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, 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 dirt bike laws, rules, 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:
- Private property (yours or others by permission)
- Off-road riding park
- State trails
- Motocross track
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. It’s due to the fact that one person may complain and ruin it for everyone because they don’t like others having fun.
Ask your local leaders
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 Dirt Bike Parks
The next best place to ride is your local state trails or a public dirt bike 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.
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
Dirt bike tracks (Motocross tracks)
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.
How to prevent private & public tracks from getting shut down
I want to share a few practical tips that will help all of us dirt bikers so that we can keep riding. First, the general public (other people) don’t like motorcycles, and especially off-road motorcycles for a number of reasons.
To prevent people from complaining and trying to shut down our dirt bike riding areas, you should:
- Always ride where you’re supposed to – legally and with permission
- Be polite with how you talk to people that see you ride and/or complain
- Be respectful of property and the terrain – don’t roost everywhere or leave garbage
- Make your dirt bike quieter – louder bikes are cool, but they annoy more people
- Obey the rules – stay on the track/trail, ride during season, and don’t ride after hours
Doing these simple things and just using some common sense won’t automatically keep dirt bike trails and tracks open, but it can go a long way in keeping more places. And, you never know – your neighbor just might be interested in trying out dirt biking if you’re polite and communicate well.
Do You Need A License To Ride A Dirt Bike Off-Road?
No motorcycle license is needed to ride a dirt bike off-road.
A motorcycle 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 bike. This is similar to getting a standard driver’s license, but on a street legal motorcycle.
How old do you have to be to ride a dirt bike?
Most states/countries do not have an age restriction to ride a dirt bike. However, some states have an age restriction and/or require a parent/guardian present while an underage kid is riding.
It depends on where you are riding – public or private land and what the specific rules are.
Can You Ride A Dirt Bike On The Road or Sidewalk?
It is illegal to ride a dirt bike on public roads or city sidewalks in almost all cities, states and countries.
Most Dirt bikes are not street legal in stock form because they are made for “off-road use only”. They don’t have the equipment and accessories needed to legally ride on the road.
The manufacturer places labels and stickers on the bike body panels or chassis that include this information. However, there are some off-road motorcycles that can be legally ridden on the dirt and street when you buy it new from the dealer.
What dirt bikes are street legal?
A Dual-Sport dirt bike that is registered and plated can legally be ridden on the road. More on this in a minute…
Can you ride a dirt bike on your neighborhood?
This depends on where you live. If you live in a urban city, then you’re probably not going to be able to ride in your neighborhood.
Your yard is likely too small unless you have a quiet dirt bike and you’re just practicing your balance control skills. So, you can’t ride in the street of your neighborhood in most cities.
With that said, if you live in a rural neighborhood out in the country, then it may be possible to ride without getting into trouble, especially if you’re riding on private property with permission. If a lot of your neighbors ride in your neighborhood, then you’ll be much less likely to get a complaint, but it’s always best to check your local laws and regulations.
Just remember to always respect other people’s property and be conscience of where and how you ride.
Where can you ride a dirt bike on the road then?
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. So, whether you’re an adult or a 14 year that wants to ride your dirt bike on the road, you must know the local regulations because most places won’t allow it.
Can you ride a mini bike in a neighborhood?
A mini bike is treated basically the same as a dirt bike. Unless it’s plated and registered for road use, it’s not legal to ride a mini bike on the road or in your neighborhood.
You can ride a mini bike on private property if your local laws and land owners are okay with it. Going to an off-road riding park or trails are the next best places to ride your mini bike.
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.
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. The checklist has a list of necessary parts to make your dirt bike street legal.
What’s needed to make a 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.
Where Should You Ride When You Get Your First Dirt Bike?
The first place you ride a dirt bike or where you learn to ride can make a big impact on how quickly you learn to ride, as well as how much you enjoy riding.
If you, your spouse, your kid, or a friend is learning to ride, then it’s important that you start riding in the right spot so that you stay safe, have fun, and can focus on riding without distractions.
In the video below, I explain where you should ride as a beginner, why it’s important to start there and not somewhere else, and then what you should practice to quickly build your skills and control.
Dirt bike trails near you – where to ride
Finding a great dirt bike trail is like finding a hidden treasure – you should remember it and keep it to yourself. Why? Because there are too many selfish thrill-seekers that just want to find the “latest & greatest” trail, trash it, and then move on after them and their ‘buddies’ had their fun.
It sounds sad, but that’s the hard truth these days, and it’s one of the reasons why trails and tracks keep getting shut down. If you want a list of public places to ride your dirt bike, you can check out RiderPlanet and start going to them to find your favorite dirt bike riding spot.
Ready to take dirt biking seriously & become a confident rider?
If you’re new to off-road riding, then I need to tell you something that many new riders fail to do. If you want to become a better rider so that you can ride on trails faster with confidence and not crash all the time, then you need to learn proper riding technique.
I want to help point you in the right direction. So if you’re ready to take your dirt biking seriously, which I hope you will, then click here to watch a a free workshop to learn the 3 steps to become a safe & confident rider.
Wednesday 21st of September 2022
can i ride slowly on the side of the road to get to private property it's not far either
Wednesday 21st of September 2022
It depends on your local laws and where exactly you're riding. You might be able to get away with it if you have permission to ride on the property, but I would recommend asking a local police officer if it's legal to get the best answer. Thanks for reading, Tykir!
Thursday 14th of July 2022
Can u ride a dirtbike on a footpath to get out bush if ur 12 yrs old in WA
Wednesday 21st of September 2022
@Ziva, just send it im a 15 year old and that's what I do in vic
Monday 21st of February 2022
I really love the content on your blog, it's very useful and informative. I'm always looking forward to reading your articles because they're so interesting!
Friday 28th of January 2022
Hi is there a time limit on riding dirt bikes , we have neighbours that think it’s ok to ride till 7 o’clock at night
Friday 28th of January 2022
Hey Julie, thank you so much for commenting because that's a great question! It depends on your local laws and regulations, so I can't give you a definitive answer, but I can give you a recommendation that just might help. First, thank you for asking and not just complaining to the authorities, because it's getting harder and harder to find places to ride, and being able to ride is a stress reliever and a great alternative to a lot of other 'hobbies' that could be more harmful. With that said, I strongly encourage you to simply go and talk to your neighbors and politely let them know your concerns. Simple communication will go a LONG way and may resolve 99% of your issues. If they're reasonable people (which I hope), then I'd bet they're at least willing to listen if you kindly introduce yourself and let them know what you're thinking. Hope that helps!
Thursday 2nd of December 2021
I am 12 what is a good dirt bike i should get??
Friday 3rd of December 2021
Hey Josh, thanks for the question! I think this article below will help you make a good decision on which bike to look for: Best Dirt Bike For 12 or 13 Year Old.