Can You Use a Dirt Bike On The Roads In Florida
You know that riding dirt bikes in certain parts of town is illegal. Being a resident of the state of Florida with a brand new dirt bike, you are not sure where you can and cannot ride without breaking the law. Are Dirt Bikes Street legal in Florida?
What Is A Street Legal Dirt Bike
Dirt bikes are one of many types of motorcycles that are designed for off-road riding. They are made for unpaved roads and are usually lightweight machines. Other motorcycles are standard, sport, cruiser, and touring bikes.
One of the biggest drawbacks of investing in a dirt bike is that it cannot be used for everyday transport on US roads. Riding a dirt bike in its original form on the street is illegal in Florida. Owning a dirt bike can be inconvenient because you cannot use it for anything else.
Some modifications can be done to make a dirt bike street legal. A street-legal dirt bike includes the addition of headlights, tail lights, turn signals, mirrors, horns, and speedometers. However, please note that – these specific requirements may vary from state to state.
Check out THIS SEARCH for your area to see what it says.
Why Dirt Bikes?
Apart from the fact that dirt biking is one of the most exhilarating bike activities you could choose, there are some health benefits to enjoy.
It increases your heart rate to levels comparable to jogging or light endurance exercises. The average off-road ride raises your heart rate to the mid-130s, while a hilly ride with many obstacles helps you get your heart rate into the mid-150s.
Endurance and balance are enhanced because riding engages both your arm and leg muscles while bracing for bumps makes you tighten various muscles to maintain balance.
The one disadvantage to owning a dirt bike is that you cannot hop onto it and dash over to the store like you would with a car.
Riding these bikes on the street in most states, including Florida, is illegal.
How to Make Your Dirt Bike Street Legal in Florida
It must be mentioned that there are lots of street-legal dirt bikes available in the market for reasonable prices so buying one is an option.
However, if like many dirt bike owners you are too attached to your off-road only dirt bike but want to be a legal street rider, there are some modifications you can make to have your cake and eat it.
Different states have different specifications where these are concerned but you will be looking at modifications related to these components.
- Tail and brake lights
- Turn signals
You are required to install a DOT (Department of transport)-compliant headlight to enable you to ride comfortably and safely after dark.
This headlight must have switchable low and high beam options which can be used during the day and at night. It must also have an indicator light that tells the rider which of the two beams is engaged.
Tail Lights and Brake Lights
The ability to see where you are going is just as important as letting other drivers know where you are and when you intend to take a turn. The DOT insists that the rear light should be a backlight and a brake light.
Turn signals are not mandatory in Florida but are highly recommended for safety purposes. Although traditional hand signals do sometimes suffice, it is not advisable to ride without functional signals because some drivers may not be familiar with hand signaling.
Let’s not forget that these cannot be used at night when the rider is not clearly visible to other road users. Using one hand to communicate your intention to take a turn up ahead also forces the rider to control the bike with one hand and this compromises on safety.
Fitting Mirrors to a Dirt Bike
These are other components that are mandatory for the conversion of a dirt bike into a street-legal vehicle. All states require mirrors but differences arise in the number of mirrors required. In some states, you are only required to install one mirror while in others, you must have two.
In Florida, you only need one mirror, but two are always best. The bigger your picture of what is behind you, the easier your ride and the safer you stay.
There is a wide variety of options in the market. With mirrors, try to go as high as you can in terms of quality. Low-quality ones will give you sub-par visibility, and poor chrome and you will be dealing with rust in no time.
Fitting Horns To a Dirt Bike
It does sound strange but yes, a horn is a legal requirement for street-legal dirt bikes in all states. No, the traditional squeeze bulb hooter just won’t do. There is however a slight grey area in regards to this component.
In some states, a non-electric horn is acceptable while in others it must be a fully electric one. To be on the safe side, get yourself a fully electric horn.
Horn setups are inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to install.
Wouldn’t it be strange to be cruising down the road and have no idea how fast you are moving? With a speedometer, a quick glance tells you exactly how fast you are moving. Getting stopped for speeding could easily happen if you have no way of keeping track.
Fitting Road Legal Tires
Dirt bikes are not designed for the road, so their tires differ from those of on-road vehicles. Their rubber is not strong enough to handle highway speeds. All vehicles in the country legally on the road have tires that meet strict DOT requirements.
You will need a different set of tires to make your dirt bike street compliant. It doesn’t matter what type or brand of tires you choose as long as they have the DOT seal of approval, which is usually on the tire’s sidewall.
Motorcycle Laws in Florida
Every state has slightly different laws when it comes to operating motorcycles. Here are some key highlights of motorcycle laws in Florida.
Motorcycle Endorsement: This can also be referred to as a motorcycle license. Being licensed to drive a car in Florida doesn’t mean you can legally ride a motorcycle.
You must first have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit to obtain an endorsement. Afterward, you must take a rider safety training course, usually the MSF Basic Rider Course.
Upon completing the course, you must visit a DMV office where your driver’s license is endorsed. Motorcycle endorsement means that your Florida driver’s license has added the words ‘Motorcycle Also’ or ‘Motorcycle Only’.
Helmets and Eye Protection
The universal motorcycle helmet requirement, which required all motorcycle users to wear a securely fastened helmet, was repealed by Florida in 2000. Now, it is only mandatory to wear a helmet for riders below the age of 21.
A rider aged 21 and above is legally permitted to ride without a helmet on the condition they are covered by an insurance policy that can provide at least $10,000 in medical benefits. Such benefits must include payments for injuries incurred due to a motorcycle accident.
Helmets being optional, eye protection is mandatory for all riders regardless of age. The law is in place to protect riders from foreign objects entering the eye while riding.
Florida allows anyone over the age of 16 years with a valid class E driver’s license to operate a motorcycle.
If they are under 21, they must have a different, unique plate tag that identifies them as such. What is most commonly used is a plain white plate with the words ‘under 21’ in large, bright red letters.
So are Dirt Bikes Street legal in Florida? They are illegal in their original form but can be modified to make them legal.
This modification is not difficult but will cost you a fair amount of money and time for installations. Most requirements are the same for almost all states, but some particular details apply to Florida only.
If you live in Florida and wish to convert your dirt bike into a street-legal vehicle, check specific state requirements to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.