Great question.  The answer is yes – subject to certain conditions. 

First, it’s important to understand that there are (2) categories of vehicles that are often referred to as ‘golf carts’.

Longboat Key Golf Carts

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles defines the two categories of golf carts:

1.  Unmodified - as-if straight off the golf course and not capable of exceeding 20mph, and
2.  Converted - stock golf carts which have been modified to become Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs) with the following accessory equipment
      - Headlamps
      - Front and rear turn signals
      - Stop lamps
      - Tail lamps
      - Reflex reflectors, red – one each side and one on the rear
      - Exterior mirror on the driver side and an interior rear-view mirror or exterior mirror on passenger sides
      - Parking brake
      - Windshield
      - Seat belt for each designated seat
      - Vehicle identification number (VIN)

Unmodified golf carts may be operated on roadways that are designated for golf carts with a posted speed limit of 30 mph or less.  Although were unclear as to whether or Longboat Key’s roadways are technically ‘designated for golf carts’ it has been our experience that carts operated on roadways with speed limits under 30mph are treated by the local constabulary as legal. Golf cart operators are not required to have a driver license and operators must be 14 years or older.

Converted golf carts (LSVs) when modified in accordance with Section 320.01(41), Florida Statutes, may be operated on streets where the posted speed limit is 35 MPH or less.  In addition to the vehicular modifications, in order for converted carts to be fully street legal, they must be registered, titled and insured with personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance.  And any person operating an LSV must have a valid driver license in their immediate possession.

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So practically speaking, the legality of operating a golf cart on Longboat Key becomes a matter of how Gulf of Mexico Drive factors into they way you intend to use your cart.  You can’t drive a golf cart on GMD unless you cart is converted to an LSV AND you only operate it in the areas with speed limits of 35mph or less.  As-of the date of this post, that means the only section of GMD on which carts may be legally operated is from just south of Whitney’s at Broadway northward to the Longboat Pass bridge.

What about sidewalks - and crossing GMD?  Sidewalks are a definite ‘no’.  Expect a good dressing-down if you’re caught operating your cart on any sidewalk along GMD.  As for crossing GMD – the FLHSMV states that ‘Golf carts may also cross a portion of a county road which intersects a roadway that is approved for golf carts’.  GMD is technically a state highway (FL-789), so not sure if that ‘county road’ exception  applies.

Walter Group Real Estate

As luxury realtors with 20 years of experience serving Longboat Key and its surrounding areas, Steve and Janet of the Walter Group Real Estate specialize in representing buyers and sellers. We are committed to guiding you through the latest luxury listings and helping you find your dream home in paradise. Start your search with us today, and let us assist you in achieving your dream of owning a luxurious property in one of Florida's most beautiful coastal communities.

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