Rhode Island Golf Cart & Low Speed Vehicle Laws

Last updated on August 30th, 2017

PLEASE NOTE: Golf Cart Laws may vary from City to City, so please be sure to check with your local municipality in regards to the laws in your area. We are in the process of gathering laws by municipality for you, however, this is a huge undertaking and does take time. Thank you.

This is an in-depth guide to Rhode Island Golf Cart & Low-Speed Vehicle Laws. We’ve created this guide to help you, the consumer, in determining Rhode Island’s laws.

Is this state Medium Speed Vehicle friendly? No State Law is Currently in Place.

Is License and Registration a Requirement? For LSVs, yes. Liability Insurance is also required. Golf Carts cannot be registered and are not allowed on public roadways. Please read more below.

General Federal Law for Golf Carts:

Under current NHTSA interpretations and regulations, so long as golf cars and other similar vehicles are incapable of exceeding 20 miles per hour, they are subject to only state and local requirements regarding safety equipment. However, if these vehicles are originally manufactured so that they can go faster than 20 miles per hour, they are treated as motor vehicles under Federal law.

The standard requires low-speed vehicles to be equipped with headlamps, stop lamps, turn signal lamps, taillamps, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields, seat belts, and vehicle identification numbers.

Find out more information on federal laws pertaining to golf carts and low speed vehicles here.


Rhode Island Golf Cart & Low Speed Vehicle Laws

Guidelines for Golf Carts and PTVs (Personal Transportation Vehicles)

Rhode Island is vague with their laws pertaining to Golf Carts on public roadways. It seems to be that they are not legal to drive on public roadways as seen HERE. 


Guidelines for LSV (Low Speed Vehicle)

Individual counties have various laws for Low Speed Vehicles. I.e on Prudence Island you can only operate a low speed vehicle between 6:00am and 6:00pm and the following companies/people are allowed to operate LSVs on public roadways in the city of Providence:

    • The Omni Group
    • Providence Downtown Improvement District
    • Rhode Island Convention Center Authority
    • Providence Neighborhood Planting Program
    • the Dunkin’ Donuts Center
    • or any other organization approved by the chief of police

Please reach out to your local municipality for certain restrictions pertaining to these vehicles in your area.

Below is a general overview of Low Speed Vehicles in Rhode Island:

  • Has four wheels.
  • Can reach speeds of not more than 25 mph on a paved level surface.
  • Has a 17-digit conforming vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of less than 3,000 pounds.
  • Not be operated on any roadway with a speed limit above 25 mph.
  • Cross at intersections that have a speed limit above 35 mph, if the crossing begins and ends on a road of 35 mph or less.

LSVs may look like a golf-cart to the casual observer, but is actually a motor vehicle requiring a valid driver license, registration, and insurance.



City of Providence


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Although each of these state guides gives a thorough approach to the golf cart laws in your state, it is recommended that you perform the research on your own and reach out to your local municipality.

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