Ask Us: What are current golf cart laws in Rowan County?

Published 7:35 pm Monday, September 12, 2022

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to

The Post received a question about the current golf cart laws in the County after seeing a frequent number riding around Landis. It varies from town to town, but some municipalities have similar ordinances for the low-speed vehicles.

Salisbury currently does not allow travel by golf carts as the city follows state ordinances concerning the recreational vehicle. The only time it can be used within the city is to cross roads. Low-speed vehicles are not the same as golf carts because low-speed vehicles are registered under the Division of Motor Vehicles.

The passing of a golf cart ordinance was tabled at Salisbury City Council meeting in July 2021 but was tabled due to lack of enforcement and risks.

Southern Rowan County towns including China Grove and Landis have made driving golf carts legal, even in between towns which had been determined by China Grove in 2016. The city’s code of ordinance states in section 58-170 that golf carts and low-speed vehicles are “motorized pleasure vehicles that do not exceed 28 miles per hour on a strait and level surface.”

Those who plan to travel by golf cart are to have liability insurance that can be provided to the China Grove Police Department when applying for a permit to operate. That same proof must be carried by the operator of the vehicle at all times when driving the golf cart. Additionally, the driver must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license, however the police chief may issue a permit at his discretion to an individual over the age of 21 who does not hold a valid driver’s license.

Permits cost $50 to issue which will lower to $10 a year for renewal.

In Granite Quarry, golf carts are allowed to drive on roads 35 miles per hour or lower. However, a golf cart may cross a road with a speed limit greater than 35, but after doing so must travel only along a road at 35 or less. Operators must have liability insurance, be 16 years or older with a valid driver’s license and must carry it at all times.

A notable rule to the ordinance is that golf carts are prohibited to be driven at speeds over 20 miles per hour.

The Town of Rockwell also requires liability insurance that can be presented to the Rockwell Police Department. Additionally, a rearview mirror that is capable of 200 feet of clear sight must be in place on every cart.

Drivers are only to operate on U.S. Highway 52 and N.C. Highway 152 within the town’s jurisdiction when it is necessary to access a specific road, business or resident but continuous travel is prohibited. All passengers and children must also be properly secured when riding on a golf cart.

A permit must also be acquired to operate a golf cart, which can be issued by the Rockwell Police Department for $50. Annual renewal is $25 after. Each applicant must hold a valid driver’s license.

Cleveland also allows golf carts under certain conditions. The operator of the vehicle must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license and must have it on them at all times. Headlights and taillights also need to be on at all times when driving in the town. Golf carts also required to have a rearview mirror of 400 feet.

All passengers and children are to be secured and properly seated and must not be transported in a negligent manner and cannot be driven on sidewalks or park paths unless the Cleveland Police chief says otherwise.

Liability insurance is also required in addition to an issued permit of $50. Annual renewal every year after is $40.

Golf carts can drive in Cleveland on roads that do not exceed 35 miles per hour. It is also prohibited to drive on U.S. 70 and Statesville Boulevard unless the car is to crossover at the intersection of Bear Poplar Road, Amity Hill or School Street.

The Town of East Spencer states in its ordinance that golf carts are not designed or manufactured to be used on public streets, continuing to say that “the town in no way advocates or endorses their operation on streets.”

Golf carts in Spencer can only be driven on streets within the town’s limits that are under 35 miles per hour as long as the driver is at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license, much like other municipalities. The vehicle cannot be driven on Salisbury Avenue unless the cart is crossing it. Other endeavors along the street must be approved by the Spencer’s chief of police.

The maximum capacity of each golf cart is to be one person per bucket seat or two people per bench seat. Golf carts cannot be driven on sidewalks or walking trails of the Stanback Forest. The vehicle must not exceed speeds greater than 20 miles per hour.

Golf carts in Spencer must be registered at the Spencer Police Department where operators will be given a permit sticker. There is no fee to issue or maintain. For a replacement decal, it costs $5.

All of the municipalities also have stated that drivers are to “adhere to all State of North Carolina traffic laws and all laws governing the use of, or the possession of, alcoholic beverages and controlled substances.” The maximum capacity of any golf cart cannot exceed the manufacturer’s design.

As of present day, Kannapolis and East Spencer do not have ordinances to allow golf carts.