Where Can I Ride My Dirt Bike Legally? [Answered]
Riding dirt bikes is exciting, but you cannot ride them anywhere. There are specific rules and regulations at play when riding a dirt bike. Usually, these laws and regulations vary from one state to another.
Before riding a dirt bike, you should follow the state’s legal requirements. In this article, I will show you some common legal locations to ride a dirt bike without breaking any rules.
I am an experienced dirt rider and have been on the street for over ten years. I know the ins and outs of riding situations and can help you discover places to ride your dirt bike legally.
Table of Contents
Where Are You Allowed To Ride A Dirt Bike?
There are places where you can ride a dirt bike legally without breaking any laws. These places include private property, public motocross tracks, and National forests. BLM land and state vehicle recreational areas are also included.
There are many other places, too, as you will discover in the section below.
13 Places Where You are Legally Allowed to Ride a Dirt Bike
Finding a legal place to ride a dirt bike can be challenging. This is due to the many rules and regulations at play. In this section, I will show you 13 places where you can ride a dirt bike legally.
1. Private Property
You can legally ride on private property when you own the land or have a permit from the landowner. You will need a registration even when riding on private property. Also, some states require people under 18 years to undertake two tests, the recreational vehicle and responsibility program tests. It’s also important to note that you might need to get permission in advance from your neighbors so that you don’t disturb them during certain hours of the day.
2. Public Motocross Tracks
Depending on where you live, you might be able to find public motocross tracks in your neighborhood. These tracks are a wonderful place to legally ride your dirt bikes because they contain obstacle courses, especially if you’re an advanced rider.
Many motocross tracks include rollers, tabletops, step-ups, and step-downs. They also have elevation changes, jumps, and practice tracks. Still, please note that they can be dangerous for beginners, especially those new to dirt bikes. So if you are a novice rider, try to be careful and choose motocross tracks with minimal obstacles.
3. National Forests
National forests often have special trails you can access on a dirt bike, but just be sure to carry a valid license or learner’s permit. Before dirt biking in a national forest, it would be best to know its rules. Some forests don’t allow people to ride their bikes during specific months or seasons, while Federal regulations also require riders to ride in specified areas. There also may be specific rules and regulations to keep the rider and wildlife safe, so be sure not to ride in a way that harms or damages the vegetation or wildlife.
Check out this article on Can You Paint a Motorcycle Helmet? And Is It Legal? by Bikers Rights.
4. BLM Land
You can also legally ride a dirt bike on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. These pieces of land allow riders to explore dirt bike trails and open spaces.
The BLM regulates the use of land, trails, and roads. Therefore, ensure you obey all signs and stick to marked areas identified on the Motor Vehicle Use Map. Every rider has to follow the state’s driving regulations when riding a dirt bike on BLM land. The appropriate national agency should register your bike. Also, ensure that you follow the standard noise pollution and emission control rules.
5. State Vehicle Recreation Areas
State vehicle recreation areas are scattered around the US and are suitable for legally riding your dirt bike. They have a variety of thrilling terrains for dirt bikes. The landscape ranges from flat, open grasslands to rolling hills. A great feature of the state vehicle recreation area is that it is specifically designed for outdoor recreation, including dune buggies, motorcycles, and ATVs.
Riding dirt bikes on campgrounds is exhilarating. It is not just for fun, but you get to experience the grandeur and beauty of nature while camping. Many campgrounds are located on BLM land and in national forests.
Please check whether you can ride your dirt bike legally in a campground in your state because you don’t want to interfere with other people or accidentally wander into privately-owned land. Ensure you ride on the assigned trails, so you don’t interfere with nature and its wildlife! Your dirt bike should also have an exhaust sound level limit. The spark arrestor should also be US Forest Service Approved, and ensure you carry a possible membership fee.
7. Sand Dunes
Sand dunes are the perfect place to ride a dirt bike legally. You only need a recreation permit and be at least 16 years of age. Dunes are primarily located in deserts or coastal regions. You will need a safety flag to be visible to other riders out in the dunes. Wearing a pair of protective glasses is a good idea to protect your eyes from getting sand in them!
8. Converted Railroad Tracks
For long-distance dirt bike riding, converted railroad trails are the ideal legal places to ride. The trails are often covered in crushed stones or gravel, while others remain dirt. Some organizations, like the Rail Explorers, have taken up the reconstruction of the railroads. The paths are for outdoor activities like dirt biking, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding.
Consider riding on a beach if you want to let loose on a dirt bike. It’s worth noting that most beaches will have enforced speed limits, so ensure you adhere to the rules if you ride your dirt bike on a beach! Additionally, you might find it hard to legally ride your bike along the ocean if you aren’t a registered rider.
10. Backyard Courses
You can ride legally in your backyard without a permit or bike registration. Riding in the backyard is fun because you can change the track to have bumps and obstacle courses.
However, you will still need to follow specific rules, especially those related to noise levels and carbon emissions. While riding, it is best to do it between 9 am and 3 pm. Electric bikes are ideal for backyard riding as they do not produce sound or cause pollution. Ensure you are familiar with the surroundings to avoid any danger. Check out for obstacles such as fences, trees, and anything that can make you fall. Also, make sure to wear your riding gear to keep safe.
11. Private Roads
Most private roads are ideal for riding standard dirt bikes legally and only with the owner’s permission. They make great racing tracks, especially in areas with no paved roads. Though riding a dirt bike on private roads is legal, you should take a technique course. You also have to keep your movements predictable for other riders to avoid causing a crash.
12. Off-season Ski Hills
Some off-season ski hills offer a variety of activities, tracks, and courses. They even hold dirt bike events or competitions during the off-months. Ski hills are the perfect place for dirt bike riders like you to practice your riding skills when the weather is warm and nice.
13. Converted Skate Parks
Parks are sometimes filled with dirt or sand when they close over lengthy periods, creating an excellent opportunity for you to take your dirt bike out for a spin. They are primarily unsupervised facilities. But, if you are an experienced rider, this place suits you.
Ensure you ride your dirt bike carefully, so you do not injure yourself on the ledges of the skate park.
Places You Should Never Ride a Dirt Bike
There are places you should not ride your dirt bike on. This is because it could be unsafe or it is illegal.
You should avoid riding dirt bikes on sidewalks since the wheels on dirt bikes are only meant for off-road terrains. Also, dirt bikes do not have warning horns to alert pedestrians when riding behind them. They even lack mirrors to check behind you to see what’s coming.
Riding on wildlife reserves is also prohibited by law. When riding in a forest, be on the lookout. The rules are to protect the wildlife at risk.
Additionally, stay away from private property if you do not have permission to ride there. You could get prosecuted for trespassing and causing damage to the property.
Do You Need A License For Riding A Dirt Bike Legally?
Generally, in many states, you will only need a motorcycle license if you plan on riding a dirt bike on public roads. You will also need a permit as the operator of the motorcycle.
However, if you intend to ride the bike off-road, there is no need for a license. Underage riders must be under a guardian’s supervision whenever they are riding.
Registering bikes differs by state. You can always check with your DMV for the requirement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Ride a Dirt Bike on the Road?
Riding dirt bikes on public roads, residential areas, or city sidewalks is illegal. This is because they come without the necessary equipment like headlights, turn signals, or tail lights that make them legal to drive on public roads. They also lack rearview mirrors, functional horns, and in some cases, insurance.
Can You Ride a Mini Bike in a Neighborhood?
Riding a mini bike is illegal because they lack the safety equipment that motorbikes have. It would be best to ride it on private property if the local laws and landowner permits you to do so. Otherwise, you can limit your rides to off-road tracks and trails to be on the safer side of the law.
Is There a Fine for Dirt Biking on Public Roads?
In most areas, riding a dirt bike on public roads can result in consequences. You get fined and will likely receive a ticket. The bike may also be confiscated with your driving license, depending on the state laws. If you have no license, it could affect your chances of applying for one in the future. When the authority tows the bike, you will have to pay the impounding storage fee to get it back. You might even get charged extra for noise disturbance and air pollution.
Understanding the laws enforced by the local and state authorities is key if you want to ride your dirt bike legally. There are several places where you can ride a dirt bike without breaking any rules, as this article shows. Still, it’s worth remembering that you must research dirt biking rules and regulations in your respective state, mainly so that you don’t face any trouble from your local authorities. If you don’t, you may get a penalty of money, go to jail, or even undergo punishment by the court if you ride a dirt bike illegally. You can check the state’s transport department website for their requirements or visit the local offices.Pro Tip: Dirt bikes are for off-road use. In many states, you will have to make them street-legal. The law stipulates that street-legal dirt bikes should have mechanical and non-mechanical elements. These include turn signals, headlights, rearview mirrors, functional horns, brake lights, and tail lights.