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Can You Ride Dirt Bikes on the Road? What You Need to Know

Can You Ride Dirt Bikes on the Road? What You Need to Know

Riding dirt bikes is fun; however, you cannot decide to ride your dirt bike anywhere you like. As a dirt biker, you must adhere to certain laws, rules, and regulations guiding dirt biking which vary from state to state. Riding a dirt bike on the road is not allowed in several states in the United States unless they are street legal.

Dirt bikes are designed for off-road use, although they can also be lawfully used on public roads. Riders must meet a few rules and standards to ride on the road, such as having insurance, a valid driver's license, brake lights, horns, DOT-approved tires, turn signals, and a few items. 

Operating your dirt bike on trails and other off-road areas is legal and does not require you to have any insurance or license. However, when you decide to want to ride it on a public road, you must do so in a legal manner.

bike woman ride

Can You Drive A Dirt Bike On The Road?

You can drive a dirt bike on the road only when street legal. A street-legal dirt bike has all the required features a vehicle must have to be able to operate on public roads and highways. To make your dirt bike street legal, you will need to update the bike's numerous pieces of equipment.

Although the standards differ from state to state, the main duties are nearly identical. You must also make sure every piece of equipment added is DOT-approved for the vehicle to be street legal. Below are some of the items you will need to update to ride your dirt bike on the road.


To make a dirt bike legal in several states in the U.S, you will need a working headlight. The Department of Transportation should approve the headlight; their approval expedites the process of obtaining street-legal approval. The functioning headlight also contains various functions that boost your dirt bike's safety.

The ability to convert between high and low beams ensures the rider can adjust the beam depending on the situation. When riding on a dark road, the switching feature makes your dirt bike visible to others and provides you with superb eyesight when riding. The type of headlight required varies, so it is best to check your state's current legislation to determine what types of headlights you will need.

Brake And Tail Lights

Another upgrade required to make a dirt bike street legal in almost every state is brake and tail lights. To avoid being rear-ended, have lights on the back of your dirt bike so that others behind you can see you when it is dark. In some areas, the brake and tail lights must be attached to a battery to keep the lights on for about 20 minutes.

LED lights are the greatest solution for making your dirt bike legal due to normal brake and tail light battery issues. Whenever the dirt bike is running, the taillights must be on. Additionally, a switch must be put at the brake pedal and handlebar lever so that the brake lights come on whenever the brakes are applied.


If you wish to ride your dirt bike on the road, the most crucial thing you should do is upgrade your tires. Dirt bikes are often equipped with tires designed for off-road use; they are not permitted on public roadways for safety reasons. For your dirt motorcycles, you must choose tires that are DOT-approved.

If the product description does not state that the tires have been DOT-approved, do not presume they have. Also, do not expect that your current dirt bike tires will operate on the highway. They were not designed for it, and they will not be able to withstand highway speeds; getting DOT-approved tires helps ensure your safety.

Side-View Mirrors

Rear-view mirrors are another name for side-view mirrors; they are required pieces of equipment for your dirt bike to be street legal. The required number of side-view mirrors, on the other hand, varies from state to state. For a dirt bike to be operated on the road, some states need twin side-view mirrors, while others accept single side-view mirrors.

It is recommended that dirt bike riders get a double side-view mirror as they are more effective in providing the best perspective when riding. Mirrors allow you to view more of your surroundings; hence, you might spend a lot of money purchasing a mirror for your dirt bike.


Horns are among the essential pieces of equipment that must be installed on your dirt bike in order for it to be street legal under the regulations of each state. There are electric and manual horn models; some states declare that only dirt bikes with electric horns are permitted on the roadways.

Electric horns are louder than manual models; hence, electric horns are the best option. On a dirt bike, you can purchase a squeeze horn as long as your state allows it, and you are not ashamed of the old vibes it will give your bike. Some states allow their dirt bikers to use a manual horn for their bikes.

What Dirt Bikes Can You Ride On The Road?

Most dirt bikes cannot be operated on the road unless they have some modifications added. However, some dirt bikes are manufactured as street legal; hence, they can be operated on the road without any modification. Below are a few of them.

Yamaha WR250R

The Yamaha WR250R is a race-spec dirt bike featuring liquid cooling, 6-speed transmission, titanium valves, fuel injection, fully adjustable rear shock, and inverted forks. It is one of the dirt bikes that come street legal from the factory; as a result, it is very expensive. All riders desire this dirt bike.

Suzuki DRZ400S

The Suzuki DRZ 400S is an archetypal street legal dirt bike; it is a tried and tested liquid-cooled vehicle that can handle any terrain. It has a top speed of 94 mph, generates 33.4 horsepower, and is powered by a 398cc 4-stroke, single-cylinder engine. This dirt bike features tail lights, horns, headlights, mirrors, and turn signals.

Aprilia SXV450

The Aprilia SXV450, in true Italian style, is unlike any other; it uses a powerful v-twin engine that mimics the sounds of its passengers while delivering lethal torque. The frame of this dirt bike is made from aluminum plates and tubular steel. Its air filter is located at the engine top, behind the gas tank, rather than the usual under the seat location.

fast dirt bike

Is It Illegal To Ride A Dirt Bike On The Road?

Riding a dirt bike on the road can be both legal and illegal, depending on the state you are based in. Every dirt bike operated on the road has to be street legal before the operation can be legal. It is illegal to ride a dirt bike that is not street legal on the road; in states like Alaska, you will have to get permission before riding your dirt bike.

A dirt bike that is plated and registered can be legally operated on the road. However, for your dirt bike to be street legal, it will require a rear-view mirror, headlights, DOT-approved turn signals, horn, and taillights. You do not need a license to ride your dirt bike off-road; however, only an adult with a driver's license can ride a street-legal dirt bike.

Also read: Pit Bike vs Dirt Bike 

Final Thoughts

Riding a dirt bike on the road is permitted in some states as long as they are street legal, while some states like Washington do not allow dirt bikes on public roads. Before you decide to ride your dirt bike on a public road, you should check out the dirt bike laws and regulations in the state you reside in to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

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