Dirt Bikes USA: What Are The Laws On Dirt Bikes
The mention of dirt bikes probably brings to mind the beautiful lightweight motorcycle, lots of dirt flying about in an off-road terrain, loud and roaring engine, helmets and wild riding gear.
However, as you think of all these exciting and thrilling activities, it is wise to find out whether one needs a license or a permit to have their dirt bikes on the road.
Do You Need a License to Drive a Dirt Bike
Yes. Most states will require you to have a license before riding out on a dirt bike. It is vital that you look into the laws and regulations before putting your bike on the road. You will need to stay on the right side of the law as well even as you engage in the sport.
Facts to Consider Before Putting Your Dirt Bike on the Road
As stated earlier, most states will require you to have a license especially if you intend to ride your bike on the highway. In most states, there is a cap on the age limit for dirt bike riders.
If the rider has not reached the legal age limit, then they may have to acquire a permit to start riding. In the US, the legal age is 16. Find out what the requirements for underage riders are ad comply before letting them ride their dirt bikes in public spaces.
Riding off-road or on private premises does not require a license or permit. If you want to cruise your dirt on the highway, you must have a license. Penalties for riding without a license are not lenient, as a matter of facts, in some states, they are quite harsh.
For example in Florida, it could attract up to 60 days in jail and fines of up to 500 Dollars. In Texas, riding without a license goes punished either as a misdemeanor or infraction. Misdemeanour will have you paying a fine of 1000 Dollars and up to six months in jail.
To earn your dirt bike license, it is obvious, as with every other license; you need to undergo proper training. Dirt biking could be a dangerous sport and you will be required to take the Dirt Bike Safety Training Course. This equips riders with basic riding and safety riding techniques.
The training is available in every state and you could check-up with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) where your nearest available classes are set up. The MSF DirtBike School has comprehensive classes for riders fro as young as six years old.
The Department of Public Safety has a list of the approved safety courses required for different states. Look up on the website so that you are well briefed on what course you are required to take.
Once you have completed the course, you will present the results to the Department of Public Safety and your license will be processed. The key is in ensuring you pass your test on the first try so you take less time training. If you already have a license from another state, you will just need to transfer it without undergoing the training.
Your Riding Terrain
Riding your dirt bike off-road and on the highway are two different things, with separate legal requirements. Riding off-road is pretty much a simple process, no complexities involved. Most states do not require license, registration or even insurance if you are going to ride off-road or on private property.
Getting your dirt bike out in public spaces is a whole entirely different ballgame. First, you have to ensure that your bike is Street Legal. Turning your dirt bike street legal requires a lot of modifications to your bike, including having license plates for it.
Different states have different legal requirements for street legal dirt bikes. You will need to ensure you conform to the specific state’s requirements before putting your bike on the highway.
There are of course the minimum federal requirements that are common across all states, besides these, ensure you do proper and well-detailed research to determine what else is required.
To make things easier, there are companies that are around to handle these transactions on your behalf. These services may not come cheap, but they are handy and hassle-free, especially if you are new to the state. They will handle all the documentation as you handle your dirt bike modification with your mechanic or dealer.
With having your bike on-road, depending on the state, you will need a plate, registration, insurance, and license. Riding a bike that is not street legal on-road will attract serious fines and penalties, including jail time.
How old are you and what is your state’s legal age of riding a dirt bike? This is important in determining whether you need a license or a permit to ride on-road.
Dirt bikes can be ridden by kids of all ages as they are already manufactured according to different sizes. Find one that is suitable for your child and have them trained accordingly. If riding off-road, you do not need to get either a license or permit for them.
What is the cost of getting a dirt bike license?
The cost of acquiring a dirt bike license varies across the different states and regions. It also will depend on the age of the rider in some states. Permits will cost from as little as 16 Dollars in some states, as well as licenses for young riders (16-Year-Olds).
Regular licenses (for 18-year-olds and over) will start from 25 Dollars. It is highly unlikely that they will go to more than 50 Dollars. In Texas, the costs are between 10 and 33 Dollars for the different types of licensing.
Transferring your license from another country or another region may or may not cost you depending on the state. If you have to pay, it is a minimal amount and will not go over 10 Dollars.
If moving it from a different country to the US, you may be required to take the safety riding test again, but if from one state to another this will not be necessary.
If the state requires you to register your bike for on-road riding, this will be a separate cost all together that is not charged with the licensing. Insurance for your dirt bike is also not inclusive in the license charge.
How long does it take to get your license?
Once you have complied with all the requirements and officially applied for the license, it will only take a few days to have it processed and ready for use. In some states, it may take up to a few weeks. More time is spent on training for the safety course and in taking the tests.
Once you have successfully completed these, it will be a pretty straightforward process. If you are already a registered driver, you can take the motorcycle safety course and upgrade your driver’s license. Once you complete the test you will get the M Class stamp certified on the license.
Riding Gear Requirements
Dirt biking can be termed an extreme sport. It is a dangerous sport and safety regulations have to be followed. Protective safety gear up is an important aspect of this sport and some basic safety rules have to be followed.
Helmets; these must be worn by both the rider and passenger if any. Only Sikhs are exempt from wearing helmets. Riding visors or goggles must be worn to protect the eyes and face in general, from dust, water, wind or flying objects, especially when riding off-road.
The rider’s jacket and pants must be made from leather. Standard rider’s boots are leather and knee-length. Kneepads can be worn to reinforce protection to the knees in case of an accident. Gloves must be worn too, to help keep a firm grip when riding. It is best to have ones made from leather as they will not tear easily in case of an accident.
You may get pulled over for not being properly geared up especially if you are not wearing a helmet. To avoid getting on the wrong side of the law, have all your documentation as well as be fully geared up.
Keep your dirt bike legal and happy
Dirt bikes are thrill-seeking machines and are rarely ridden by boring and homely people. The thrill comes with a lot of risks and hence it is important that you have all proper documentation covering both you and your bike.
In some states, riding them on the highway is illegal hence the strict laws. Before putting your dirt bike on the road, ensure you have a thorough knowledge of the laws and if possible, speak to a traffic officer.
By now, as this article winds up, you are probably well familiarised with the laws and regulations you have to comply with to have your bike on the right side of the law.
Besides the legal aspect of the dirt bike be sure to do as much research as possible on the maintenance of these machines and how to keep them running at optimum performance. Keep your dirt bike well maintained to keep yourself well protected.