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Are ATVs Street Legal?

Screaming down the highway on your off-road ATV has probably been a closely-guarded dream from the day you first sat down to pilot the machine around the yard. Sadly, if you are like most of us, you probably assumed this was a pipe dream and could never be. ATVs are for the forest or the farm, right? Surprisingly enough, that’s actually not the case anymore – activists are pushing for less restrictions over the operation of ATVs and other multi-terrain and recreational motor vehicles and manufacturers are building vehicles that incorporate more and more features and parts that are required on road worthy automobiles nowadays. All this adds up to a great landscape for the future of your expanded riding privileges. It is altogether possible that your prized rig may only need a few minor aftermarket or Polaris OEM parts to complete the package and get ripping on the road.

Manufacturers are transitioning into the business of selling road conversions kits, meaning that no matter where you live you can likely get your ATV out on the roads with a little elbow grease and ingenuity. It is essential to check off each step on the list to ensure that your ATV is street legal before taking it out for a test drive. The cost of modifications might be minimal or sound expensive depending on the model you are currently operating, but either of these feelings will pale in comparison to that first or even second ticket that you have to pay off after you get caught by that less than friendly traffic cop that seems to have your number. This is a natural reaction to changing times, and police all over the country are cracking down on illegally operated vehicles of this nature, specifically because unregistered vehicles are more likely to be driven recklessly than those that have been properly outfitted in the care of a responsible owner.

The first thing you will need is a little light reading; some states have continuing de facto bans on the road use of vehicles that don’t incorporate coverings over tires, are windshield-less, or a variety of other small features that are not included in the design of ATVs as a broadly defined group of vehicles. However, licensing your vehicle in another state can serve as a workaround for picky bans that would otherwise prevent you from enjoying the open road on your favorite recreational vehicle. The best way to figure out whether you will have to be crafty is to check in with the regulations of your state’s Department of Transportation regarding roadworthy transportation. It is entirely likely that nothing of the sort will be necessary, but you won’t know until you check it out.

Once you have identified the licensure procedures necessary, you can get started on the essentials to make your ATV road-ready. Staples such as headlights and turning signals with functional hand paddles are a given. You will also need a horn and mirrors. These are all simple to install and are increasingly becoming cheaper as more riders begin to find joy in their newfound riding habits.

There are a few final considerations to make though before you get out on the road. Some states have implemented additional measures to ensure the safety of all motorists. The best way to learn whether you are allowed on the Interstate Highway is not to eat the cost of a ticket while learning the hard way. Consider local restrictions while you are browsing your state’s licensing procedures before even beginning the alterations to ensure you are in compliance with the law, and maybe more importantly, with common sense safety procedures.

There is no longer any reason why you can’t extend the joy of riding around the countryside with your favorite pastime. Spend the weekend bringing your ATV up to compliance with local law and get the most out of your riding experience.