What’s the Difference Between a Golf Cart and a Street-legal Cart?
Golf carts are not designed to exceed 15 mph (24 km/h) and do not have the safety features required for use on public roads. Street-legal carts, however, are equipped with safety features for on-road driving.
Street-Legal Cart vs. Golf Cart
For street use
For use on a golf course
At least 20 mph (32 km/h)
Not to exceed 15 mph (24 km/h)
Must be operated by licensed driver
License not required
Can be driven on public road?
Yes, check local and state laws for any restrictions
Not unless it’s converted to be street-legal
Safety Feature Requirements
Headlights, tail lights, reflectors, turn signals, speedometer, mirror, horn, fenders, windshield, seat belts
About GEM Vehicles
GEM vehicles provide a more comfortable ride, with more standard safety features than a golf cart.
Is Polaris GEM Street-legal?
Yes. GEM is the leader in the LSV (Low-Speed Vehicle) market, and GEM vehicles are street-legal in 47 states. An LSV is a vehicle class that has a maximum speed of 25 mph (40 km/h), and can legally be driven on most roads posted 35 mph (50 km/h) or less.
Are GEM Vehicles Considered Golf Carts?
While it may seem like a golf cart, GEM has many additional features that make it so much more. GEM is equipped with safety features required to be classified as a low-speed vehicle, and some of our features go above and beyond the standard LSV requirements. For example, GEM vehicles are roof crush certified to SAE J2358 standards. It is also designed to with premium rider comfort and experience in mind.
GEM vs. Golf Carts
- Up to 6 forward-facing passengers
- High-back seats, engineered with comfort in mind
- Rules & regulations vary by state but street-legal in 47 states
- Safety features come standard: 3-point seat belts, headlights, turn signals
- 25 mph (40 km/h)
- Must be operated by a licensed driver to be legal on public roads
- 2-4 passengers, sometimes rear-facing
- Bench seating, typical
- Generally not street-legal
- No standard safety features
- Speed unable to exceed 15 mph (24 km/h)