As a dirt racer, you want to take the gushing adrenaline to the streets and race there. But given the traffic rules, can you ride a dirt bike on the road?
Well, it’s possible to ride a dirt bike on the road, but it has to be street-legal, and you should be legally allowed to ride it there. That means you should have a dirt biking license, be of legal age, and the dirt bike should have the necessary features for street riding.
Your bike has to tick all these features to be road compliant; have DOT tires, proper lighting (headlights, brake lights, tail light, and turn signals), brakes, a legal road exhaust system, a license plate holder, and a horn.
This guide will explain these features one by one, expound on places where you can legally ride your road non-compliant dirt bike without a license, and much more.
Let’s get into it!
But Can You Ride a Dirt Bike On the Road?
Most dirt bikes are meant for off-road riding. These bikes lack street legal features. If you own a dual sport bike or a converted one, you can comfortably ride your dirt bike on the road.
Here are the three essential things required before riding your dirt bike on-road.
1. Have A Dirt Bike License
You cannot hit the road without a dirt biking license, even if you have a road-legal dirt bike. If you do, you flout the traffic laws, which could get you arrested.
You can consult with your state’s DMV for the license and undertake lessons and exams if required.
2. Be of Legal Age
Another fundamental requirement before riding your dirt bike on the road is that you should be of the right age. You should be 16 years at least, while others require you to be 17 years of age.
Even though we know that you can start your dirt biking experience from as low as three years, and there are dirt bikes for nearly all ages, you need to be of legal age before going on the road. So, even if your ten or 14-year-old rides like a pro, they cannot ride on the road.
3. Your Bike Should Be Road Legal
Now, let’s talk about the bike. You can convert your motocross bike to fit the road if you don’t own a road-legal dirt bike (dual sport). Below are the features to implement:
a) DOT Tires
The first check from a street-legal dirt bike is the tires. They should have the DOT symbol. So, if you don’t own a dual sport, better change the tires.
Do you wonder why you need to change your dirt bike tires to be road legal? Here are the reasons why. Off-road tires have less traction on the road and still are narrower. However, DOT tires have the advantage of taking your dirt bike both on and off the road.
If your aim is riding on the streets, your dirt bike should have all the lighting. They include a headlight which can be low or high beam according to state laws, a brake light, tail light, turn signals (or hand signals according to the states you live in), reflectors, and mirrors.
Suppose your bike lacks these features; you can consider getting the Tusk Motorcycle Lighting Kit. The best part with this kit is that it’s universal with many dirt bikes and only lacks the headlights.
Considering you are converting your bike, you will need a more potent power supply to ensure that this electrical system works comfortably.
One thing to note when riding on the road is that as much as you ride fast, you should also stop more quickly. For this reason, you need to upgrade your braking system for your bike to be road legal.
While most states only check for the front brakes, others recommend both front and rear brakes. So, you should consult your state’s laws on this or install both.
d) Road Legal Exhaust System
Let me point this out. Most dirt bikes come with the off-road exhaust-only option, which we know is noisy. So, this means that even though your dirt bike has an exhaust, it’s not for road use. The road use exhaust system has regulated gas emissions and moderate sound. The best choice has an EPA mark.
e) License Plate Holder
Your dual sport or road legal dirt bike should have a license plate holder on the rear fender in all states. Not only should the holder be present, but it should also have enough illumination for lighting and visibility at night or when riding on dark-lit trails. You can place an LED strip on the holder.
f) A Horn
A horn ensures your safety when riding on the road. It notifies other drivers and pedestrians of your presence on the road. So, ensure your horn is in excellent condition.
Dirt bike horns come in two options – the electric and non-electric types. However, the two play the same function, but they differ in a few ways.
For example, the electric option is easy to operate, more convenient, and the loudest of the two. However, consult your state’s laws when choosing one, as some require the non-electric option.
Where Can I Ride My Dirt Bike Legal?
Nowadays, given the many laws, rules, and regulations, finding a place where you can comfortably ride your dirt bike is not easy. However, below are the three best places that legally allow you to ride your dirt bike and have all the fun:
- On private property
- On state trails
- On motocross tracks
Let’s discuss them below:
a) On Private Property
Assuming you own a big backyard, it should be the ideal place to ride your dirt bike. Even better, if your neighbor has a bigger yard and can allow you to ride your dirt bike there, you can.
However, consult your local laws as some limit air pollution and noise disturbance. Still, some neighbors don’t like the noise from your dirt bike, especially if your house is close.
b) On State Trails
Another place to ride your dirt bike is in your local dirt bike trails or parks. The good thing is that nearly all states have at least one dirt bike park.
However, you should check the requirements and rules of your local dirt bike park. For example, some local trail parks may charge a membership fee and registration. Others may require your dirt bike noise level (decibel level) not to exceed a specific limit, and you should also wear the right dirt biking gear (View on Amazon).
c) Motocross Tracks
On motocross tracks, the last and fantastic place, you can also comfortably ride your dirt bike maximally. Many states have these motocross tracks open for motocross dirt biking enthusiasts.
However, if you are a beginner just trying, I strongly advise you to keep off these tracks or any other with enormous obstacles. On the other hand, the ideal place for beginners to try out dirt biking is on private property.
The only limitation of dirt biking on these tracks is that most trails are far from your place. So, you need to get a means to transport your dirt bike on the road (if it’s not street legal) before reaching these tracks.
People Also Ask
1. But Can You Drive a Dirt Bike On Road Without a License?
Driving a dirt bike in any state without a license is illegal. That is because these machines are for off-road riding.
However, there are dual sport types that are road legal. But even if your bike is street legal doesn’t mean you can drive it on the road without a license. You could face severe consequences like hefty fines.
2. Can A 14 Year Old Drive a Dirt Bike On the Road?
The simple answer is NO! A 14-year-old cannot drive a dirt bike on the road. That is because getting a dirt bike license requires you to be 16 or 17 years old. Though a 14-year-old can ride a dirt bike like a pro, they should keep off the road.
3. How Old to Drive a Dirt Bike On the Road?
Dirt bike riding starts from 3 – 5 years old. So, if you have a three-year-old, you can buy them 50cc electric dirt bikes. However, going on the road is a different case.
That is because you need to be of legal age (16/17, according to many states) and have a dirt biking license.
4. What Is the Fine for Riding a Dirt Bike On the Street?
Riding your motocross or off-road dirt bike or riding a road legal dirt bike without a license comes with many consequences. For example, in some states, you may get a ticket, a hefty fine, or your bike can be towed to a station.
In Conclusion, Can You Ride a Dirt Bike On the Road?
As seen, you can ride your dirt bike on the road if it’s street legal, you are of legal age, and you have a dirt biking license. Your dirt bike must also have all the road features, including DOT tires, proper lighting, brakes, a legal exhaust system, a license plate holder, and a good working horn.