All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and dirt bikes are designed to be driven off-road on grass, dirt, clay, sand, and other natural terrain. But if you own an ATV or dirt bike, or if you’ve seen someone driving one, you may have wondered if it’s legal to drive them on a paved road or street, especially if you’re planning to drive it to your off-roading location.
Dirt Bikes and ATVs Can Be Driven on Select Roads and For Select Purposes
According to Oklahoma Statute 47-1151, “all-terrain vehicles may be operated on unpaved roads which are located within the boundaries of any property of the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.”
A subsection of the statute states that some cities and local municipalities may allow golf carts and ATVs to be driven on public streets when they are owned by the local government or when a local ordinance has been passed specifically permitting their usage. However, they may then only be driven during daylight hours.
In addition, “an all-terrain vehicle may be operated upon public streets and highways if the vehicle needs to make a direct crossing of the street or highway while the vehicle is traveling upon a regularly traveled trail and needs to continue travel from one area of the trail to another.”
Essentially, it may be legal in some circumstances on local roads, but you definitely cannot take one on the highway. Instead, you will need to transport your ATV or dirt bike to your destination by trailer. In general, it is better to err on the side of caution and only drive on designated trails.
There Are Rules for Crossing Public Streets on an ATV or Dirt Bike
The statute goes on to say that drivers of ATVs and dirt bikes crossing public streets must come to a complete stop before exiting their trails while also yielding right-of-way to all traffic on the public streets they’re attempting to cross. When crossing, they must do so as directly as possible to rejoin the trail they were traveling on.
In addition to these requirements, ATV and dirt bike riders also must keep three other rules in mind:
- Crossing is prohibited on streets or highways with posted speed limits of more than 35 mph
- Drivers may cross public streets or highways only if they have valid driver licenses
- Crossing is only allowed during daylight hours
What is Considered an All-Terrain Vehicle in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma defines an all-terrain vehicle as “a motorized vehicle manufactured and used exclusively for off-highway use which is sixty (60) inches or less in width, with an unladen dry weight of one-thousand five-hundred (1,500) pounds or less, traveling on two or more low-pressure tires.”
Dirt Bikes May Become Street Legal If Modified or Designed for Road Usage
Most motorcycles that are considered dirt bikes aren’t street legal because they aren’t designed for road use. However, dirt bikes CAN be street legal provided they meet two criteria:
- They have been modified to be driven on roads
- They are dual-sport bikes/street legal dirt bikes by default
In order for any dirt bike to be street legal, it must have a VIN and be registered and titled. It also must have a valid license plate and be equipped with a speedometer, headlight, and taillight. In addition, its driver must have a valid motorcycle endorsement on their driver license.
Are There Laws for Riding ATVs and Dirt Bikes Offroad?
There are no rules for riding ATVs and dirt bikes offroad on private property. However, riders must abide by posted signs and rules for riding offroad on public land, including state parks and other areas where dirt bikes and ATVs are allowed.
Although there are no laws on private property, all riders should still wear a helmet, never exceed the weight limit for an ATV or dirt bike, and never allow more passengers than the vehicle is designed to carry. Small children should also never drive ATVs or dirt bikes, and older children should only ride under supervision and after receiving hands-on training from an experienced adult.
We’re Here to Help After ATV and Dirt Bike Accidents and Injuries
Despite ATVs and dirt bikes being illegal to ride on the street in most cases in Oklahoma, people still do it. And others may ride offroad illegally or dangerously, whether on public or private land. At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we’ve seen firsthand how serious injuries caused by ATV and dirt bike accidents can be for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
If you or someone you love gets injured in an ATV or dirt bike accident, whether you were riding one or were struck by one, we want to help. Our Oklahoma auto and motorcycle accident lawyers can investigate the accident, determine who was at fault, and work hard to help you get maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.