In this guide we’ll explore if go-karts are street legal. As the United States is governed by federal laws and state statutes, vehicle requirements and legality can be quite confusing. Moreover, go-karts can be classified as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV), Off-Road Vehicle (ORV), Utility Vehicle (UTV) and even Off-Highway Vehicle OHV), depending on the type of your go-kart. Therefore, this brings up the question, are go-karts street legal?
Well, that depends on which state you reside in. Go-kart laws depend on the state statutes and which vehicle classification your go-kart falls under. Generally speaking, some types of go-karts are street legal, if they meet certain requirements. I’ve compiled and created a complete guide to go-kart laws in each state for racing, recreational and off-road go-karts. This will enable you to see if your type of go-kart is street legal. There is a separate guide on how to make a go-kart street legal if you plan to register your go-kart for road use.
Please note that the information below has been aggregated from various government department and state websites, legislatures and statutes. The information on go-kart laws are not to be construed as legal advice. It’s always recommended to check your local state and municipality guidelines if go-karts are street legal in your state or city.
Go-Kart Laws By State
As you know, go-kart laws differ from state to state. In order for you to determine if go-karts are street legal in your respective state I’ve created a list for you to check. Although the information compiled applies to most go-karts, it’s always best to check directly with your state authorities.
Go-Kart Laws in Alabama
In Alabama go-karts are not street legal, unless they are officially registered with the DMV and are equipped with all the required safety parts. The driver also needs to be at least 16 years of age and possess a valid drivers license.
Go-karts can qualify as Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs) in Alabama and are therefore only allowed to be driven in daylight hours. All low-speed vehicles also need to be limited to 25 mph on the road and are generally not allowed to cross highways. With regards to off-road go-karts, Alabama also prohibits the operation of vehicles on public roads, as these vehicles are specifically designed for off-road use.
- Reference: GOV Alabama
Go-Kart Laws in Alaska
Alaska has very strict laws on go-karts, which fall under the category of Off-Road Vehicles (ORV). Go-karts are not allowed to be driven on public roadways, unless they have been registered with the DMV. Your go-kart would need to be equipped with certain parts.
Due to the weather conditions in Alaska, there are certain exceptions where you may drive a go-kart on the road or on the shoulder of a highway shoulder. These exceptions come into effect if you intend to cross it or if the snow conditions don’t allow regular vehicles to be driven on the road. Alaska officials are known to heavily enforce these rules.
- Reference: DOT Alaska
Go-Kart Laws in Arizona
Arizona has allowed vehicles to be registered as Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs), if they are emission free and have a top speed of 25 mph. Your go-kart would also have to be equipped with the safety features as per federal regulation, in order to have it registered.
Off-road go-karts in Arizona can qualify as Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV), if it was manufactured for terrain use and weighs less than 2,500 lbs. You’ll also need to register your off-road go-kart and display a valid OHV decal. If you pass the registration and inspection, your go-kart is street legal.
- Reference: DOT Arizona
Go-Kart Laws in Arkansas
Arkansas defines off-highway vehicles such as off-road go-karts mainly as vehicles being 75-inches or less in width, weighing less than 800 lbs, having an engine that’s less than 650 cc and is primarily designed for off-road usage.
While you don’t need to register a go-kart for private use, you can register a go-kart for street use if it meets certain criteria. Unregistered off-road go-karts may only be driven on public roadways when hunting/farming, to get from one off-road trail to another or for crossing the highway. It’s illegal to drive a go-kart on public roads in Arkansas under normal circumstances.
- Reference: Statutes Arkansas
Go-Kart Laws in California
Depending on the type of go-kart, you may be able to register it as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV). LSVs in California must be below 3,000 lbs, have 4 wheels and meet specific equipment and specifications. You’ll also only be able to drive on public streets where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.
Off-road go-karts fall under the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) category in California. All OHVs must be registered. After registration you’ll be issued a green or red sticker. After that you are able to drive your go-kart on public lands and unpaved roads, depending on each county. If your go-kart meets further requirements you can even make it street and highway legal.
- Reference: OHV California
Go-Kart Laws in Colorado
Colorado has an interesting take on the legality of go-karts on public roadways. Colorado authorizes each individual municipality to decide this autonomously, so you must check this directly with your district’s DMV.
Go-karts can qualify as Low-Speed Electric Vehicles (LSV) or as Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV). If they do, go-karts must be registered and are required to be equipped with items such as turn signals, mirrors, reflectors, windshield, glazing material, etc.
OHV which are off-road go-karts are either an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV). Generally speaking, in Colorado ATVs and UTVs are not street legal.
- Reference: DOT Colorado
Go-Kart Laws in Connecticut
Connecticut is one of the few states that make it impossible for people to legally drive go-karts on public roadways. Even if your go-kart meets the general LSV regulations of other states, it’s not possible to register a go-kart in Connecticut.
Go-karts and other low-speed vehicles are not street legal in Connecticut, as the state doesn’t have any LSV statutes. Even neighborhood electric vehicles are not allowed as of yet, as the bill was passed by the Senate, however it was not taken up yet by the House. This is also the case for off-road go-karts. They must be registered, however are not street legal.
- Reference: GE Connecticut
Go-Kart Laws in Delaware
Go-karts in Delaware are only street legal if they meet the requirements for Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs). LSVs are required to be equipped with the necessary parts, such as headlights, brakes, indicators, windshield, parking brake, steering wheel, etc.
In order for you to legally drive your go-kart on the street, you’ll need to have a valid driver’s license and your go-kart must be registered with a valid insurance. Your kart must be 4-wheeled, have a minimum speed of 20 mph, maximum speed of 25 mph and weigh no more than 2,500 lbs. Off-road go-karts must be registered and may not be allowed to be operated on public roads and highways.
- Reference: DMV Delaware
Go-Kart Laws in Florida
Florida’s Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) laws stipulate that the vehicle must have 4 wheels, be electrically powered and must have a speed between 20 – 25 mph. You’ll need to check with your local DMV if your go-kart qualifies.
Off-road go-karts are classified as a Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV). You can title a go-kart, however you won’t be able to register it. ROVs are not registered and licensed for road use. However, you may use your go-kart on unpaved roads and public lands that are approved. Unfortunately, OHVs cannot legally operate on public roads or highways.
- Reference: FDACS Florida
Go-Kart Laws in Georgia
In Georgia go-karts can fall under the Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) or Personal Transportation Vehicle (PTV) category, depending on your go-kart. Your go-kart can qualify as a PTV if it has at least 4 wheels, a maximum ground speed of less than 20 mph, capacity of less than 8 and has an empty weight of 1,375 lbs. Your go-kart can be made street legal if you have it registered and have all the required parts installed.
Off-road go-karts in Georgia fall under the Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) classification and are not allowed to be operated on public roads and highways. You may however ride it at designated trails and private property.
- Reference: DPS Georgia
Go-Kart Laws in Hawaii
Go-karts in Hawaii are not street legal by default. They must go through the proper registration process and must have a 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN). They must also meet all the required parts in order to safely operate on streets.
Other noteworthy points are that your go-kart must have four wheels and have a minimum speed of 25 mph and a maximum speed of 25 mph. There is also a 3,000 lbs weight limit, so you must ensure that your go-kart complies with this. While off-road go-karts are allowed to be driven on private property and approved public lands, you’re not street legal.
- Reference: DOT Hawaii
Go-Kart Laws in Idaho
In Idaho certain go-karts are street legal but must be registered as an Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) or Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV). One important criteria in Idaho is that your go-kart would be needed to be electric, emission free and have certain specifications.
Off-road go-karts in Idaho fall under the Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) category and must be registered. You’re allowed to drive on public trails and private property. Certain off-road go-karts can even be driven on state, federal, state and county roads if they meet certain criteria. Required parts include safety equipment, restricted vehicle license plate and a valid driver license.
- Reference: OHV Idaho
Go-Kart Laws in Illinois
Certain go-karts in Illinois can be classified as Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV). These go-karts are allowed to be legally driven on the road with a speed limit of 30 mph. However, there are certain requirements that you need to ensure you comply with. Your go-kart requires a title and also needs to be registered with the Secretary of State’s Office and meet all safety requirements.
Off-road go-karts in Illinois need to be titled and registered. You’re free to ride on private properly but need a decal to ride on approved public trails. Unfortunately, off-road go-karts aren’t legal on public streets. The only exception is to cross a road.
- Reference: Illinois General Assembly
Go-Kart Laws in Indiana
In Indiana, go-karts can qualify as Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) or Off-Road Vehicle (ORV). LSVs may only be used on public roadways if they meet the requirements and are registered accordingly. You’ll also need to produce a valid driver license, registration, and insurance when registering.
All off-road Vehicles in Indiana need to be registered if they were purchased before December 31, 2003. Registering your off-road go-kart costs $30 for three years. You’ll also need to display your decal. Generally speaking, registered ORVs are allowed to be driven on public streets, however not on limited access highways. It can also only be operated in between sunrise and sunset. As go-kart and ORV laws can be different in each city in Indiana, it’s best to check the laws for your municipality.
- Reference: ORV Laws Indiana
Go-Kart Laws in Iowa
In order to drive your go-kart legally on public streets in Iowa, your go-kart must be either registered as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) or an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV). All LSVs must be below 3,000 lbs in dry weight, be registered and must have a valid insurance. In addition to that, you’ll also require all the necessary equipment such as parking brakes, lights, windshield, turn signal etc.
Generally, Iowa does not permit the use of OHV on public roadways, even if they are registered unless for agricultural purposes. However, it’s important to note that cities in Iowa may designate certain streets for OHV to operate on legally.
- Reference: DOT Iowa
Go-Kart Laws in Kansas
The vehicle classifications in Kansas don’t include categories that go-karts fall under. It’s therefore extremely difficult to legally drive go-karts on the street in Kansas. ATVs are defined as having a straddled seat, and they don’t match the requirements for golf carts, work-site utility vehicles or micro utility vehicles. It’s best to check in your local municipality which category your go-kart falls under.
- Reference: Statutes Kansas
Go-Kart Laws in Kentucky
You are able to drive go-karts on the street legally if it qualifies as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) and your kart is properly registered as one. You’ll need to ensure that it has the required equipment installed, meets the weight limitations and has a top speed below 25 mph.
Technically speaking, Kentucky defines All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) as motor vehicles that are used for recreational off-road use. If your go-kart falls under this category, you are required to have a title. Registration is not required and operating any All-Terrain Vehicle on public highways or roadways is not allowed.
- Reference: Statutes Kentucky
Go-Kart Laws in Louisiana
There is good news for off-road go-kart owners. While you aren’t allowed to drive on roads or highways with your go-kart, there are exceptions for use and crossing of public roadways. More importantly, you’re allowed to operate your off-road go-kart on the shoulder of highways and roadways starting 30 after sunrise and ending 30 minutes before sunset. Take note that you may be required to show proof of registration and vehicle insurance.
Louisiana has one of the strictest laws when it comes to Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs). You’re required to have it registered, equipped with all 17 of the necessary safety items and required to produce a VIN. You’ll most likely only get an electric go-kart approved, as the vehicle must operate not less than 20 mph and not more than 25mph.
- Reference: Statutes Louisiana
Go-Kart Laws in Maine
Go-karts can only be registered as Low-Speed Vehicle (LSVs) in Maine if they meet the weight limit restrictions, speed requirements and all the required parts. While it is possible to register a go-kart as an LSV, it’s not as easy in Maine.
On the other hand, off-road go-karts are categorized as All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) in the state of Maine. Unfortunately, you aren’t allowed to operate any type of off-road vehicle on public streets and highways. There are a few exceptions to this rule, which include emergency situations or a municipality in Maine has granted access for off-road vehicles. However, these circumstances are rare and under the bottom line, go-karts aren’t streets legal in Maine. You may drive them on approved off-road trails after registration.
- Reference: GOV Maine
Go-Kart Laws in Maryland
When it comes to street legal go-karts, Maryland has relatively strict laws. The first and more unlikely option is that your go-kart qualifies as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV). If that’s the case, it should have a speed that exceeds 20 mph and is lower than 25 mph. It needs to have an electric motor, comply with all part requirements and weigh no more than 2,500 lbs.
If you have an off-road go-kart, the laws in Maryland are quite clear. All Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) need to be registered with the Department of Natural Resources, yearly. You’ll also be required to display a registration sticker and are not allowed to ride on any public streets or highways.
- Reference: DNR Maryland
Go-Kart Laws in Massachusetts
Unfortunately, Massachusetts has very strict laws regarding street-legal go-karts. It’s extremely hard to register a go-kart as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV), as they have very stringent requirements. It’s best to check the entire list with the DMV, in order to check if your go-kart can qualify.
It’s more likely that your go-kart is classified as an Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV). Off-highway vehicles are any type of recreational or off-road vehicles. While OHVs are allowed to be used on private property and on approved public trails, you may not operate them on any public roadways and highways. The only exception is to cross a road.
- Reference: GOV Massachusetts
Go-Kart Laws in Michigan
Regular Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) laws apply in Michigan and you’re able to apply if your go-kart meets all the requirements. Mostly electric go-kart would qualify due to the 20 – 25 mph speed limitation.
Off-road go-karts on the other hand can be street legal in Michigan. When purchasing an off-road vehicle, you’ll receive an off-road title. You can convert this title for road-use, if your go-kart is equipped with headlights, horn, tail lights, indicators, mirrors, safety belts, windshield, brake lights, brakes and DOT-approved threaded tires. This is great news if you own an off-road go-kart. Being able to make your go-kart street legal in Michigan came into effect in March 2019.
- Reference: GOV Michigan
Go-Kart Laws in Minnesota
In Minnesota, go-karts typically fall under the All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) category. Your go-kart must have at least 3 tires and not more than 6. It must also have a dry weight not more than 2,000 lbs and a total width of 65” or less.
Off-road go-karts can be street-legal in Minnesota, if they are registered and have the required equipment and specifications. You can even apply for highway usage if your kart is equipped with head lights, tail lights, horn, mirrors and other mandatory parts that are stipulated by the Department of Public Safety in Minnesota.
- Reference: Statutes Minnesota
Go-Kart Laws in Mississippi
Your go-kart can be classified as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) or an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) in Mississippi. LSV are required to have 4 wheels, a speed between 20 – 25 mph, a vehicle identification number and a gross vehicle weight of less than 3,000 lbs. You’ll also need to ensure that your kart meets the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) so that it can operate on public streets legally.
Off-Road Vehicles in Mississippi are only allowed to be used on public property such as trails, parks and forests, if the operator has a valid driver license and has an official safety certificate. Unfortunately, off-road vehicles such as off-road go-karts may not be operated on public roads or highways.
- Reference: CPSC Mississippi
Go-Kart Laws in Missouri
While you are able to register your go-kart as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) in Missouri, they have very similar requirements like cars and trucks. This means that the criteria is stringent and it may be quite difficult to make it street legal.
In Missouri, off-road go-karts don’t fall under the Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) category, as they don’t have handlebars that are not straddled. Instead they fall under the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROHV), which won’t need to be titled and registered. In Missouri, you are able to register your ROHV and make it street legal, given that your off-road kart is equipped with the necessary safety equipment, such as a roll cage, lights, seat belts, brakes, etc.
- Reference: DPS Missouri
Go-Kart Laws in Montana
Montana has laws for Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) and Medium Speed Vehicles (MSV). LSVs require a VIN, all required safety parts, 4 wheels, a speed ranging from 20 – 40 mph and must be electrically powered. MSVs must also be electrically powered, have a weight less than 5,000 lbs and a maximum speed of 45 mph. If your go-kart qualifies as an LSV or MSD, you can drive it legally on the streets of Montana.
There is also great news for off-road go-kart drivers. Off-roading is allowed only on approved trails, not cross-country and you’ll also need to comply with the sound emission criteria. However, off-road go-karts can be registered to be used on public roads if your kart is properly registered and you have a valid driver license.
- Reference: OHV Montana
Go-Kart Laws in Nebraska
In Nebraska, your electric go-kart can be registered as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV), if it operates between 20 – 25 mph, has a dry weight of 3,000 lbs or less and fulfills all safety requirements. It’s not easy to certify a go-kart as an LSV in Nebraska and requires some upgrades
Off-road go-karts generally fall under the Utility Type Vehicle (UTV) category. If your off-road go-kart is 74” or less in width, less than 180” in length, a dry weight of 2,000 lbs and has 4 non-highway tires, it may pass as a UTV. You are required to register your go-kart as a UTV, as you’re required to title it. However, you are not permitted to operate your off-road go-kart on public streets.
- Reference: DMV Nebraska
Go-Kart Laws in Nevada
If you have an electric go-kart that is akin to a golf cart, you may be able to register it as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV). You must ensure that it’s within the stupidated speed requirements (20 to 25 mph) and has a dry weight of less than 3,000 lbs. There is also a required parts list that you need to have your go-kart equipped with.
Generally speaking, off-road go-karts in Nevada must be registered and titled. They fall under the off-highway vehicle (OHV) category and may not be operated on public roads by default. There is also no age limit and no driver license requirement to operate a OHV. However, you can make your go-kart street legal if you register it with full inspection and approval at the DMV.
- Reference: OHV Nevada
Go-Kart Laws in New Hampshire
There are two options for go-karts classifications in New Hampshire. The first option is to register your go-kart as a Low-Speed Neighborhood Vehicle (LSNV). Your go-kart needs to have an electric motor and must have a speed higher than 20mph and less than 25 mph. There are also other requirements that your go-kart needs to fulfill and it most likely requires upgrades.
Another option would be to register it as an Off-High Recreational Vehicle (OHRV), which is the more likely option. This allows you to only ride your off-road go-kart on private property and on approved public trails, given that you have a safety certificate. Off-road go-karts are not street legal in New Hampshire.
- Reference: OHRV New Hampshire
Go-Kart Laws in New Jersey
You may not be able to register your go-kart as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) in New Jersey. LSVs in this state must be electric-powered. Gas or diesel powered go-karts can’t qualify as Low-Speed Vehicles. Additionally, it must have a speed of more than 20 mph and less than 25 mph. It also can’t operate on roads with speed limits exceeding 25 mph.
Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) such as go-karts are also not street legal in New Jersey, unless they are Class 1. Class 1 ORVs need to be licensed, registered, insured and inspected by a licenced officer. Even for off-roading, you are required to register your off-road go-kart. However, you don’t require a driver’s license or permit to operate it. People over the age of 14 are able to operate an off-road go-kart.
- Reference: DEP New Jersey
Go-Kart Laws in New Mexico
In New Mexico, you can make your go-kart street legal by either registering it as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) or an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV). However, there are stringent requirements for LSVs. You’ll need to ensure that you have all the right parts equipped and that your go-kart has a speed between 20 to 25 mph. Most go-karts don’t qualify by default without major upgrades.
If you have an off-road go-kart you may only ride on public roadways to cross it. Off-road go-karts need to be registered for operating on public lands. You’re also required to be at least 18 years of age to drive unsupervised. Additionally, you’ll need to wear an DOT approved helmet and protective eye gear when operating your off-road go-kart.
- Reference: GOV New Mexico
Go-Kart Laws in New York
New York’s Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) laws allow driving on public roads, however certain state or local authorities may prohibit this for safety reasons. Please note that your go-kart has to qualify as an LSV, which is not easy.
Off-road go-karts in New York, are classified as All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs). ATVs may need to be registered, depending on your locale. Off-road go-karts are not allowed to be driven on public roads or highways, unless for crossing or agricultural purposes.
- Reference: DMV New York
Go-Kart Laws in North Carolina
The interesting thing about North Carolina is that they don’t have Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) or Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) classifications. There are regulations found for ATVs, but they are defined as being straddled. Therefore, you most likely won’t be able to drive your off-road go-kart on the road in North Carolina legally.
However, you may be able to register and drive your go-kart legally on roadways as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV). In order to register your go-kart as an LSV you’ll need to be 16 years of age with a valid driver license. You’ll also need to ensure that you go-kart is equipped with all the safety features as stipulated by your local DMV.
- Reference: DOT North Carolina
Go-Kart Laws in North Dakota
Regular Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) laws apply in North Dakota and you may register your go-kart accordingly, if it meets all the requirements and specifications.
Off-road go-karts are classified as Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) in North Dakota. All off-road go-karts that are driven on public land must be titled and registered with the North Dakota Department of Transportation. An OHV may be operated on public roadways with a posted speed limit not exceeding 55 mph. Your off-road go-kart would require headlights, tail lights, horn, speedometer, brake light, mirror and a motor with at least 350 cc.
It’s best to check with your local county authorities to ensure that your city allows operating OHVs on public streets.
- Reference: PRD North Dakota
Go-Kart Laws in Ohio
If you plan to register your go-kart as an Under-Speed Vehicle (USV), Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) or Utility Vehicle (UTV), you should ensure that your type of go-kart is equipped with the required safety equipment and falls in line with the stipulated specifications. These vehicles may be driven on public roads if registered and inspected.
In Ohio, off-road go-karts are categorized as All-Purpose Vehicles (APV). An APV is any vehicle that is self-propelled, primarily designed for cross-country use and steered by wheels. Upon purchase, you must register your off-road go-kart, unless you only plan to operate it on your private property. Unless crossing the road, operating your off-road go-kart on public street is not legal.
- Reference: BMV Ohio
Go-Kart Laws in Oklahoma
Standard Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) laws apply in Oklahoma and you may register your go-kart accordingly, if you meet the necessary requirements. If you have an off-road go-kart, titling and registration are mandatory.
Off-road go-karts are classified as All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) in Oklahoma if it’s manufactured exclusively for off-highway use. It must also be less than 60” wide, have a maximum unladen weight of 1,500 lbs and have more than 2 low-pressure tires. Unfortunately, off-road go-karts are not street legal in the state of Oklahoma and may therefore not be driven on any paved roads.
- Reference: State Laws Oklahoma
Go-Kart Laws in Oregon
Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) must be titled and registered in the state of Oregon. If your go-kart meets all the requirements to qualify for an LSV, you may be able to make it street legal.
Off-road go-karts in Oregon classify as Class IV ATVs. This category is also known as Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV) or Utility Task Vehicle (UTV). Your go-kart may not have a speed greater than 30 mph and must weigh less than 2,500 lbs. It also needs to be less than 80” in width and you require an ATV sticker, insurance and title. Make sure that you read the full requirements for off-road usage. Off-road go-karts cannot be made legal in Oregon.
- Reference: GOV Oregon
Go-Kart Laws in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania you can register your go-kart as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV), if you are able to get it titled, registered and insured. You’ll be able to make it street legal if it has a windshield, turn signals, headlights, tail lights, seat belts and other mandatory equipment and specifications. As it needs to have a speed in between 20-25 mph it would most likely have to be electrically powered.
Unfortunately, off-road go-karts in Pennsylvania are considered Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) and are not allowed to be operated on public streets. They’re not street legal and can only be operated on approved public areas and private property.
- Reference: DCNR Pennsylvania
Go-Kart Laws in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has extremely strict laws that govern Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) and Off-Road Vehicles (ORV). Individual counties in Rhode Island have their own laws governing LSVs and it’s best to reach out to them to check if you are able to register your go-kart to make it street legal.
Off-road go-karts are not legal on public roadways and highways. The Transportation of Motor Vehicles in Rhode Island determines Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) unsuitable for operation on public streets and highways. Therefore, you will not be able to register your off-road go-kart for road-use.
- Reference: Laws Rhode Island
Go-Kart Laws in South Carolina
In South Carolina, you’ll only be able to register a go-kart as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) if it’s not homemade and is factory equipped with all the required parts and safety features. This makes registering a go-kart as an LSV extremely difficult in South Carolina, as you’ll most likely require a lot of upgrades. That in turn, disqualifies your go-kart as an LSV.
Unfortunately, off-road go-karts are not permitted on public roadways and highways in South Carolina. They’re not street-legal and may only be used on a public road in order to cross it. However, you are allowed to drive your off-road go-kart on private property and approved public areas.
- Reference: DMV South Carolina
Go-Kart Laws in South Dakota
South Dakota allows Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) to be operated on public roads, if they meet all the required regulations and have a speed of more than 20 mph but no more than 25 mph. There are also certain safety features that your go-kart needs to be equipped with.
Off-road go-karts classify as an Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) in South Dakota. While you are required to title your off-road go-kart, it cannot be registered for highways use. The statutes dictate clearly that no person is allowed to operate an off-road vehicle on public streets or on a highway. The only exception is if you’re crossing from one side of the road to the other.
- Reference: Statutes South Dakota
Go-Kart Laws in Tennessee
In Tennessee, go-karts can fall into various vehicle classes. It can qualify as a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) if it’s speed is greater than 20 mph but not greater than 25 mph. Or it can qualify as a Medium Speed Vehicle (MSV) if the speed is greater than 20 mph but not greater than 25 mph. Both LSV and MSV vehicles need to meet the standards in 49 CFR 571.500.
Off-road go-karts classify as Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) and can be either Class I or Class II. All off-road go-karts that are not intended to be driven on the streets shouldn’t. However, if your go-kart meets certain requirements you’re legally able to drive your kart on public streets and highways. People who wish to only ride off-road do not need to register their go-karts.
- Reference: GOV Tennessee
Go-Kart Laws in Texas
The state of Texas adopts the federal definition and requirements for Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs). You’ll need to ensure that your go-kart meets all LSV requirements and you’ll require a valid driver license.
Off-road go-karts are qualified as Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV) or Utility Vehicles (UTV) in Texas. In order to drive on public land, you’ll need functioning brakes, muffler, head and tail lights, as well as a spark arrestor. You can even apply for an off-highway vehicle license plate that allows you to ride on public roads with speed limits lower than 35 mph.
- Reference: DMV Texas
Go-Kart Laws in Utah
Utah allows Low-speed Vehicles (LSV) to operate on public roads. If your go-kart is electric-powered, has a maximum of 4 seats, and meets other safety requirements, you can register it with the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles (UDMV). Your kart will most likely require some upgrades.
In Utah, off-road go-karts are classified as Off-Highway vehicles (OHV), specifically All-Terrain Type II Vehicle (Type II ATV). This class is reserved for off-road go-karts, dune buggies, sand rails, etc. There are also other types of requirements that your vehicle needs to meet. If you intend to ride your off-road go-kart on public lands, roads, or trails, you must register it as a recreational vehicle. You do this at the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles (UDMV). With that being said, go-karts can be made street legal in Utah.
- Reference: DNR Utah
Go-Kart Laws in Vermont
Vermont has relatively strict rules for the operation of Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) on public roads. In general, your go-kart would need to have 4 wheels, be electrically powered, is emission free, have a dry weight of 3,000 lbs or less and be equipped with all the required safety parts. The state authority or municipal legislative body may deem LSVs illegal in the interest of public safety in certain areas.
Off-road go-karts are considered All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) in Vermont if they have a dry weight of 1,700 lbs and a maximum width of 64”. If you plan to ride your go-kart on public lands and approved trails, you’ll need to register it accordingly. Generally speaking, go-karts are not street legal in Vermont.
- Reference: GE Vermont
Go-Kart Laws in Virginia
Virginia allows Low-speed Vehicles (LSV) on public roads given that they are equipped with all necessary parts and adhere to strict specifications. It may not be easy to register a go-kart as an LSV in Virginia, due to the stringent requirements.
Virginia legislature stipulates that go-karts are not considered All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), as go-karts are defined in this state as having a low center of gravity, are typically used in racing on level surfaces and are not allowed to be driven on streets. ATVs are generally not street legal in Virginia, with some exceptions in Buchanan County.
- Reference: State Law Virginia
Go-Kart Laws in Washington
Washington has laws for Low-Speed Vehicles (LSVs) and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs). It’s not that easy to register your go-kart as an LSV or NEV, unless it meets all the stringent requirements, such as speed, weight, parts and power source.
Off-road go-karts are classified as Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) in Washington and can be operated with a use permit and an ORV tag in recreational parks and public approved trails. You’re not allowed to use them on public roads and highways, unless you register your off-road go kart for street use. You’ll need to equip a metal plate that indicates that your go-kart is cleared for road use.
- Reference: WSP Washington
Go-Kart Laws in West Virginia
Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) in West Virginia go by the federal definition and can only be operated on roads with an indicated speed limit of 25 mph or less. It’s not easy to register a go-kart as an LSV, due to the various specification and part requirements needed.
Off-road go-karts in West Virginia are hard to place in a vehicle category. They don’t qualify as ATVs, as they are not stradled, and Off-Road Vehicles (ORV) in this state refer to jeeps and pickups. However, in some cases your go-kart may qualify as a Utility-Terrain Vehicle (UTV). UTVs are street legal on roads with a single lane or two-lane roads without a center line. Reach out to your local DMV to clarify.
- Reference: Legislature West Virginia
Go-Kart Laws in Wisconsin
Wisconsin only allows Low-Speed Vehicles (LSV) on local roads, if the local municipality approves it. It must also have 4 wheels, be electric-powered, have a max weight under 3,000 lbs. And must adhere to a list of safety parts.
Off-road go-karts in Wisconsin can be street legal if they meet certain part requirements, specifications and are driven within the ordinance of a country or city. They can either be classified as an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) or a Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV). In some areas Wisconsin even has dedicated ATV/UTV routes.
- Reference: DNR Wisconsin
Go-Kart Laws in Wyoming
Wyoming doesn’t have Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) laws in place. Instead, they have a Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) class. Since 2007, if your go-kart passes as an MPV, it is road legal if it meets the required specifications, required parts and weighs between 300 to 3,000 lbs.
Off-road go-karts are considered Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) and need to be registered annually, even if you only intend to use it on public trails in Wyoming. ORVs can qualify as a Class 1 or Class 3, depending on its dry weight. If your off-road go-kart meets certain part requirements and specifications, you’re able to make it street legal in certain counties. For example, Fremont and Carbon counties have some ORV street legal roads.
- Reference: Statutes Wyoming