SUN CITY WEST, AZ — With 18-inch wheels, two seats, and a top speed that barely hits 25 miles an hour, a golf cart is Mark Marsala’s primary way to get around his community of Sun City West.
Especially, now with gas prices as steep as they are.
”We commute everywhere, we got to all the stores, all the restaurants, Walgreens, whatever we need,” Marsala said.
It’s not uncommon to share Sun City West roads with golf carts.
There are designated parking spots for them near the front entrance of the grocery store and some rides are more luxurious than others with touch screen displays for radio, speed, and Bluetooth features.
Like any vehicle on Arizona roads, there are things golf cart drivers need to do to make them street legal.
Susan Polizzi says she uses her cart mostly for golf but to get to the course, she’ll take public roads.
For it to be street legal, the cart has to have working taillights, brakes, brake lights and a horn.
It also needs a complete title application form to be registered, a valid driver’s license to take them on public roads in low-speed areas, and you still need proof of insurance.
“I wouldn’t feel as comfortable driving on the main roads, so I usually do backroads,” said Polizzi.
Thirty-five miles per hour is as fast as Arizona state law will allow you to go in a golf cart. For Sun City West, you’ll notice most of the speed limits are at just that - 35 miles an hour.
For other vehicles that can exceed that speed like dirt bikes, four-by-fours, or ATVs, the Arizona Department of Transportation requires vehicle operators to get them registered. That’s the start to knowing if your vehicle, other than a car, is street legal.
“When you come to the Motor Vehicle Division to file the application, to have an off-road vehicle, a non-traditional vehicle, it will be very clear to just about anybody, exactly what you should and should not do because you’re making a declaration of what you should and should not do.
It should be obvious what these are for, and common sense will tell you, you don’t want to take a vehicle that doesn’t have brake light and headlights that’s clearly not a wise thing to do,” said Doug Nick of ADOT.