditions.
- Horn: Go kart should also be equipped with a horn, as a horn act as a warning signal to others and may protect them from a potential accident. Horn installed should be loud enough to be heard from 200 feet.
- Tires: Don’t use customized tires as your go-kart will not be Street legal in that case. The usage tires approved by the local government should be used, which can be the Department of Transportation (DOT). These tires are usually larger than off-road go-karting tires. Check our best off-road go-kart post.
- Seat Belts: In case of any unforeseen accident, seat belts help you to be in place and not flung out of the windshield, making seat belts an essential safety feature for your go-kart.
- Hood/Bonnet: The go-kart engine can’t be exposed to dust and rain, so you need a bonnet or hood to cover it.
- Lights/Reflectors: A illumination source for the dark road ahead and provides a signal for braking or making turns, so your Go kart needs to be equipped with all types of headlights, brake lights, and reflectors.
- Speedometer: If you want to have a numerable speed value or, in simple terms, have a sense of how fast you are going, you need to install a speedometer in your go-kart.
- Bumper: Having a bumper will protect your engine from upcoming dust and debris on the road.
- Exhaust System: A well-maintained exhaust system should be installed in your go-kart with noise and emission levels to a minimum.
This list can seem like a lot, but these parts mentioned are readily available in the local shop or online store.
Step 2: Inspection is right up after you are done with part 1
It would be a best practice according to your state to get your go-kart inspected before you can register it to use it on the Street. Any local govt would appoint an individual from the Department of Motor Vehicle who will thoroughly inspect your go-kart.
These inspection processes are essential to ensuring that your go-kart is in absolutely perfect condition and equipped with all the necessary safety and precautionary features before you take it out on the streets.
It would be a great hassle and will lengthen the process for registration of the go-kart if, during the inspection process, the inspection officer finds a violation of any rule or missing equipment.
In that case, you would have to take back your go-kart, has it installed, and book an inspection appointment for a later date.
There is no going around as the inspection officer will check each detail of your go-kart and ensure that it follows the law.
I would always suggest that it is best practice to read your local government laws and regulations before getting your go-kart inspected, as it will save you time and energy.
Step 3: Hold your horses. You need to pass the speed test
The primary purpose of the speed test will not be maximizing the speed limit or aiming at top speeds, as you will seek that your go-kart doesn’t go over 25 MPH.
This can be done by scheduling an appointment with a local government, which can be DMV. Then they will run a speed test. Hence if your go-kart exceeds 25 MPH, it will fail the test, so make sure it does not go faster than this.
This will ensure that your go-kart is not a dangerous threat to other motorists and pedestrians.
Step 4: Next up, Get your Go-Kart Registered
The final step would be registering your go-kart as Low-Speed-Vehicle (LSV) once all the above steps have been completed.
LSV is an independent class of auto vehicles with laws and regulations quite lenient than regular standard cars.
Some of the essential requirements to register your go-kart as an LSV are mentioned below,
- A four-wheel drive vehicle should be used.
- The max speed of the go-kart should not exceed 25 MPH.
- The weight of the go-kart should not exceed 3000 lbs.
- The abovementioned equipment should be appropriately installed (Mentioned in step 1).
Getting a License Plate
One of the most frequently asked questions is, “Do we get a license plate“? and if we do, how do we get it?
To answer the first question, yes, we will get a license plate, but for that, you need to provide various documents for the registration of the go-kart.
Following is the list of public documents required for the registration process for a license plate. Bear in mind that these documents can vary from state to state, so you can first check with your govt body.
- Bill of Sale (Includes Vehicle Identification Number)
- Title of the go-kart
- Voter Registration Card/National Identity Card
- Finally, get your license plate
I would advise, or a best practice would be to prepare these documents in advance before registration of your go-kart. Once you have been issued the license certificate, make sure to keep it in a safe place for further reference whenever you are pulled over on the road.
Step 5: Last but not least, Get Insurance for the Go-Kart
Well, after all these lengthy processes, it’s time to pay up for the fees incurred for your registration process, most likely you would be paying for the VIN plate, Sales Tax, title, and inspection of the kart, but there is still one more thing you need to do before actually making your go kart legal, choosing an insurance for your go-kart.
Insurance will provide peace of mind when driving around the Street, hence can safeguard your liability in any unforeseen circumstances, which can include:
- Any parts of go-karts get broken
- Go-kart gets stolen
- Any third-party liability
Choosing a go-kart insurance company can be tedious since most companies will not treat it as a standard car.
You also have to remember that some places require insurance coverage before registration of the go-kart, so step 5 can also move upwards, and you have to check with your local laws for that.
From the above article, I hope you gained insightful, data-driven knowledge on how to make your go-kart street legal. Though it can seem a bit tedious, it sure looks like a fun project and the enjoyment you will attain when driving your go-kart around the block. Be prepared, Be Vigilant, be safe, and do not forget to have fun.
Hello Folks, my name is Mesha Macauley, your neighborhood go-karting enthusiast, I just love motor racing and motorsports which especially includes go-karting, the thrill of enjoying, and driving the go-kart with winds brushing against your face gives me butterflies. Usually, you will find me on go-kart tracks either driving or tuning my go-kart.