If you are looking to bring the dirt bike thrill on the street for everyday use, you will need to consider the decision. People often turn their dirt bikes to street bikes in order to commute for various reasons. And, why not? It is cheaper to make it street legal instead of getting a street legal or dual sport dirt bike. There are several federal and state laws that you will need to comply with in order to make that happen. As the owner, you are responsible for the safety of the people on the road and for your own. In order to do that, follow these tips to make your dirt bike street legal.
Basic street legal dirt bike requirements for all states: A DOT approved headlight with indicator on high and low beams, tail and brake light, tires and turn signals. Horn is must but in some states it should be an electric one. A rear-view mirror or mirrors depending on what state u are in.
What Does the Utah Law Say?
There is a minimum requirement in all the states of the US. A few require additional equipment to be attached to the bike before it can be taken on the road. However, a basic understanding of the minimum requirements is enough to get you started. Keep in mind that each state has the right to enact several other rules and regulations within their borders. A street vehicle, including bikes, have rules regarding their legality enforced by the local authorities of the state. This is in addition to the federal and state mandate already present.
Whether your bike was assembled in your own garage or in a big factory, it has to meet these requirements. You cannot take it to the road if your bike does not have these basic supplies.
The basic requirements for a bike to be street legal are listed below:
- A headlight with both high and low beams. This must be DOT approved.
- A headlight indicator so the rider knows when the bike is on a high beam.
- A tail light and brake light. This also should be DOT approved and must work for at least 20 minutes on single battery power.
- Some states require DOT approved turn signals.
- Some states require two rearview mirrors while other states require only one.
- A horn, which in some states should be an electric one.
- The tires should be DOT approved as well.
As the list shows that, some requirements are not needed in some states. In this article, we will cover what is needed in Utah. If you have any more confusion, you can contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Department of Transportation (DOT) to clarify.
Check What You Need to Make your dirt bike street legal in Utah
Before you start installing additional parts and accessories, make sure that they meet the requirements of the state of Utah. Anything additional would mean that you are wasting money and the chances of being stuck with an illegal bike. You must check the local laws in order to comprehend the requirements for a street-legal bike.
Tusk Dirt Bike Street Legal KitWith Handguard Turn Signals
- Full kit with everything you need to make your dirt bike street legal
- Handguards with built-in turn signals
- Kit is for dirt bikes that already have a headlight
Street Legal Parts & Accessories
The following parts and accessories are what make your dirt bike street legal in general with the additional requirements in Utah. We will look at each one of them separately so you know what you are doing and how.
Electrical Systems Upgrades
Most street bikes are powered in order to meet the additional requirements of the parts. In order to make your dirt bike street legal, you will need an electrical system upgrade. You will need to do your research about the make of your bike so you know what you need. Additionally, when you take your bike for the upgrade, the mechanic or the manufacturer would know what to do. This will make it easier for all additional equipment to meet work seamlessly.
A headlight with high and low beam is a requirement in almost all the states. Although some states do not require a high beam for a bike to be street legal. However, it is a safety precaution to have both. The switch should be within reach and you must know when it is on. The headlight must be DOT approved otherwise it will be useless. Make sure that the meter showing the high beam status is visible to you while you are riding the bike.
Make sure that the tail light you install is DOT approved. It must work on the mounted battery on the bike. This is a requirement in all the states in America. Using LED lights is the best here since they work on minimum battery usage. Additionally, the tail light should be on at all times the bike is on the road. As for the brake lights, a switch must be accessible to you from the handlebar lever and the brake pedal.
Many states do not say much about the exhaust. However, it should be one that emits the least amount of smoke with a silencer to boot. Make sure that the exhaust is dent free and clean so that it is approved. A slip-on silencer is a safe and inexpensive way to go. Go for the EPA approved exhaust if you can find one – that will surely be a win for the legality of the bike.
Most states require two rearview mirrors for a street bike to be legal. The state of Utah, however, requires only one. You can find multiple options for rearview mirrors in terms of quality and designs. Choose one that looks good on your bike. The challenge is where to install it for the best view.
It is an important accessory and required by all states. Your bike cannot be legal unless you have a horn installed on your dirk bike. Some states require the horn to be electric but most are okay with a standard squeeze type horn. To be on the safe side though, get an electric horn so it is convenient for you to use while riding.
Tires & Wheels
As long as the wheels and tired are DOT approved, you can get any. There are two things to consider when upgrading. If you wish to make your dirt bike street legal and keep using it as a sport as well, get stock wheels. This will make your bike perfect for dual-sport’ use. On the other hand, if you only wish to make it street legal, you will have to upgrade both the wheels and the braking system.
Once your bike has been made legal, you will have to install a license plate. All states have a different requirement on how the license plate should be displayed. Check with DMV on how the bracket is installed in Utah. Normally, it should be visible enough for everyone to see. Anything other than that
will attract the attention of law enforcement agencies.
Kickstand & Gearing
A kickstand is not a requirement by any state but an important accessory for a street bike. Get a simple one that supports your bike while it is parked anywhere. Another important thing often overlooked is the gears. A dirt bike has low-speed gearing which will need to be tuned for higher speeds to be used on the roads. Internet forums and other platforms can help you with this since the standards differ for each bike.
Understanding the Street Legal Process
When going through the changeover for your dirt bike, you will go through a long process that requires dedication. Do your research and act on it according to the requirements of Utah. The same goes for anyone completing the transformation in another state. The rules and regulations must be understood with clarity before getting into action. The first place to look is the DMV. You can either meet a person or check the details online. Every state has different laws that you must keep in mind before starting the transformation. If you cannot put a license plate on the dirt bike, there is no use in getting the process started.
Keep in mind that the process of this transformation is becoming difficult in all states. The regulations are tightened and the process in under scrutiny at all times. The licensing conditions are hard to meet because you will need to meet not only the requirements of the bike but yours as well. Some states like California, the standards there are hard to meet.
Getting the license for a vehicle that was built for off-road use is certainly tough. The authorities can use any reason or excuse to not give you the license plate. It can get hectic and frustrating during the process. The rules may look to you almost as if they do not want to make your bike street legal. Any excuse can be used to decline your request.
You might get the suggestion to buy a dual sport bike instead of a dirt bike to avoid legal issues on the road. The process will surely look like a waste of time, effort, and money. Some might disagree depending on their dedication. If you cannot afford another bike and determined to ride your dirt bike to work so you can play after, do your homework. Start with a thorough study of where you live and it is always a great idea to have a connection with someone in the office.
Last but not least:
YOU NEED a motorcycle driver’s license or permit in order to ride your street legal dirt bike on the roads.
Get out and RIDE.