Are Dirt Bikes Street Legal?
Dirt bikes are very common, and many people choose to utilize them.
But since every bike is different, it can be difficult to tell if a dirt bike is street legal. Here are 4 considerations.
Are you interested in purchasing a dirt bike? Have you ever ridden one before? Are you looking for a new hobby? Do you want something to have a little fun with on the weekends – or are you seeking a new mode of transportation?
Whatever your reason for inquiring about dirt bikes, you have likely been seeking an answer to the very question: are dirt bikes street legal?
So, despite the difficulty, we are going to attempt to answer this question for you.
The Disclaimer: Street Legality of Dirt Bikes
Dirt bikes are made for off-road use.
In order to make them appropriate for street usage, there are often changes that need to be made.
Before we go any further, however, we would like to issue this disclaimer.
It is important to advise you that the legalities involving dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles are mandated by the U.S. government and enforcement varies greatly from state to state.
Be sure to do your research and understand all laws regarding your dirt bike and riding on the street.
The last thing you want to do is end up with fines or losing your dirt bike for failure to adhere to the law.
The Design of the Dirt Bike
Dirt bikes are designed for driving off-road. They are not built with street travel in mind.
In fact, there are many things missing that keep it from being appropriate for regular street travel.
Let’s take a look at how dirt bikes are typically designed.
It is important to remember that they are designed to run on dirt.
They are built for speed – and they are built to crash.
Although a few low-end models of dirt bikes come in steel frames, you will notice that most of them come built with aluminum frames that are much lighter than steel, allowing the rider to get to higher speeds.
The aluminum frame of the bike allows the rider to gain a bit more feedback so as to better handle the bike at any speed.
The suspension on the two axles is what allows the bike to move in the manner it does.
It can allow the bike to move up and down, rather than getting itself all twisted and damaged from the rough terrain.
Basic Additions Necessary to be Street Legal
Before you can take your dirt bike out on the road, there are a few basic additions that you need to add.
While these may seem minor, they make a big difference for those looking to get on the street – legally.
To begin the conversion process, consider the following list:
Headlights: Headlights are necessary not only to be seen but to see. If you intend to travel on a roadway, you will need a headlight. This is required in all 50 states.
Tail/brake lights: Just as headlights are needed for safety and to be seen by other drivers, so are tail lights and brake lights. Again, these are required in all 50 states.
Turn signals: Turn signals are a way of letting those around you know what you – as a driver – are intending to do. Turn signals are not required by all states.
Mirrors: Whether turning, changing lines, or just keeping an eye on what is around you, mirrors can come in handy. Whether you need one mirror, two mirrors, or no mirror at all depends greatly on the state where you reside.
Horn: Cars may not see you driving your dirt bike, requiring you to make yourself known to the automobiles around you. You do this with a horn. If you don’t have one, you have no business driving on the street. This is a requirement of all 50 states.
Speedometer: A speedometer can make sure you are adhering properly to all posted speed limit signs. You don’t have to have one in every state, so be sure to check your laws before you head out on the street.
You will most definitely want to change the tires that are on your dirt bike.
In order to be completely street legal, you need tires that are approved and certified by the Department of Transportation.
These tires will allow you to safely travel on highways without any concern.
This is a basic requirement and should not be overlooked.
All-Inclusive Conversion Kits
There are so many things necessary for turning dirt bikes into street-legal machines.
You could order each part separately and diligently work to get the bike changed over. Or, you could check into conversion kits.
You will find that, depending on which one you choose, these conversion kits have everything you need to turn your dirt bike into a street-legal machine.
Rather than doing each part on its own, the kit tends to be a more affordable, simpler way to make the switch.
When making the decision to transform your dirt bike, you may want to consider the safety factor.
Dirt bikes are built for speed. Placing them on the roadway puts you in a position to go super-fast on a flat surface.
This can only lead to faster speeds.
In addition, if you do not fully convert your dirt bike, you may be missing some important safety tools.
You need to be aware of everything around you while driving and you want those near you to be able to see you and acknowledge you.
Without things such as mirrors or turn signals, you may put yourself in a risky and unsafe position.
Well, there you have it – the answer to your question, are dirt bikes street legal?
No. They are not.
They come ready to get down in the dirt. But, yes, they can be converted into a street bike.
Are you ready to have some street fun with your dirt bike?
Whether you are looking to use it for commuting or as a means of something fun to drive, take care to do all the necessary upgrades.
This will not only keep you from finding yourself in an unsafe situation but will also keep you out of trouble with law enforcement.