Last Updated on June 21, 2024

Navigating the adrenalined-filled world of dirt bikes can sometimes lead to a crossroads between adventure and legality.

Dirt bikes are not really meant to be taken out to the open road, but with some modifications it is possible to make a dirt bike “street legal”.

Unfortunately, the process is not very straightforward as regulations in some states are more strict than in others.

Some states allow you to register a dirt bike as street legal after installing mandatory equipment.
Some states allow you to register a dirt bike as street legal after installing mandatory equipment.

Before explaining more in-depth what the process of making a dirt bike street legal looks like, let us preface that there is one easy way to get your vehicle registered in any state, bypassing most restrictions: relying on a service like Dirt Legal, which essentially takes care of the whole process for you.

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While your backyard might seem like the ideal place for dirt bike escapades, even on private property, certain rules apply.

Noise and pollution restrictions, along with local regulations, could potentially limit your off-road fun.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with any county, city, or town rules before you start riding.

Public trails and parks present thrilling alternatives, but they often come with their own set of bike requirements.

Things like DNR/registration stickers, USFS-approved spark arrestors, and appropriate riding gear might be necessary. Local motocross tracks, if open to the public, offer adrenaline-filled experiences but require caution, especially for beginners.


Can You Ride a Dirt Bike on the Road?

The thrill of the open road may be enticing, but for standard dirt bikes, it’s typically off-limits.

These bikes lack essential features like lights, turn signals, insurance, and licensing, confining them to off-road use.

That said, with the right modifications and registration, a dirt bike can become street-legal and be driven on the road.

Necessary additions include headlights, taillights, turn signals, mirrors, and a horn.

While off-road dirt biking doesn’t require a motorcycle license, riding a dual-sport dirt bike on the road does.

This endorsement is similar to a regular driver’s license but is specifically for street-legal dirt bikes.


In many states, the answer to whether dirt bikes are legal on public streets or highways is a firm no.

That said, it is sometimes possible to modify your vehicle so it meets street legal standards and to register it with your state (or out of state if your state does not allow registration).

Street-legal dirt bikes vary, and some might require additional paperwork and alterations.


Dirt Bikes You Can Register As Street Legal

  • Dual Sport or Adventure Bikes: These versatile bikes are suitable for both roads and trails and come equipped with features like spiked tires and luggage racks.
  • Enduro Bikes: These are perfect for endurance and off-road racing, boasting premium suspension and a speedometer.
  • Trail Bikes: These strike a balance for on and off-road use, favored for features like a low seat height.
  • AG Bikes: Commonly seen in rural areas, these are designed for transporting farm goods with a focus on durability.
  • Supermoto Bikes: Derived from trail or enduro bikes, these are modified for road riding with features like smaller wheels and improved brakes.

Dirt Bikes That Cannot Be Registered

Certain types of bikes, such as motocross bikes, trials bikes, ATVs, and pit bikes, may not be allowed for registration in many states due to their aggressive appearance and behavior.

That said, there are often workarounds that allow you to register your bike out of state and bypass these regulations legally.

Understanding dirt bike laws can be a complex task, as regulations vary from place to place.

Special regulations imposed by county, town, or city administrations further complicate matters. Despite the time it might take, thorough research is adviced.

Minimum Mandatory Motorcycle Equipment Requirementss For Each State
Minimum Mandatory Motorcycle Equipment Requirementss For Each State. Source: Dirt Legal

Dirt bike laws can vary significantly from state to state in the United States. Here’s a general overview:

As a general rule dirt bikes, including those that are not dual-sport bikes, are typically not street legal.

Riding your dirt bike off-road does not usually require an operator’s license or liability insurance in nearly all states, but about half have age restrictions on riders’ ages.

Half of the states require spark arrestors (a device in the silencer/muffler that traps any possible spark) and nearly as many enforce sound restrictions.

Dirt Bike Street Legal Required Gear
Each state has different requirement for a dirt bike to be considered street legal.

Most state-run Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) riding areas require an annual pass/sticker or daily entry fee to use the trails.

If you plan to link trails with roads by riding a dual sport motorcycle, you will need a streetbike license for those paved sections between trailheads.

Below you can find a short overview of the regulations for each state. Please not these may not be 100% accurate or up-to-date.

We recommend getting using the service finder by Dirt Legal to find out whether registering is possible in your state.

Arkansas

In Arkansas, dirt bikes can be used on authorized trails and private land without an operator’s license. However, if you wish to use your dirt bike on public roads, it must be modified to meet street bike specifications.

Alaska

In Alaska, using a dirt bike on public property requires registration with the state DMV and adherence to strict equipment criteria. This ensures the safety of all road users.

Arizona

Arizona mandates the use of off-highway vehicle stickers for dirt bikes. Additionally, your dirt bike must comply with weight requirements for highway use.

Alabama

In Alabama, using a dirt bike on the street requires registration and adherence to state equipment standards. This ensures that your dirt bike is safe and legal for road use.

California

California requires dirt bikes to comply with CARB emissions rules. Dirt bikes that meet these rules are eligible for off-road use and are indicated by green stickers.

Colorado

In Colorado, you must have documentation and pass a state police bike inspection before you can use your dirt bike on the road.

Connecticut

Connecticut requires dirt bikes to have brakes, tires, and headlights to be used on public roadways. These requirements are in line with the state’s street bike requirements.

Delaware

In Delaware, motorcycles with mandated equipment are granted permission to operate on public highways. This includes dirt bikes that have been modified to meet these requirements.

Florida

Florida legislation requires dirt bikes to undergo equipment alterations for street usage. This includes the addition of headlights with switchable beams.

Georgia

In Georgia, you can register your dirt bike for street use if it is equipped with necessary accessories like headlights and brake lights.

Hawaii

In Hawaii, dirt bikes that meet state-required equipment standards are permitted to be used on public roads.

Idaho

In Idaho, legal street usage of dirt bikes requires proper registration, titling, and equipment conformity with street motorbikes.

Illinois

In Illinois, you must have a title and registration before you can use your dirt bike on public roads.

Kansas

In Kansas, public street usage of dirt bikes is dependent on city population, with smaller towns permitting dirt bike use.

Kentucky

In Kentucky, you can use your dirt bike on private property with the owner’s consent. However, public road usage requires equipment changes and registration from out of state.

Louisiana

In Louisiana, using a dirt bike on the street requires modifications to meet street-legal criteria, insurance, registration, and a title.

Maine

In Maine, registration is mandatory for dirt bikes, as they are considered all-terrain vehicles under state law.

Maryland

In Maryland, you can use your dirt bike on private property. However, street usage requires equipment modifications.

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you can only use your dirt bike if it has been modified to meet road bike standards.

Michigan

In Michigan, using a dirt bike requires an operator’s license, trail permit, and off-road title.

Minnesota

In Minnesota, licensed riders are allowed to use dirt bikes off-road. However, on-road operation requires compliance with street bike standards.

Mississippi

In Mississippi, usage of dirt bikes is restricted to private property unless they meet state standards for on-road use.

Missouri

In Missouri, off-road use of dirt bikes is allowed until modifications meet state regulations for street use.

Montana

In Montana, using a dirt bike on public roads requires equipment modifications, including horns and brakes.

Nebraska

In Nebraska, registered dirt bikes that meet street bike criteria are allowed on public roads.

Nevada

In Nevada, registered dirt bikes can be used on public roads following a safety inspection.

New York

In New York, strict rules apply, limiting dirt bike usage to private property with owner permission or those that meet street-legal criteria.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, street legality of dirt bikes demands a title and equipment adjustments conforming to road bike standards.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, off-road usage of dirt bikes mandates registration, while on-road usage is restricted to compliant motorcycles.

North Carolina

In North Carolina, dirt bikes are treated like regular motorcycles, with off-road riding exempt from licensing.

North Dakota

In North Dakota, registered dirt bikes that meet road bike criteria are permitted on the street.

New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, usage of dirt bikes is restricted to private land with owner consent unless they have been modified to meet state road bike standards.

Oregon

In Oregon, only street-legal motorbikes can ride on public roads.

Ohio

In Ohio, usage of dirt bikes on private land is restricted unless they meet state criteria for street bikes.

Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, off-road use of dirt bikes is permitted within state parks. However, on-road usage requires modifications.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, a title is required for dirt bikes, but registration is mandatory only for street bikes. Dirt bikes are limited to off-road use unless modified.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, using a dirt bike on public land or streets requires modifications to meet state road bike specifications. This ensures that your dirt bike is safe and legal for use in public areas.

South Carolina

In South Carolina, you can use your dirt bike on the street if it meets the state requirements for street motorcycles. These requirements are designed to ensure the safety of all road users.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, you can use your dirt bike on public highways if it is legally titled and registered. Additionally, you must have insurance and a license. These measures are in place to protect both you and other road users.

Tennessee

In Tennessee, the use of dirt bikes is restricted to two-lane roads unless they have been converted to meet street bike criteria. This ensures that dirt bikes used on public roads are safe and comply with state regulations.

Texas

In Texas, using a dirt bike on the street requires compliance with state regulations. These regulations are designed to ensure the safety of all road users and to maintain the integrity of public roads.

Utah

In Utah, every off-highway vehicle, including dirt bikes, must be registered. Off-highway vehicles that are 1988 or newer must also be titled. A helmet is mandatory on public land for riders under the age of 18.

Vermont

In Vermont, a rider gets permission to ride his/her dirt bike or other off-road vehicles under certain conditions. These conditions include if too much snow makes it impossible to ride other motor vehicles on the roads, if the highway or road is designated for off-road vehicles riding, and to cross.

Virginia

In Virginia, using a dirt bike on the street requires modifications to meet street-legal criteria, insurance, registration, and a title. All minors (anyone under the age of 18) must wear protective headgear.

Washington

In Washington, a person may operate an off-road motorcycle upon a public road, street, or highway of this state if the person files a motorcycle highway use declaration, as provided under RCW 46.16A.435, with the department certifying conformance with all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards and state standards.

West Virginia

In West Virginia, dirt bikes can be made street-legal, allowing riders to use them on public roads.

To achieve this, riders must install or update certain equipment approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT). After these modifications, riders can apply for the registration of their dirt bike.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, dirt bikes are considered off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and are defined as any 2-wheeled motor vehicle that is straddled by the operator. While some trails are open to street-licensed OHMs, OHMs that cannot be registered by the Department of Transportation for use on public roads, commonly referred to as dirt bikes, may face restrictions.

Wyoming

In Wyoming, multipurpose vehicles and off-road recreational vehicles operated on streets, roads, or highways in the State of Wyoming are required to be equipped with specific equipment pursuant to Title 31, Chapter 5, of Wyoming Statutes.


Again, we recommend getting in touch with Dirt Legal to make the process of registering your vehicle much easier regardless of your state’s regulations.

They can help you register your dirt bike out-of-state through an LLC if your state does not allow direct registration.

You can find out more about how this service works on their website. These articles may be particurarly useful:

> How To Make Any Dirt Bike Street Legal

> Dirt Bike Registration Options

> Frequently Asked Questions


Are dirt bikes legal?

Read also: Three Ways to Make a Dune Buggy Street Legal

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