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The small, compact build of golf carts has made them popular outside of golf courses. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to find carts flying down the streets in residential areas.

But what are the rules of the road around small cars? Sacramento Bee reader Beverley Penzien wanted to know, so she asked The Bee’s service journalism team:

“What does California law say about operating golf carts on public roads?”

Here’s what we found.

What is considered an off-highway vehicle?

Golf cars are considered off-highway motor vehicles, along with other recreational motor choices.

These are considered off-highway motor vehicles in California, according to the City of Sacramento website:

  • Golf carts
  • Snowmobiles
  • Go-carts
  • Jeeps
  • ATVs
  • Dirt bikes
  • Seven rails
  • Recreational utilities

What are the rules for off-highway vehicles in California?

The state requires that most off-highway vehicles operated on public lands be street-licensed or registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles, according to the California State Parks website.

However, there are some exceptions. The following vehicles are exempt from OHV registration but must display a proper ID or placard, according to the DMV website.

  • Golf carts
  • Special mobile / construction equipment
  • OHVs owned by exempt agencies
  • Forklifts
  • Self-propelled wheelchairs
  • Certain racing motorcycles
  • Motorized bicycles

A driver’s license is not required to operate a vehicle off-highway, but if a person has their license suspended or revoked, they must refrain from driving an OHV on or off the highway in California, according to the State Parks website .

Driving under the influence is also prohibited when operating an OHV.

How to register off-highway vehicle

OHVs that require state registration must obtain a green or red sticker from the DMV, one of which is equivalent to motorcycle registration.

Green stickers are issued to OHVs that meet the California Air Resources Board’s emissions standards, according to the DMV website. Red stickers are reserved for motorcycles and ATVs made between 2003 and 2021 that do not meet current standards.

Vehicles with red stickers can only be operated in specific areas during certain times of the year, and OHVs with red stickers cannot be registered for use on the highway, according to the DMV. Green stickers allow vehicles free reign of public lands open to motor vehicles year-round.

Stickers are valid for two years. Registration fees are $54 per vehicle, plus an additional $2 to help fund the California Highway Patrol, according to the California State Parks website.

Applications for title or registration can be found on the DMV website.

Where can you drive an off-highway vehicle in your province?

Under California law, certain non-motorized vehicles — including golf carts — can operate on the highways if they have been issued ID plates.

Some counties have designated state parks where motorists can drive vehicles or ATVs. Below is a list of OHV driving areas of Sacramento, Placer, Yolo and El Dorado counties.

Sacramento County

Off-highway vehicles are allowed on public and private land in Sacramento County, according to the county website, as long as the motorist has a highway license or OHV identification sticker.

Drivers cannot take their OHVs off-roading throughout Sacramento County regional parks, with the exception of Prairie City SVRA in Rancho Cordova. The 836-acre park features rolling hills, flat grasslands and the remains of gold mining operations, according to the California State Parks website.

Placer County

Placer County has nearly 100 miles of OHV trails in its Foresthill OHV system, according to the US Forest Service. You will trail ride in the forest, where you will find mostly easy to moderate routes. On your ride, you’ll experience rugged mountain canyons and zoom through some Gold Rush history.

Yolo County

There are no designated off-highway vehicle areas in Yolo County, according to the county website. However, the county applied for an OHV planning grant with the California State Parks PHV and Cooperative Agreements Program in 2019 to explore the possibility of developing OHV riding areas.

El Dorado County

Elkins Flat OHV Trail System and Gold Note OHV Trail System both offer off-trail riding in El Dorado County. Together, both parks form 99 kilometers of trails that OHV riders can explore in the province. On these trails you will have scenic ridgetop views and lush forest roads.

What do you want to know about life in Sacramento? Ask our service journalism team your top-of-mind questions in the module below or email servicejournalists@sacbee.com.

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Jacqueline Pinedo is a reporter on The Bee’s service journalism team. She previously interned at the Los Angeles Times and completed her master’s degree at the University of Southern California.

#Heres #drive #vehicles #highway #golf #carts #ATVs

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