Dirt bike riding is fun. However, the big question is, do you need a license for a dirt bike?
You don’t need a license when riding your dirt bike in trails, parks, private property, or motocross tracks. However, you need a dirt bike license when riding on public roads.
But before you can have a dirt bike license, you need to modify your dirt bike to be street legal if you don’t own a dual sport bike. Some things that have to tick the box are a headlight, tail light, DOT tires, turn signals, brake light, mirror, horn, exhaust, and a license plate holder.
Remember that dirt bike laws differ from state to state, so you have to confirm with your DMV beforehand not to break your state’s rules.
This guide will explain how to make your dirt bike road-legal, and I will also discuss the unique places to ride your dirt bike without a license.
Let’s get into it!
But Do You Need a License for A Dirt Bike?
As the introduction shows, you need a dirt bike license if you plan to ride in public places. However, for you to do so, your dirt bike needs to be road legal.
If you are wondering how to go about it, below are the features to employ to your dirt bike before you can apply for a dirt bike license:
If you plan to ride your dirt bike at night or on dim light trails, the DMV requires that you employ a headlight on your dirt bike.
Some street-legal dirt bikes come with this feature already installed, and some types don’t. If your dirt bike lacks this feature, you should install one.
You must choose a good quality headlight that meets DOT standards for your safety. So, prioritize DOT-approved headlights.
· Tail Light
Tail light shows drivers behind you your presence on the road. Not only should the tail light be DOT-approved, but the light source should be powerful enough to light up for at least 20 minutes.
That said, some of the best tail lights to incorporate into your dirt bike are the LED options. Why? LED lights don’t use excess battery power. That means the tail light can last more than 20 minutes when on.
· DOT Tires
In most cases, dirt bikes come with tires that are not street-legal. This is because most dirt bikes, except dual sports, are meant for off-road terrains.
A DOT symbol on road-legal tires shows that your dirt bike complies with the Department of Transport (DOT’s) Safety Standards.
· Turn Signals
Turn signals are not a must-have in some states. However, depending on the state, turn signals may be a must-have. Some states even require your dirt bike to have both the front and rear turn indicators.
Again, the location of the turn signals also differs from one state to another. But you should ensure that you can reach them comfortably when riding or seated.
· Brake Light
If you want your dirt bike to be street legal, another feature not to forget is the brake light. Brake light helps you when you want to slow down.
Since you are not the only one riding on the road, the brake light acts as your voice. It shows the drivers behind you that you want to slow down.
However, local laws vary from state to state, so you should consult the laws of your state on this matter.
For example, in Florida, dirt bike brakes should develop a 43.5% brake force of the dirt bike’s total weight and be able to stop vehicles 20 mph behind and not exceeding 30 feet back.
On the other hand, in Connecticut, dirt bikes manufactured before 1973 should have a brake on both the rear and front wheels. But if it was manufactured after 1973, it should have one brake.
A mirror is an individual part that gives a reflection of the traffic behind you. While most dual sport dirt bikes come with a mirror or two, other types don’t.
In this case, you should install one and tilt it to an angle where you can see the vehicle driving behind you.
You should also confirm from your state if to install one or two – one on the left and one on the right.
When it comes to the horn, all states require your street-legal dirt bike to have one. However, some states require a non-electric horn while others require an electric option.
But since the electric option is easier and more convenient to operate, I suggest you opt for it. The other benefit is that it’s louder than its non-electric counterpart.
Two things come into consideration when the exhaust is concerned – Gas emission and sound level. So, depending on your state, you can install a street-legal exhaust or an EPA-certified option.
· License Plate Holder
Another primary requirement in nearly all states is a visible license plate holder. It should have enough illumination to be visible in the dark. So, you can add an LED strip on the plate holder to ensure it is visible enough.
Where Can I Ride My Dirt Bike Legally?
As much as you’ll need a license to ride your dirt bike on public roads, there are still some places where you can ride your dirt bike without consent. Some of these places include:
a) Trails and Parks
Nearly all states have parks designated for riding your dirt bike with family and friends. However, there are also some requirements that you will have to meet before doing so.
For example, some states charge membership registration or session fees. Also, you must wear protective gear and a maximum sound (decibel level) that your dirt bike should emit.
b) Backyards and Outdoor Spaces (Private Property)
Another place you can ride your dirt bike without a license is in your backyard or outdoor space. So, if you own an expansive outdoors or have a neighbor who can allow you to ride your dirt bike in his spacious backyard, you can do so to your satisfaction.
c) Motocross Tracks
In nearly all states, there is a public motocross track. All you need to do is book and meet all the requirements. Motocross tracks are the best places you can ride your dirt bike.
But since these local tracks may be far from home and your dirt bike is not street legal, you’ll need the means to transport your bike on the road before reaching the track.
People Also Ask
1. How Old Do You Have to Get a Dirt Bike License?
You must be 16 – 17 years to obtain a dirt bike license. Well, we all know that most kids like riding dirt bikes, and there are even dirt bikes for even ten-year-olds. But to get a license and ride on the road, they should not be less than 16 years.
2. But Can A 14 Year Old Drive a Dirt Bike On the Road?
Though a 14-year-old can ride a dirt bike, they should keep off the public road. A 14-year-old is too young to get a dirt bike license.
However, 14-year-olds can ride dirt bikes on private properties, parks or trails, and motocross tracks. Riding in these places does not require you to have a license.
Do You Need a License for A Dirt Bike? Final Say
A driver’s license is required if you want to ride your dirt bike on public roads. Not only do you need to obtain a license, but your bike also needs to be street legal.
However, if your bike doesn’t meet the requirements, you can enjoy riding in places that do not require a license, like private property, motocross tracks, or parks or trails.