Is Riding a Dirt Bike on the Road Illegal?

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Dirt bikes are of course a whole lot of fun. However, what happens when you want to ride a dirt bike on the road? Can you ride a dirt bike on the road? Is it legal to do so?

Ok folks, this is where it gets tricky, because the answer is a solid no and a resounding yes. It all depends on where you live and the type of dirt bike.

Let’s take a closer look at this issue and what you need to do to make your dirt bike road legal.

Rules may Differ Depending on the State in Question

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of it all, let us just mention that the rules may differ slightly from one State to another.

Remember, each State in the USA sets its own laws and rules. However, when it comes to the issue of dirt bikes on roads, thankfully most, if not all States have fairly similar rules.

Now, in all States it is illegal to ride a dirt bike on the road or sidewalk, or really in any public place.

However, there are dual purpose bikes that can be used for off roading and for street use, and there are ways to turn your dirt bike into a street legal machine (this is especially where different states have varying rules of what you need to do to make your dirt bike street legal).

Is Riding a Dirt Bike on the Road Illegal?

The short answer here is yes, it is illegal to ride a dirt bike on the street in the USA, and this applies to each and every State.

Not only is it illegal to ride a regular dirt bike on the road, but you also cannot use it on a sidewalk, and you can’t drive through alleyways or over parking lots either.

That said, in many States (not all), it is possible to modify your dirt bike to the point where it is considered a dual purpose bike, and under the right circumstances, can be street legal. We will look at this issue shortly.

Where Can I Ride A Normal Dirt Bike?

Ok, so you cannot ride a normal dirt bike on a road. So, where is it legal to ride a dirt bike (that has not been modified for dual purpose use)?

  • The best place to ride a dirt bike is on private property. This can be your own private property, or someone else’s as long as you have been granted permission. Remember that if you ride on someone else’s property without permission, you may face trespassing charges.
  • Another good place to ride a dirt bike is on a designated riding track or a park. There are various State trails and designated riding parks designed just for this purpose. Keep in mind that this can differ from State to State, with some having pretty strict rules surrounding riding dirt bikes in these trails.
  • The other best place to ride your dirt bike is of course in a motocross park.
Is Riding a Dirt Bike on the Road Illegal

Many States (do your research!) will allow you to modify a dirt bike into a so called dual purpose bike, which should make it road legal.

Each State is going to be slightly different in terms of what it takes to make your dirt bike street legal (with some not allowing people to modify dirt bikes to make them street legal).

That said, many States do allow for this, but of course, there are rules, restrictions, and requirements to be adhered to. Let’s take a look at the requirements that you may face when converting a dirt bike into a street legal machine.

  • Your dirt bike will need a proper headlamp that features both a low beam and a high beam.
  • Your dirt bike will require a brake taillight that is activated by both the rear brake pedal and the front brake lever.
  • You will need to install Department of Transportation approved turn signals, both on the front and the rear of the dirt bike.
  • You will need either one or two rear view mirrors.
  • Your dirt bike will need a horn.
  • You will need to register your dirt bike and confirm that it is street legal, not much different from registering a car or motorcycle.
  • To ride a street legal dirt bike, you will need both a valid adult driver’s license and a motorcycle license.


So, a normal dirt bike cannot be ridden on the road legally. However, many States allow for modifications to be made, which allows dirt bikes to be modified into dual purpose bikes that are street legal.

Just make sure to follow all of the rules and requirements for the State in which you resi

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