Policy Number: 850

Policy Suffix:

I. General Policy

The purpose of this policy is to improve campus safety for members of the Rice community, to reduce accidents, to minimize destruction of property, and to ensure efficient use of carts. This policy promulgates safe golf cart driving practices by prescribing requirements for driver qualifications and training, and operation and maintenance of carts.

This policy applies to all faculty, staff, students, tenants, and contractors working on behalf of Rice University.

II. Roles and Responsibilities

Facilities Engineering and Planning (FE&P) is responsible for the registration process, the annual maintenance of all carts, inspection and certification, and installation and maintenance of charging stations on campus.

Rice University Police Department (RUPD) is responsible for training, testing, and keeping records for all authorized users.

Parking & Transportation is responsible for operating a loaner pool of golf carts.

Departments are responsible for certifying to FE&P that use of a golf cart fulfills a legitimate Rice business purpose, for registering carts with FE&P, and for checking that cart drivers have taken the RUPD training. Departments bear all costs for purchase and maintenance of carts, including the installation of charging stations when necessary.

III. Definitions

Golf carts or cart-type vehicles are motor vehicles that:

  1. Have an attainable speed of 15 mph, regulated to not exceed 20 mph for non-emergency response carts, and no more than 25 mph for carts serving emergency response functions.
  2. Must have the following minimum equipment: headlamps, tail lamps, reflectors, parking brake, mirrors, and a slow-moving vehicle emblem posted in the back.

IV. Elaboration of Policy

  1. Authorized Use. Golf carts may only be used for the following purposes:
  1. Business uses authorized by the University as necessary for department function or task.
  2. Transport for persons with temporary or permanent disabilities.
  1. Prohibited Use. The use of a golf cart for personal transportation or use is prohibited. The exception is disability-related needs, in coordination with Disability Resource Center.
  2. Minimum Driver Qualifications. To be eligible to drive a golf cart on the Rice campus, students, faculty, staff and contractors must meet the following minimum requirements:
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Possess a valid U.S. driver’s license.
  • Successful completion of golf cart safety training.
  1. Operation. All golf Cart operators shall abide by the following safety rules. Any violation of these safety rules may result in a citation, loss of golf cart privileges, or other disciplinary actions.
  1. General Operation: golf carts shall not be operated in a manner that endangers passengers, other individuals or damage property (including the golf cart).
  2. Pedestrian/Cyclist Right-of-Way: Pedestrians and cyclists have the right-of-way at all times and under all circumstances.
  3. Speed Limits: On campus streets, golf carts shall not exceed posted speed limits for motorized vehicles. In all other areas, golf cart operators must reduce speed to the equivalent of a slow walking pace.
  4. Passenger Limit and Load Capacity: Occupancy shall not exceed the passenger limit and load capacity designated by the golf cart’s manufacturer.
  5. Cell Phones/Headphones: golf cart operators are prohibited from using cell phones while operating a golf cart, including writing, reading or sending text-based communications. Additionally, golf cart operators are prohibited from using headphones while driving.
  6. Audible Warning Device: With the exception of RUPD, all golf carts must be equipped with an audible warning device that will sound at all times while the golf cart is in reverse motion.
  7. Smoking: Smoking is prohibited while operating a golf cart.
  8. Rice golf carts must be operated on Rice University approved areas and roads only. The use of golf carts on public roads is prohibited. Refer to the Rice Golf Cart Map for approved operating areas.
  1. Parking & Charging. Golf carts should only be parked in designated cart or service parking areas. Carts should generally not be parked in the following places:
  1. Unpaved surfaces, such as landscaping or gravel pathways.
  2. Areas blocking entrances, stairways, or disability ramps.
  1. Accident / Incident Reporting. It is the responsibility of all drivers to report all accidents and/or incidents that involve Rice vehicles regardless of damage. Accidents and/or incidents that occur on Rice property will be reported immediately to Rice University Police Department by calling 713-348-6000. Should an accident and/or incident occur:
  1. Call or have someone call the appropriate police department and give all pertinent information, but do not leave the scene or move the vehicle until given permission by a police officer.
  2. Obtain the names of witnesses, insurance information, and other pertinent facts and forward those to Risk Management as soon as possible.
  3. Report the accident to your supervisor as soon as possible.
  1. Purchase, Registration, and Inspection of Carts. Prior to purchasing any cart, FE&P should be consulted about specific needs and alternatives (including using loaner carts). As much as possible, golf carts should be shared from a pool and not purchased by departments. All Rice University golf carts must be registered with FE&P within seven days of purchase, and must be inspected by FE&P annually. Any necessary maintenance or repairs identified during inspection should generally be performed by FE&P at the expense of the cart owner.

V. Cross References to Related Policies

809. Control of Equipment and Other Property

814. Procurement Policy

VI. Responsible Official and Key Offices

Responsible Official: Executive Vice President for Operations, Finance, & Support

Other Key Offices: Facilities, Engineering & Planning; Rice University Police Department; Parking & Transportation

VII. Procedures and Forms

  1. Safety Training. Before using a golf cart at Rice, an eligible person must complete the Golf Cart Safety Training. Successful completion of the training requires obtaining a passing score on the golf cart Safety online quiz.
  2. Golf Cart Operator Certification document.


David W. Leebron, President

Policy History


December 9, 2019

Clerical Changes

January 19, 2023

August 15, 2023

March 4, 2024