What Do I Have to Do to Make My ATV Street Legal?
Have you ever seen someone riding their ATV down the street or even the highway and thought, Man, how do I get in on that action? Well, the answer isn’t simple. Whether you want to use your ATV as a main mode of transportation or you just want to traverse trail systems without having to load your ATV onto a trailer, getting it street legal can be tricky.
Every state has different rules and regulations for what makes your ATV legal to ride on the street. Even once it is street legal, it’s still not legal to ride it everywhere. Some towns have regulations for which streets it is absolutely not okay to ride your ATV on. Usually, it pertains to more residential places and areas near schools or hospitals, but it can vary.
Why Do I Want a Street Legal ATV?
Well, truth be told, some people don’t. If you don’t live in an area with lots of trail systems around or close by, it’s probably not worth the hassle to convert your ATV. But for some people, loading up their ATV on a trailer to change between every trail system is enough to make you want to pull your hair out.
Basically, what makes most people want to convert their ATV is the factor of convenience. You’re always going to be the best judge of how convenient or inconvenient riding in your area is, but before you make the decision, let’s look into what it takes to convert your ride into a road-worthy monster.
Rules and Regulations for Street Legal ATVs
Before you make any serious considerations, see what your state laws have to say regarding how to make your ATV legal to ride on the street or highway. However, some states don’t have laws pertaining to the whole state. Instead, it may be on the towns and/or counties to make specific regulations. Now, while you think you might have found a loophole, what it really means is that you need to check with your town or county to find out how to get yourself on the asphalt.
Check out this quick run down by a police officer of what makes an ATV street legal. Again, all states vary, but this can give you a general sense of what it takes.
What Modifications Do I Need to Make My ATV Street Legal?
While we can’t speak for every state, this is a general list of the things you will probably need to acquire to make your ATV ready for the road.
ATV tires were not designed to drive on the street. Maybe this isn’t surprising to you, but this is one of the first things you need to consider before getting that ATV on the highway. Street Tires are going to give you a better grip on the asphalt, and that’s going to do a lot of work for your stopping power.
Make sure your tires are street legal by looking for the DOT approved code that is printed on the sidewalls of your tires. Finding a good set of street tires can be difficult because they tend to sacrifice some off-road handling capabilities. But shop around, because there are plenty of good ones out there. Make your ride the true meaning of an All Terrain Vehicle.
We’re talking the whole nine, front and rear. Headlights, brake lights, lights for your license plate holder, everything. For the same reason, you’re going to get pulled over in your car for not having headlights, same goes for your ATV. It’s as simple as safety.
You’re probably also going to need turn signals for your ATV. Again, seems like a no brainer, if you want people to not crash into you on the street, you’re going to want them to know when you’re turning.
Speaking of not crashing into people, you’re going to need a way to communicate with other vehicles on the road. Horns are required in almost every state. Even if they’re not, it’s a good thing to think about having for your ATV.
Most states require you to have at least two rear-view mirrors for your vehicle. These are going to go on either side of the ATV to increase the field of vision behind you. You’re never going to get out of the way of that rogue car if you can’t see it coming behind you!
Most mirrors are made of either plastic or aluminum. Plastic mirrors are generally cheaper but can get damaged more easily. It can definitely be worth the extra cash for the aluminum upgrade to prolong the time before you have to get new ones.
This one is easy because most ATV’s already have mudflaps on them. But it can be a major safety concern if you don’t. You can’t be spraying the cars behind you with dirt and rocks… no matter how many times they tried to cut you off.
Speaking of getting hit with a rock, you don’t want it to happen to you either. Most states require some sort of windshield for your ATV or UTV. Some places will let you get away with simply using proper eye protection, like goggles.
Again, this may not apply to all states, but lots of them want you to have a muffler to quiet your braaaps just a little bit. On the other hand, some states just require you to have a spark arrestor.
The Legal Side
So apart from the accessories to convert your ride, there’s also the legal side to think about. Nothing exotic, just your usual suspects.
Most states want you to have insurance for your vehicle. It also needs to be registered (that’s right, look out for those registration fees), which of course means you need it to be inspected as well. And obviously, if you’re going through all this, you’re going to need…yep, you guessed it! A driver’s license.
Is It Worth It to Make My ATV Street Legal?
So now you have a very basic undertaking of what is required to make your ATV a highway vehicle. It’s not going to be worth it for everybody, and it’s going to require some research. Think about what’s worth riding to from your home, and also look into how much it will cost you.
There are street legal ATV accessory kits available for purchase that can put it all in one convenient place. If you’re a person who likes to make custom modifications, this can at least give you a ballpark idea of the costs.
Most importantly, check with your local government about the costs and regulations in place where you are. This, above all else, is probably going to be the deciding factor on whether or not to make your ATV “street legal”.
So consider your options and your pricing. And hey, when you’re tearing wheelies down Main street, send us a picture! Our TMS Parts team LIVES for that stuff!