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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, 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 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. 

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

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. 

Dirt Bike Track
Fun at the MX track

Can You 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 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. A Dual-Sport dirt bike that is registered and plated can legally be ridden on the road. More on this in a minute…

Dirt Bike Laws Share The Road Sign Dirt Bike Laws - Where Are You Allowed To Ride
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.’

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. 

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

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 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 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.

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. 

Ready to take dirt biking seriously & become a better 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 for free riding techniques to give you more control.

James Albert

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!

Julie

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

Kelley Fager

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!

Josh

Thursday 2nd of December 2021

I am 12 what is a good dirt bike i should get??

Kelley Fager

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.

Caleb thomas

Saturday 25th of September 2021

What about riding in the grass near the road? I ride a 2 stroke 125cc dirtbike and I can’t figure out if it is legal or not. Most cops that have pulled me over for illegally riding on the road tells me to ride in the grass and they let me ride on the grass near the road to get home.

Kelley Fager

Saturday 25th of September 2021

The ditches? I can't say that it's legal, but it depends on your local city laws. I don't believe it's technically legal where we live, but if your local cops are okay with it, then count it as a privilege and please respect them and any property that you ride on. Thanks for reading, Caleb!

Melanie Liparulo

Friday 13th of August 2021

I’m wondering what the laws are for child riders on a dirt bike with a parent. He had the 3yo and 6yo on the dirt biking riding through town on public streets with no helmets… legal thoughts?

Kelley Fager

Friday 20th of August 2021

I'm not aware of any laws about riding a dirt bike with passengers, but riding an off-road dirt bike on public streets is not legal in most areas... You might be able to get away with it if your neighbors don't care, but I suggest you read your local laws and regulations for a definitive answer... Thanks for the comment, Melanie! (I like that name - it's my wife's name too!)