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Dirt Biking Laws

By Phil Whitmer ; Updated October 25, 2017

While most state, on-road motorcycle laws are similar, state laws covering off-road dirt biking and trail riding vary widely from state to state. Some states have many rules concerning dirt biking while other states have no regulations at all.

Paperwork

Most states have similar laws covering the registration and titling of on- and off-road motorcycles. Before you can legally dirt bike, many states require titles, registration, and proof of liability insurance Operators' licenses are required for on road motorcycles, but usually are not required for dirt biking.

State Laws

States have two sets of laws for on and off-road bikes. In some states, helmets are required on the road, but not off-road. If biking off-road on state land, the rules are set by the individual states concerning lights, mufflers and maximum sound levels. Spark arrestors are required on many state and federal lands. Dirt biking age limits vary widely.

Federal Laws

Western states with Bureau of Land Management administered areas have public lands designated as "off-highway vehicle open areas" allowing unconfined vehicle use where dirt bikes may be ridden on trails and back roads. Many federal recreation areas and National Forests allow seasonal, restricted dirt biking, sometimes charging fees.

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