Go-karts are a fun way of driving for many motorists. So many people spend time on the racing tracks using their go kart to move from one point to another.
Some go-kart riders however feel they should take their go-karts on the road. Go-karts are vehicles but they do not qualify as normal vehicles. What makes them so different? Can you drive a go kart on the road?
You cannot drive a go kart on public roads and properties. You can only drive go-karts on your private property or on karting racing tracks.
What is Go Karts Used for?
Go Karts are used for karting. Karting is a type of racing using a four-wheel vehicle called a go-kart. The first go-kart was manufactured in 1956 in Los Angeles. Since then, there have been many variations and additions to the style and design of go-karts. Go-karts are simply vehicles used in karting.
Can You Drive a Go Kart on the Road?
No, you cannot drive your go-kart on the road because they are not regarded as a normal vehicle that can go on roads. Moreover, the law also described it as a recreational vehicle and not something that should be on road.
If you own a go-kart and you love driving it, you might want to drive it on the road in your neighborhood. You might get this feeling when you upgrade some parts of your go-kart, making it feel like it’s a normal vehicle that can move on the road.
But is it legal, is it allowed? The answer to that is no. Go-karts are described by laws as recreational vehicles and not like the normal Toyota cars we all know, as such, they must not be found on public roads and premises.
You should not attempt to drive your go-kart on the road, in your neighborhood, on the sidewalks, in parks, and in other places.
Go-karts should only be driven on the race track or a specified track or in your private compound. You can be allowed to drive your go-kart on the road only if you make your go-kart “street legal”.
Reasons Why You Should Not Drive Go-Kart on the Road
There are many reasons why you should not drive your go-kart on the road. Remember that go-karts are recreational vehicles, they are not street-legal vehicles. That means that they cannot be driven like other vehicles on public roads, sidewalks, or parks.
The major reason why you should not drive a go-kart on the road is safety. Safety is every road user’s concern. We all want to get to our destination safely. Go-karts present a major threat to the safety of people on the road.
1. Driving in the Neighborhood
Many states in the United States have described go-karts as recreational vehicles. They are also called low–speed vehicles (LSV).
Low-speed vehicles mean they do not have the capacity to perform normal driving operations like other vehicles.
Since they are not cars or motorcycles, they are not allowed to be on the neighborhood roads. It is not only in the United States you can find this law; many other countries adopt this policy and have banned go-karts from public roads.
To drive a go-kart on a neighborhood road, you will need to upgrade its status to road legal. A lot of go-karts cannot pass the test to upgrade to a road-legal vehicle. This is because go-karts do not have the parts that are necessary for every road-legal vehicle.
Parts such as blinkers, license plates, horns, lights, and side mirrors. Any vehicle driving without these parts is a hazard to every road user.
Imagine driving a vehicle without lights, side mirrors, and blinkers. That is a recipe for disaster because the probability of an accident occurring is greater.
You have to upgrade your go-kart if you want to use it on the road. Those features and parts need to be installed and fitted, then they will need to be registered by the DMW. With this done, your go-kart might pass the test to be considered a ‘street legal vehicle.
Sometimes, even after installing these features, your go-kart may fail the test. What you need to do is check the requirements for converting a recreational vehicle to a street-legal vehicle in your city and ensure you follow them.
So long as go karts are not allowed on the neighborhood roads, if you drive them there, you are constituting a safety hazard to others and yourself. This is not a risk worth taking.
2. Driving on Neighborhood Sidewalks
Driving a go-kart on sidewalks is highly illegal. You could hit pedestrians walking on the sidewalks. Sidewalks are even constructed to be used by pedestrians and not motorists.
It is also possible that you get the sidewalk damaged. A pedestrian walking and not seeing you riding your go-kart on the sidewalk might get injured.
If that happens, you will be booked by the Police, your go-kart will be impounded and you might have to pay some fines to get it back.
Driving go-karts on sidewalks is not permitted also because of the narrow and rough surface.
3. Driving in Parks
Go-karts are banned on public roads, pavements, neighborhood roads, and parks as well. You can only drive your go-kart on the road when your go-kart has been upgraded and assigned a ‘street legal’ status.
Motorized go-karts are banned from parks and other public places but some forms of karts are allowed in parks. These are the pedal go-karts and hover karts; they are seen as toys so they are permitted.
You should be aware of the laws and rules governing the use of go-karts in your city. Some cities describe neighborhood parks as private; with this, you can actually drive your go kart there. But when the neighborhood park is seen as public, you have no reason to ride your go kart there.
My personal opinion is for you not to ride your go kart in a neighborhood park regardless of the laws in your city. There will be people hanging around there so riding a go kart there poses a threat to their safety.
4. Driving on Private Property
Driving a go-kart on private property is allowed. You just cannot drive it on the neighborhood roads or any public roads. You can drive any kind of vehicle on your private property so long as you are not breaking the law.
What Happens if You Drive Go Karts on the Road?
If you drive a go-kart on the road, you are endangering the safety of road users and you can be penalized for that if you are caught by law enforcement agencies.
Where is the Best Place to Drive Go-Karts?
You can drive your go kart in designated areas of the city. Racing go-karts are designed to be used on race tracks and nowhere else. It is safer for everyone that way.
Off-road go karts should be driven on specified trails or areas that have been laid out for that purpose. Such locations include beaches, mountain trails, forest tracks, etc.
The best places to drive go-karts are the racing tracks, on private property, on off-road trails, and in approved public areas.
Things to Know When Driving Go a Kart
In addition to what has been stated above, you can drive your go kart on indoor karting tracks, outdoor karting tracks, and dirt tracks.
Dirt tracks are simply a crossover between outdoor karting tracks and dirt trails. They use asphalt instead of dirt. It is fun to ride your go-kart on dirt tracks since the tires will not have much surface grip.
If you want to use your go-kart on the neighborhood road, you will need to make necessary modifications to it, then take a speed test and have the go-kart registered.
The penalties for driving a go-kart on the road are fines and your go-kart might be impounded. Imprisonment is a far stretch and I do not think you will be imprisoned for driving a go-kart on a public road.
With this information, you can see why you are not allowed to drive a go kart on the neighborhood roads. You have to acquire a special status for your go-kart before you can do that. Get familiar with the rules and regulations governing the use of go-karts in your state.