Michigan State Laws on Golf Carts

by Lana White
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golf cart image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com

In Mackinac, Michigan, where gas powered vehicles have been forbidden for decades, and horse-drawn carriages are the standard mode of transportation, residents and visitors are comfortably accustomed to slow-moving traffic. Changes to Michigan laws have made slow-moving vehicles legal on streets and roads throughout the rest of the state. Electric golf carts fit this modified definition of slow-moving vehicles.

Golf Cart Modifications Required

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To be "road-ready," a golf cart must first be electric. Gas-powered golf carts are not allowed on Michigan streets and roads. All golf cart modifications must comply with Michigan MCL 257.25 and federal regulation CFR 571.500, which call for headlights, tail lights, turn signals, four-way flashers, seat belts, horn, windshield and windshield wiper, reflectors, parking brake and brakes on all four wheels, inside rear-view mirror and outside rear-view mirrors on the left and right sides of the vehicle. The golf cart must also be fitted with an energy-absorbing bumper bolted or permanently attached to the front and rear of the vehicle.

'Road-Ready' Approval

A TR-54 form must be acquired from a state police office or downloaded from the state of Michigan website. This form is a detailed list of the modifications required, and the form a police officer must sign off on after the golf cart passes inspection. The approved TR-54 form, along with proof of insurance and a valid driver's license, must be presented at the secretary of state office to receive a temporary plate.

Title and Registration

After the temporary plate has been issued, an inspector will come to the vehicle owner's home, examine the golf cart and attach a VIN plate. The golf cart will then be titled as a "low-speed roadster." Golf cart manufacturers do not want these altered vehicles titled under the manufacturer's name for liability reasons, so the make on the title will always be listed as "assembled."

Additional Information

Golf carts are required to ride as close to the right side of the roadway as possible. Golf carts are not permitted on a pedestrian sidewalk. The minimum speed for a golf cart is 20 mph, and the speed should not exceed 25 mph.

The registration plate must be illuminated by a white light and visible from 50 feet away. Low-speed vehicles, including golf carts, may haul no more than four passengers. Additional specifications and details for golf carts in Michigan can be found under the third link in References.

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