News Room

Sharing the road with golf carts and mopeds

COLUMBIA, S.C. – February 27, 2013 – Golf cart drivers and moped riders are sharing the roads more often in South Carolina. However, both of these transportation alternatives have unique safety, insurance, and registration concerns that owners and operators should consider.

The use of golf carts continues to grow all over South Carolina. In fact, some communities, especially along the coast, encourage the use of golf carts over cars. Under certain circumstances, South Carolina law allows a golf cart to be driven on a secondary highway or street within two miles of the owner’s residence during daylight hours. Recently, there has been some legislative interest in changing the current regulations.

According to Insurance Journal, each year about 13,000 golf cart-related accidents require emergency room visits, and 40 percent of those involve children under the age of 15.

The South Carolina Insurance News Service encourages you to follow these guidelines to help practice safe and legal operation.

For your safety:
• Pay attention. Be alert for other vehicles and yield the right-of-way to pedestrians.
• Make sure everyone remains seated while the cart is being operated.
• Inspect your cart, making sure lights, brakes, turn signals and horn work. Check tires.
• Never drink and drive.
Registration requirements:
• If a golf cart is to be driven on public property, the owner must secure a permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles and provide proof of insurance.
• Permits must be carried when the golf cart is operated and the DMV verifies insurance coverage against a list of approved companies.
• Each owner must be a licensed driver, and the golf cart may be driven by the owners only.
• South Carolina law prohibits any unlicensed driver or child to drive a golf cart.

Check with your insurance company to determine how they provide coverage for golf carts driven off private property. Each company is different. Some may include coverage under a homeowner’s policy or through an endorsement, while others provide liability and collision coverage through an auto policy, recreational vehicle policy, or a special lines policy. Check to see whether the policy covers liability for damage to others’ property and/or coverage for physical damage to the cart.

South Carolina law defines a moped as a cycle with a motor of not more than 50 cubic centimeters, with maximum speed capability of 30 mph, with two brake horsepower or less, and a power drive system that functions without clutching or shifting after the engine is engaged. Under South Carolina law, mopeds may be driven on public highways and streets, but not on interstate highways.

Insurance is not required for a moped operator, but it is encouraged. Generally, many insurance companies treat coverage like a motorcycle insurance policy, but contact your insurance company to find out what coverage is offered.

Here are some safety tips and facts concerning mopeds:
• The state-mandated speed limit is 25 mph.
• Required equipment includes at least one rearview mirror, operable running lights and brake lights that activate when either brake is used.
• Driver and passenger must ride on permanent regular seats.
• Operating lights must be turned on at all times.
• The moped must be clearly labeled as such.
• A moped rider should always be alert, paying attention to other vehicles and possible hazards on the road. Remember that a car or truck driver may not see you.
• Operators must be at least 14 and have a valid driver’s license, motorcycle license or moped operator’s license; those younger than 21 must wear a helmet. A person is eligible for a moped operator’s license without regard to the status of any other driver’s license or permit.

For more information from the S.C. Insurance News Service, or to schedule an interview, call (803)252-3455.

For over 35 years, the South Carolina Insurance News Service has been providing free insurance information to consumers and the media about property and casualty insurance issues.

For more information, contact the South Carolina Insurance News Service at 803-252-3455 or use our contact form.