How to Make a Dirt Bike Street Legal

Street Legal Dirt Bike Guide

There are many ways you can maximize the fun and enjoyment you get from riding your dirt motorbike. You could decide to engage in off-road riding or just take a decent cruise in the streets. One common desire among dirt bike lovers is to ride from the rugged lands to the streets.

The only thing that largely restricts this desire is the many laws and regulations that are present in different states. Before you can drive any vehicle in public, you must meet up with specific rules and regulations – regulations also exist for parking.

You must familiarize yourself with the set-down rules for your state before you go on to ride.

State Regulations

To stop unwarranted vehicles from plying the streets, some states have come up with different regulations. The regulations in speed and other requirements vary from state to state. In the United States, the FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) is used.

There are other requirements by every state’s Department of Transportation. The D.O.T might outline its peculiar requirements for road-worthiness in that state. It is a must that every biker passes through all the stages and required processes, regardless of where they built their bikes.

Making a dirt bike become street legal is not a heavy task in itself; what it requires is just a few parts, accessories, and parts that are bolt-on. The headache of the process lies in obtaining the paperwork or getting permission from the vehicle office downtown. It could almost be impossible trying to process this permission from the local motor office.

The following are the parts that they will probably ask you to add to the dirt bike to make it street legal:

  • Turn signals
  • Brake lights
  • Headlights
  • License plates
  • Reflectors
  • DOT-registered Tires
  • DOT-accredited gears (in some states)
  • Helmets (depending on the state)

Turn Signals

The first thing to note is the peculiar requirement of the state in which you will be driving your bike. There are various requirements by different states regarding how turn lights should be mounted and where they should be placed. In some states, they require drivers to place turn signals both at the rear and at the front of the bike.

Regulations also exist regarding the distance between the turn signals and the distance between the ground and turn signals. Other states may require that at the rear of your bike, you should have just red turn signals. Also, possessing a self-canceling feature will be of great importance to put out the siren when you’ve made a turn.

It is a wise choice to make when you decide to make use of turn signals as these LED lights do not consume much power and are available. These turn signals are readily available in portable sizes.


The primary requirement by most states is that this motorcycle should have reflectors at the rear. They may also require mirrors, both at the front and at the back of the motorbike. It may seem like a lame decision by the state, but it is certainly vital for your safety.

Whenever the light from other vehicles strikes the street motorcycle with front and rear headlights, people can easily see the driver even in low light. Reflectors are also easy to install, as they only require that you adhere them to a flat surface using their adhesive side. Also available are reflector strips that can be fastened to the space carved out for reflectors.

You must be aware of the size of the reflectors that must have been specified by your state.

Brake Lights

There are lots of taillight brands and products that give pretty good illumination. The general requirement by most states is that there should be just one motor brake light. You might decide not to buy a double sports kit, but the effect of this is that you may have to get a threaded-banjo-bolted brake light switch.

This bolt is where you mount your caliper, and its wire lead is fused into the wiring of the brake light. The hydraulic pressure that passes the banjo bolt triggers the lights to be turned on when applied.


Many people are fond of calling taillights running lights; taillights are helpful to make other drivers see you, especially in low-light scenarios. They fix these lights to the back of the motorcycle and are very important if you are riding at night. Most states require that you put just one motorcycle taillight.


As long as you want to hit the road, there is a need to see and to be seen by the other drivers. Therefore, the need for a headlight cannot be overemphasized, and there are many factors to consider when you want to install one. 

It is possible that your dirt bike never came with a headlight in the first place or cannot even keep one on. To have a properly functioning headlight, you should make a few upgrades to your stator to ensure that your bike can adequately supply your headlight.

Owning a new stator is like having a new bike altogether; every part (headlight, taillight, brake lights, and turn signals) will operate at maximum capacity. Baja Designs and Rick’s Motorsports are two trusted companies that provide replacement stators that can generate more current to power your lights.

The D.O.T requires that every headlight be updated, and the lights used must be able to shuttle between low and high beam.

There are three valid options for headlights if you want to have an efficient lighting system. The two of these systems that stand out include HIDs and LEDs. These two headlights are very efficient and can help in the management of your bike’s power.

We also know HIDs and LEDs to be long-lasting and durable even in the face of vibration. It is essential that whatsoever you might pick for your headlight is D.O.T legal.


It is not difficult to install a horn to your dirt bike; the only thing you need is to consciously supply the power source. An effective power source has to be put in place to sustain the horn you have just installed. One other option is to put a motorcycle battery into place and then make sure it is properly charged.

The horn that is required for your motorbike is not the same as the one you must have used for your bicycle when you were a teenager. The requirement by your state is what is in question here, find out the intensity of the horn sound required. If there is a policy by your state on equipping your motorbike with a horn to make it street legal, follow the requirements given.

DOT-approved Motorcycle Tires

In most states, it is compulsory to make use of DOT tires, and the good thing is that most of these tires are also good for off-road use. Identifying a D.O.T tire is very easy- go on to check the sidewall of the tires to observe the D.O.T letters. Manufacturers are in the habit of making dirt bikes with tires that have dual functions- off-road and on-road.

Manufacturers label these tires with numbers or percentages that show their use, e.g., 90/10, 50/50, and 70/30, etc. If they label a tire 90/10, it could mean that they designed it to be used 90% off the road and 10% on the road. Bikes designed this way have quite an aggressive tread for off-road use and can also thrive well down the street.

You will find it helpful if your aim for the bike is to drive it to and from your workplace and enjoy a wonderful ride on the weekend. 


Let’s face it; your dirt bike makes a lot of noise while you drive., think of the noise pollution it will cause to the surrounding residents. Here is where mufflers come in- they help keep out the noise from your bike when you begin to drive. Your state would give a complete guide or restriction regarding the sound intensity of your bike.

Before you get the tags that certify that your bike is street legal, you might also need to pass your motorbike through emissions or smog testing.

Holder for The License Plate

There are loads of fender kits that are present for you to mount your license plate. Make sure you choose a kit that has all that your bike requires for it to be street legal in your state. You will need a license plate holder alongside a replacement fender plus a plate light.

It is crucial to have a light for your license plate so it would be visible to the LEOs at night.

There are different regulations and laws set up by different states regarding making use of a dirt bike. For some states, the requirement is that you must meet all the conditions of the FMVSS regarding several components of the motorbike. The regulations cover individual units such as reflectors, brake lights, headlights, and turn signals.

Other components include exhaust, rims, speedometer, mirrors (rear view), and rims. For your bike to be registered, some states will require you to include several other types of equipment or undergo further inspection. Does your state have regulations for your motorbike as a legal street bike or dual sport? That is what you should first try to find out.

The place to search out this information is your state’s website for motor vehicles. Find out this information from the park of your state, its recreation page, and the motorcycle recreation page. When you find that your state has regulations and requirements stated, print out the information and make a list.

To confirm the accuracy of your research, put a call through to your state’s vehicle department. If, for instance, you get a piece of recent information other than that from the website, make sure you give the details about it. Tell the department’s representative what you got and where on the website you got it. 

The singular action of your feedback to the department will determine the rate at which you will process your license plate. 

Motorcycle Mirrors

If motorcycle mirrors are required by your state, the best bet is to fix up a mirror on the left side of your bike- all you need is one.

It is undeniably true that the process involved in making your bike licensed is tedious and demanding. However, to better understand the process, there are two main classifications or categories based on emissions regulations. These two categories are:

  • Off-road use
  • Street use

As the law requires, every motorcycle manufacturer has to attach a permanent sticker to show its use. Various states are strict with this policy, e.g., Oregon. Once your bike doesn’t meet the street requirement in those states, you would not be allowed to make use of it.

It is also different in some other states, as street bike licensing might be a grey area; the requirements may be unclear. That is why you have the sole duty of conducting thorough research before diving into the project. A state that will permit you to play around with a dirt bike in Colorado, just after you have successfully filled the forms.

The following forms and requirements would be demanded of you by the Colorado department for motor vehicles licensing:

  • Colorado-Certified VIN inspection form
  • Colorado Certificate of Equipment Compliance for Motorcycles
  • Notarized Bill of Sale
  • The Dealer’s invoice
  • Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin
  • Insurance proof

For some of these documents, alongside filling in the information accurately, you also need to be approved by a Certified Inspector (VIN). 

At some point, it appeared as though there was a miscommunication or somewhat a confusion between the ARB and California’s DMV. At that time, the DMV used to permit dirt bikes without having the required certification. It also identified them to have passed the requirements and standards of the ARB for bikes to be registered.

After the long and confusing activity, the ARB and DMV changed the narrative on the 31st of December 2003. Through an advisory published by ARB, any highway vehicle that was manufactured without a sticker showing its specific use was not permitted.

They stated that any highway motorbike that does not have the sticker to prove that it meets the highway-emission qualifications, should not be driven. There have been occasions when specific bike riders go to places like Arizona and plate their bikes and then come to a place like California. Things will seem to go in your favor until you get to meet an experienced LEO who is very conversant with dirt bikes.

Having your bike become street legal is just one step; there are many other things you need to do to keep your bike on the highway. First, you will require a motorcycle operators’ or driver’s license, and you must therefore be of legal age. If you have the authorization already, there will be a need to also obtain the endorsement for your motorcycle.

Another paperwork you might have to tender to the vehicle office is valid insurance or liability.


In this post, we have covered almost everything that you will require to make your dirt bike become street legal. The only thing we hope for right now is that your state makes dirt bikes street legal so you can enjoy adventure cycling.