Dirt Bike Laws – Where Are You Allowed To Ride

What are the laws regarding dirt bike riding? Can I ride my dirt bike on the road? Do I need any kind of license to ride? These questions and more will be answered in this article. 

Riding dirt bikes is fun, and it’s a great way to shake off the daily stress of life and routine that can overwhelm you. But, there’s a time and place for everything. Dirt bikes cannot be legally ridden or driven just anywhere. We’ll look at the most common places where you can not ride and where you should ride, as well as what kind of license or registration is needed to ride a dirtbike.

Where Are You Allowed To Ride A Dirt Bike?

In this day and age where it seems like there’s so many rules, laws and regulations, it’s difficult to find fun things to do that are actually legal. Finding a place or spot to ride your dirt bike is especially challenging depending on where you live.

The Top 4 Places That Are Most Likely To Be Legal To Ride Dirt Bike Are:

  1. Private property (yours or others by permission)
  2. Off-road riding park
  3. State trails
  4. Motocross track

Private Property

The first and easiest place to ride dirt bike is your backyard, assuming you have enough property. However, due to noise disturbance or air pollution laws (dust flicked up from riding), this may limit your riding to little or nothing. 

I wish I could give you a definitive answer on whether or not you can legally ride in your backyard. Due to every county and city/town having different regulations, it just isn’t realistically possible. This is where you will have to ask your local city council, or read the regulations on your city’s website.

State Trails or Riding Parks

The next best place to ride is your local state trails or a public riding park. Before you go, check the rules and requirements. Some trails or parks only allow certain kinds of vehicles to be ridden or driven there. 

Dirt Bike State Trails
Riding Trails With Friends In The Mountains

If dirt bikes are allowed, read the list of required equipment for you and your bike. Common things required for riding off-road dirt bikes are:

  • DNR/registration sticker
  • USFS approved spark arrestor
  • Exhaust sound level limit (decibel rating; such as 96db)
  • Appropriate riding gear (helmet, boots, goggles, gloves)
  • Possible membership fee
  • Signed waiver and/or adult present if child is under 18 years old

Motocross track

Local public Motocross tracks (or private tracks with permission) are another great place to ride. With that said, if you are still learning how to ride a dirt bike, I highly recommend you stay away from any tracks or big obstacles. New riders can be a much higher danger risk to others, especially on a motocross track. 

Dirt Bike Track
Fun at the MX track

Can I Ride A Dirt Bike On The Road?

It is illegal to ride a dirt bike on public roads, city sidewalks or neighborhoods. Dirt bikes are not street legal in stock form. They are made for “off-road use only”. The manufacturer places labels and stickers on the bike body panels or chassis that include this information. A Dual-Sport dirt bike that is registered and plated can legally be ridden on the road. More on this in a minute…

Share The Road

With that said, some remote areas may allow off-road vehicles to share the road with standard cars and trucks. An example of this would be when I go out to Colorado and camp in the Rocky mountains. There are some gravel roads that post a sign telling drivers to “share the road” with a picture of an ATV or motorcycle.

Is There A Fine For Dirt Biking On Public Roads?

Riding a dirt bike, motocross bike or pit bike on the street can and will result in consequences. In most areas, you will get a citation (ticket), your bike may be towed/impounded, and a small fine is likely. You will also have to pay impound fees for storage and to get your dirt bike back. 

Dirt bike wheelie on the road
A ‘Wheelie’ Fun Time…

Do You Need A License To Ride A Dirt Bike?

No license is needed to ride a dirt bike. However, many states have an age restriction and/or require a parent/guardian present while an underage kid is riding. 

A dual sport dirt bike that is titled and legal for the road can be ridden on the street by an adult with a driver’s license. You also need a motorcycle license (endorsement) to ride a dual sport. This is similar to getting a standard driver’s license, but on a street legal motorcycle. 

How To Register A Dirt Bike For The Road

Some dirt bikes can be ridden on the road if they are registered and plated. Dirt bike laws are different in each state regarding dirt bike registration. 

Minnesota, for example, has a dual-registration law that allows a dirt bike to be registered after completing a checklist form. This checklist has a list of necessary parts to make your dirt bike street legal. A DNR OHM trail sticker is also needed to fulfill this dual-registration form. DOT tires, headlight, tail and brake light, and mirror are a few of the parts needed. For a complete list on how to make your dirt bike street legal click here. 

Kelley Fager

Kelley started riding a Honda 50 at the age of 6 years old. The passion for dirt bikes started there and grown into a lifelong pastime of riding and learning how they work. Motocross Hideout is the result of sharing his past, present, and future knowledge and experience.

3 Responses

  1. dirt bikes are noisy for the neighbors, sometimes you can’t even find tracks in your locality. Still, riders can find out their place.

  2. Logan says:

    What about unpaved road’s

    • Kelley Fager says:

      If it’s a public city road, it will probably be illegal without a plated bike. Some towns out in the middle of the mountains or similar areas may publicly allow recreational vehicles to drive on the road, but with certain restrictions.

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