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How to Make an ATV Street Legal

How to Make an ATV Street Legal

Riding an ATV can be exciting and full of adventure, however, it may not be legal on your local streets.

Depending on where you live, you’ll want to check your local rules and regulations before you go cruising the roads. Some areas require certain upgrades and equipment, like headlines and mirrors, to make an ATV street legal. Some require things like permits.

Even if it is legal where you live, you may find that you need to make a few adjustments or modifications to be on the right side of the law. So today, we’ll look at what you need to do to make an ATV street legal.

Let’s dig in!

What Is an ATV?

An all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is often driven off-road or on dirt roads. They have four wheels, a seat that the driver straddles, and they may or may not be designed for passengers. Type I ATVs typically are not passenger-friendly, but Type II ATVs often come with seating for a passenger behind the driver.

ATVs come in a variety of sizes and serve many different purposes. There are smaller models capable of slower speeds that are suitable for youth and possibly even racing. However, larger and faster models are capable of some pretty incredible speeds.

There are even ATVs that are great for getting a big job done. Selecting the right ATV for your intended purpose is essential before you even start worrying about taking it on the road. So make sure you do a bit of research before investing in an ATV. 

Friends driving ATVs on road together
Before you pound the pavement, make sure to research if it is legal to drive your ATV where you are.

Where Do You Typically Legally Drive an ATV?

People tend to take their ATVs to off-road locations like trails, dunes, and other adventurous terrains. Riders often enjoy using them as tools to discover and explore areas that they couldn’t reach otherwise. However, they’re also popular choices among farmers, ranchers, and others trying to get work done on their property.

The style of ATV will likely play a significant role in where and how you drive it.

Pro Tip: Need a place to store your ATV while on the road? Check out these 5 Best 5th Wheel Toy Hauler RVs.

Whether you see other ATVs on the road or not, we have a few things you should keep in mind before hitting the road yourself. Let’s take a look at what you need to do to make your ATV street legal.

Legality when it comes to ATVs varies from state to state. Many states will leave it up to individual counties or even towns and cities to determine rules and regulations regarding ATVs on streets. However, there are many states where it’s never acceptable for ATVs to hit the roads.

States where it’s never OK to ride an ATV on a public road include Alabama, California, Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Nevada. There’s also a list of states that require you to get a permit to ride an ATV.

However, there’s also a very long list of states that only permit ATVs to cross public roads for agricultural purposes. It’s up to riders to know the local rules and regulations regarding whether it’s legal or not.

Driving away on an ATV.
Each state has different rules for ATVs.

States That Require Certain Equipment

While some states prohibit ATVs on roads, the following states allow ATVs but require certain equipment to ride legally. They are Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The equipment requirements might include turn signals, brake lights, a horn, headlights, or more. The requirements will vary from state to state, so make sure you check your state’s requirements before riding an ATV on your local roads and streets. 

Pro Tip: Before you cruise around your neighborhood on your ATV, make sure to find out Can You Legally Drive an ATV in a Neighborhood?

Additional Changes You Can Make While Upgrading Your ATV

While you’re upgrading your ATV, you may want to consider a few additional upgrades to make driving your ATV on the streets easier. Adding a windshield, a muffler, or other items can help minimize the risk of you being a nuisance to others.

While local rules and regulations may permit you to drive your ATV on the road, you may get complaints if you’re too loud or causing a ruckus. So make sure you’re respectful of those around you and not disturbing others with your riding.

Law enforcement may shut down your fun if you’re bothering others or causing a scene.

Confused? Consult Your Local DMV

Because rules and regulations vary so much across the country, you must consult your local DMV for the most accurate information. You don’t want to ignorantly find yourself on the wrong side of the law or in legal trouble. Remember that rules and regulations often change, and it’s up to you as the rider to stay informed.

If you take the proper steps and drive responsibly, you’re likely to face fewer issues. However, assuming no one will care if you take your ATV for a spin may not be a safe assumption. It’s always better to know for sure that your ATV is street-legal.

Where do you most enjoy riding your ATV? Drop a comment below!

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