Can you Make an ATV Street Legal?

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Riding ATVs and UTVs can be a lot of fun. For many riders in the United States, it begs the question: can you make an ATV or UTV street legal? 

Unfortunately the answer is not as clear cut as you may think. 

Making a dirt bike street legal is one thing, but making an ATV or UTV street legal is completely different. 

Riding an ATV on Paved Roads

For the most part, ATVs and UTVs are not designed to be driven on paved roads. 

They lack the safety features, handling, and speed to ride on paved surfaces safely. 

In fact, riding a quad on a paved road illegally is one of the top causes of ATV accidents. 

However, in places where ATVs and UTVs are more common, there are often rules for crossing highways and paved roads safely and legally. 

These regulations typically include:

  • Possessing the necessary ATV registration. 
  • Wearing the proper ATV riding gear
  • Coming to a complete stop before proceeding across the road. 
  • Yield to vehicles on the paved road. 
  • Cross at a 90-degree angle to the pavement. 
  • Having the proper lighting and equipment. 

Be aware that your quad or UTV will handle much differently on pavement than it does offroad. The risk of flipping over or losing control is much greater on paved surfaces unless heavy modifications have been made. 

Note, that you’ll need to obey any posted signs and carry the proper permits to cross a road or highway in your area. 

How to Make an ATV/UTV Street Legal

In many states, ATVs and UTVs that are manufactured and sold for off-road use are nearly impossible to make street legal.

Your easiest option for a street-legal off-road vehicle would be to purchase one that is already designed and sold for dual uses. 

Otherwise, your path to making your ATV street legal may be expensive and challenging. 

For places where the conversion is allowed, you’ll generally need to:

  • Equip your OHV with:
    • Brake lights.
    • Low/high headlights. 
    • Taillights. 
    • Turn signals.
    • Rear reflectors. 
    • Speedometer.
    • License plate mount and license plate light. 
    • An audible horn. 
    • An exhaust and muffler that meets sound level requirements. 
    • A rearview mirror. 
    • A proper seat and footrests for the rider, and a seatbelt if applicable. 
    • A DOT-approved fuel tank and gas cap. 
    • DOT-approved tires. 
    • A windshield. 
  • Abide by the same riding gear requirements as motorcyclists in the state. 
  • Pass a safety and emissions inspection. 
  • Complete a VIN verification. 
  • Carry an ATV/UTV liability insurance policy. 
  • Pay the applicable registration and title fees and state taxes. 

Again, in most states, converting an ATV or UTV to be registered as street-legal is a difficult, if not impossible process. 

Even in states and jurisdictions where you can make you ATV legal, there are still typically road restrictions where you can ride a street legal ATV.

Check Your State & Local Laws

ATV/UTV laws and regulations vary from state to state, and even within local jurisdictions within a state. 

You’ll need to check with your local laws before proceeding. 

In general, rural areas will typically have more provisions or options for street-legal off-highway vehicles than cities or urban centers. 

Riding your ATV or UTV on public roads without the proper equipment, permits, and/or registration is typically illegal and may carry heavy penalties.