Can You Ride A Dirt Bike On The Road?


can you ride a dirt bike on the road

Many of your friends and you ride your dirt bikes on the off roads and wish to ride them on the road. Right? But, you even don’t know exactly if you can ride a dirt bike on the road. 

Dirt bikes are made for off-road riding, but a rider can also ride them legally on the public road. For riding a dirt bike on the road, riders need to fulfill a few conditions and requirements. Riders require a license, insurance, and DOT’s approved tires, headlight, horns, turn signals, brake lights, and a few other pieces of equipment to ride a dirt bike on the road. 

This article will break down everything you should need to know when you want to ride your dirt bike on the road. As an experienced dirt bike rider and researcher of their laws, I will inform you how to make your dirt bike street legal for riding it on the roads, the 10 best street legal dirt bikes for 2021, and some other points that are related to this topic.

So, consider reading this article from top to bottom. Let’s start the discussion step by step:

How To Make Your Dirt Bike Street Legal For Riding On The Road? 

You can ride your dirt bike on the roads by making it street legal. For doing that, you need to update various pieces of equipment to your dirt bike. Though the requirements vary from state to state, still the main functions are almost the same.

You also need to use those pieces of equipment that are approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Below I list such pieces of equipment that you need to update for riding your dirt bike on the roads:

1. Tires:

Tires update is the most important job that you must do if you want to ride your dirt bike on the roads. Generally, dirt bikes come with those tires which are made for off-road riding. You can’t use them on-roads because of safety reasons.

Most of the dirt bike tires don’t get approval from the DOT. You need to select such tires for your dirt bikes that are eligible to get DOT approval. You need to spend a huge amount of money to update your dirt bike tires. 

2. Headlight: 

In almost every state, you require a functional headlight to make your dirt bike street legal. The headlight should be approved by the DOT. DOT approval helps get street legal acceptance in a short period.

The functional headlight also has some features that improve the safety quality of your dirt bikes. Such switching between low and high beam allows the rider to switch the beam according to the necessity. This switching feature ensures the visibility of your dirt bikes to the others on a dark highway. It also provides an excellent vision to the riders while riding.

The headlight type requirement varies from state to state. So, it is wise to see your current state laws to know what types of headlight you require to make your dirt bike street legal.

3. Turn Signals:

The installation requirements of turn signals also vary from state to state. In some states, turn signals are mandatory, while other states keep it still optional. You must install such types of turn signals which get approved by the DOT.

From my experience, I recommend every dirt bike rider installs turn indicators because it is very helpful to notify others while you are taking the side turn. 

4. Side-View Mirrors:

Side-view mirrors are also known as rear-view mirrors. They are essential pieces of equipment that you must require to make your dirt bike street legal. However, the number of side-view mirrors requirement varies from state to state. 

Some states ask for double side-view mirrors, while other states are ok with single side-view mirrors for allowing dirt bikes on the roads. You need to check first the requirement of your state for side-view mirrors.

I always recommend dirt bike riders to purchase double side-view mirrors because it is more effective to provide the best view during riding. But you can still get along with the single side-view mirrors if your state allows it.

5. Horns:

Horns are one of the mandatory equipment that you must add to your dirt bikes to make it street legal according to every state’s laws. There are two types of horns available in the market. One is electric, and the other is a manual model.

Some states specifically mention that they won’t allow your dirt bikes on the roads without electric model horns. This is because electric horns are louder than manual horns. So, it is ideal to go for electric horns. They won’t cost you too much. 

6. License Plate Bracket Or Mount:

After completing the registration process for your dirt bike, you will get a title and license plate. You need to make sure that your license plate is visible to all. The mount or bracket helps to make the license plate visible properly. 

The displaying of license plate procedures also varies from state to state. The state DMV office can help you by informing the legal guidelines of displaying dirt bikes’ license plates while riding them on roads. So, don’t forget to install a dirt bike license plate bracket or mount to make it street legal.

7. Tail And Brake Lights:

Tail and brake lights are other accessories that you must require to make your dirt bike street legal in almost every state. Tail and brake lights are very handy for avoiding dirt bike accidents while riding on a busy road.

The tail and brake lights batteries need to be capable of energizing for at least 20 minutes. You can also use led lights instead of tail and brake lights because they are more energy savers. 

8. Speedometer Or Tachometer:

In most states, the installation of a speedometer or tachometer is optional for a dirt bike to make it street legal. But for your safety issues, I always encourage you to install a speedometer or tachometer in your dirt bikes.

A speedometer or tachometer is always showing you the actual speed of your dirt bike during riding. With the help of it, you can also control the speed of your dirt bikes easily while riding them on busy roads or highways. 

One more thing I want to tell you is that the installation process of a speedometer or tachometer is very easy, and some of them also provide you a few additional features such as a compass or GPS.

9. Gearing:

Gears aren’t mandatory to make your dirt bike street legal. But it’s wise to update the gear of your dirt bikes while riding them on the roads. Usually, the typical dirt bike gears can’t provide too much speed that you require in road riding.

10. Exhaust:

You also require to install an EPA-certified exhaust for riding it on the roads. Every state requires such exhaust, which doesn’t create much smoke. So, you should install a good quality exhaust for making your dirt bike street legal.

11. Kickstand:

Installation of the kickstand to your dirt bike is optional for the riders. But when you want to ride your dirt bike on public roads or highways, you should consider it. 

In the United States, you can make your dirt bike street legal and eligible for riding it on the roads by adding or updating those pieces of equipment. 

How Much Does It Cost To Update Your Old Dirt Bike For Making It Street Legal?

Here I give you an approximate cost that you need to spend to update your old dirt bike for making it street legal: 

  • Tires: Good quality DOT-approved tires cost around $70.
  • Headlight: DOT-approved high and low beam headlight cost around $30.
  • Turn Signals:  You can easily find good quality turn signals at around $20.
  • Side-View Mirrors: You need to spend around $15 to get a double side-view mirror for your dirt bikes.
  • Horns: You can find horns for your dirt bike under the $5.
  • License Plate Bracket Or Mount: It will cost around $10.
  • Tail And Brake Lights: Around $50 is enough to purchase a good quality tail and brake lights.
  • Speedometer Or Tachometer: You can find a speedometer or tachometer for your dirt bike around the $15
  • Gearing: You can easily find good quality gearing at around $20.
  • Exhaust: It will cost around $20.
  • Kickstand: It will cost around $5.

The updated cost of your dirt bike’s pieces of equipment varies from quality to quality and brand to brand. According to my provided price range, you should spend $260. But it is possible to get your job done for under $200.

What If I Cannot Install Several Appliances On My Dirt Bike? 

In this situation, I highly recommend you buy a street-legal dirt bike instead of taking extra hassles with your old one. 

10 Best Street Legal Dirt Bikes For 2021 That You Can Ride On The Road:

Sometimes a person can’t update or install several functions of his/ her dirt bikes to make them street-legal and eligible for on-road riding. The installations and updations process cost a massive amount of money too.

But you will be pleased to hear that nowadays many renowned brands manufacture those types of dirt bikes which are street legal. So, you don’t need to make any installations and updations to the equipment of those dirt bikes. You can legally ride them on the roads without facing any disturbances. 

After deep research, I found the 10 best street legal dirt bikes for 2021. Here, I present them in a table with a short description:

Street Legal Dirt Bikes Name & Model Engine TypeMaximum Ground ClearanceTransmissionWet WeightSeat HeightPurchasing Link
2021 Husqvarna TE 150i143.99 cm, Two-stroke engine,Single Cylinder.360 mm / 14.2 inches 6 Gears108 kg/ 238 lb950 mm/ 37.4 incheshttps://www.husqvarna-motorcycles.com/en-int/models/enduro/2-stroke/te-150i-2021.html
2021 Honda XR650L 644cc, dry-sump, four-stroke,air-cooled, single-cylinder.  330 mm/ 13 inches    5-Speed156 kg /346 lb 935 mm / 37.0 inches https://www.cycletrader.com/2021-Honda-Xr-650l/motorcycles-for-sale?make=HONDA%7C2316874&model=XR%7C764948842&trim=650L%7C4022&year=2021%3A2021
2021 Yamaha Tenere 700689cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 8 valves.9.4 inches6-Speed 205 kg / 452 lbs34.4 incheshttps://motohunt.com/motorcycles-for-sale/2021-Yamaha-T-n-r-700
2021 Honda CRF 250 Rally249cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder.327 mm / 12.9 inches5-Speed107.5 kg/ 237 lb  960 mm/ 37.8 inches https://www.cycletrader.com/Honda-Crf-250l-Rally/motorcycles-for-sale?make=HONDA%7C2316874&model=CRF%7C764948699&trim=250L%20RALLY%7C45100
2021 BETA RR-S Line Dirt BikesFrom 349.1 cc to 477.5 ccs, liquid-cooled,Single cylinder, 4-stroke.320 mm/ 12.6 inches 6-Gears119 kg / 262 lb939 mm / 37 incheshttps://betausa.com/2021-models/
2021 KTM 690 Enduro R690cc, Single-Cylinder, SOHC, 4-Stroke.270 mm / 10.6 inches6 Gears159 kg / 352 lb910 mm / 35.8 incheshttps://www.cycletrader.com/2021-KTM-690/motorcycles-for-sale?make=KTM%7C2319322&model=690%7C764949678&year=2021%3A2021
2021 Yamaha WR250R250cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 4 valves.  320 mm / 12.6 inches6-Speed115 kg/ 254 lb  955 mm  / 37.6 incheshttps://www.rivamm.com/New-Inventory-2021-Yamaha-Motorcycle-Scooter-WR250R-Florida-Keys-7984404
2021 Beta 500 RR-S477.5 cc, Single cylinder, liquid cooled, 4-stroke.320 mm / 12.6 inches6-Gears119 kg /  262 lb  939 mm / 37 incheshttps://betausa.com/2021-500-rr-s/
2021 KTM 890 Adventure R rally889 cm, Liquid cooled with oil/water heat exchanger, parallel twin,2-cylinder, 4-stroke.303 mm / 12 inches6-Speed216 kg /476 lb  910 mm / 35.8 inches  https://motohunt.com/motorcycles-for-sale/KTM-890-Adventure-R-Rally
2021 Husqvarna FE 350s 349.7 cm,x4-stroke engine, 1-cylinder.360 mm / 14.1 inches6-Speed119 kg/ 262 lb  950 mm /37.4 inches https://www.cycletrader.com/listing/2021-Husqvarna-FE-350s-5013208835

Do You Need To Register Your Dirt Bike For Riding It On The Road?

For off-road riding, you don’t need to register your dirt bike mandatorily. But for riding it on public roads, streets, or highways, you must complete the registration and fulfill some specific requirements.

The registration process and the specific requirements of a dirt bike mainly depend on the local state laws. So, know everything in detail from the local DMV office about it.

Do You Need A License For Riding A Dirt Bike On The Road?

According to the law, it is clear that you mandatorily need a license from the operators while you are riding it on public roads, highways, or streets. The license requirements are optional for off-roads such as private property, neighborhoods, motocross tracks, state trails, etc. You can legally ride your dirt bikes on those off-roads without any license. 

Though the different states have different laws for the dirt bikes, I can confirm that every state law agrees on this particular point. So, you must have a license for legally riding your dirt bike on the road. To get a dirt bike license, you need to spend around $210-$233.

Is Insurance Mandatory For Riding A Dirt Bike On The Road?

For off-road riding, you don’t need to insure your dirt bikes. It’s totally optional. But when you want to ride your dirt bikes on public roads, most states demand insurance for giving the riding permission.

In road riding, you will face many types of challenges. That’s why you should do insurance for your dirt bikes. It will provide you with financial aid during an emergency. One thing I should mention here is that many people think dirt bike insurance is the same as motorcycle insurance. This is completely wrong. 

Nowadays, there are different types of dirt bike insurance policies available at affordable premiums. So, it is easy for a rider to choose the perfect dirt bike insurance policy for him/her. To know more about the dirt bike insurance policy in detail, you can read my previous article, where I discuss everything briefly that is related to the title.

What Will Happen If You Caught By Police While Riding A Dirt Bike On The Road?

The answer to this question varies. If the police catch you without proper documents such as registration, license papers, and your dirt bike doesn’t have the capable equipment that you must require for riding on the road, you are in serious trouble. Police will file a case against you. You can go to jail or face money punishment for violating the laws by your such activity.

But the story is totally different if your dirt bike has proper documents and DOT’s approved horns, tires, side-view mirrors, turn signals, and other pieces of equipment. Police will just check all of these things properly and then let you go. Don’t try to run away or don’t misbehave with the police because you will regret later. 

Last Few Words:

I hope, I’ve been able to make it clear that you can ride your dirt bike on the road by fulfilling a few laws’ conditions and requirements. You already understand that the rules and requirements of making a dirt bike street legal for riding it on the road vary from state to state. You should keep in touch with the local DMV office to get the updated information about that.

It’s your turn to share any of the experiences you face while riding a dirt bike on the road by commenting below. I will be grateful to you if you suggest some dirt bike-related topics that you want to know in the future, I will write articles on that to inform you. Have a happy dirt bike riding experience!

Md. Saifur Rahman

Hey guys, This is Md Saifur, mdsaifurrahman.com I have been riding dirt bikes, motorcycles, ATVs since childhood. Recently, I have built this blog so that I can share my riding experience with you. So be with me.

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