First thing’s first…if you came here to ask “is a Go Kart Street legal“, the answer is NO!
To make your go kart street legal it needs to abide by all the general automotive requirements across all 50 US states and the provinces of Canada. You must check your own state or provincial laws to make sure your kart is legal. MOST GO KARTS WILL NOT BE STREET LEGAL!
If you are looking to take on the task make sure your vehicle meets the following criteria.
10 Requirements for a Street Legal Go Kart
- Abides by all US state or Canadain Provincial laws and regulations
- Auto insurance coverage
- Side view and rear view mirrors
- A windshield and windshield wipers
- Seat belts
- A horn
- Braking system which meets automtive standards
- Speedometer and odometer
- A State issued licence plate
- Head lights, tail lights, and blinkers
Odds are your average kart will never meet any of these standards without a massive overhaul or fresh setup. I didn’t even mention bump heights, safety test, and emissions certifications. But lets say you were still curious about converting that ol’buggy or go Kart of yours into street legal machine….how would you do it?
Well for starters I have never done this before, but here would be my approach…
How to Make a Go Kart Street Legal
Install All Required Parts
First I would add the required safety gear safety gear that you would have on a normal car. I would Install a windshield, tail lights, headlights, turn signals, safety belts, brakes (including a parking brake), rear and side view mirrors, a license plate, a speedometer, and an odometer.
Then thoroughly check everything to make sure its safe and secured to the vehicle.
Speed Test at a DMV
Once all of the modification was complete I would move on to speed testing my kart. In order to be considered safe it must meet certain speed requirements to be drivable on the road. To speed test your go kart you can call your local Department of Motor Vehicles to complete a speed test and have your go kart verified.
An Officer of the Law Must Inspect it First
Before a DMV official allows you to take a speed test he will have a police officer check your vehicle for proper installation and safety equipment. If you pass the initial inspection than the DMV official will perform the speed test with you.
NOTE: Do not drive your Go Kart to the DMV, you will get a ticket and it will be impounded.
How to Pass the Speed Test
You should first fill the gas tank before taking your test to ensure your engine runs smoothly. If your go kart goes faster than 25 miles per hour as its top speed, it will fail. If it does not exceed 25 mph and the go kart meets the required safety standards the DMV inspector will deem street legal. Congratz!
Ready to Take Your Kart on the Road
Now that you have passed there are a few more legal requirements to meet. First you have to place a reflective triangle piece on the back of your go kart. This tells other drivers that you are operating a slow speed vehicle (you’ve probably seen these triangles on the back of tractors). Next you have to get automotive insurance for your kart. Lastly you will need the DMV to issue license plates which you will need to mount according to your states requirements.
Some states or provinces will also require you to meet certain emissions standards and you will need to pass a state required inspection before your plates are issued. These laws vary from state to state.