Are Electric Dirt Bikes Street Legal? Yes, But...: A Comprehensive Guide to Making Your Bike Legit
A devoted road and gravel cyclist and all-around gearhead, Josh has been riding and writing about electric scooters for the past five years. He’s generally happier on two wheels than two legs. When Josh isn’t writing or wrenching, he’s usually out on the road….
Cyclists confront electric dirt bikers with safety concerns about motorcycles on bike trails…
The scene has become familiar and gets replayed over and over for laughs or gasps, depending on your point of view… as a cyclist myself, I’m sympathetic to the old schoolers. However, I agree that an attitude of Not on My Path (NOMP) has taken over among cyclists who resent e-bikers scaling hills they’ve struggled to claim.
Although it’s frustrating to see batteries and motors take over for so much human effort, envy is no reason to ban electric bikes from bike paths, lanes, trails, etc. When it comes to e-dirt bikes, however, the NOMPies have it right.
An extra boost of electric motor power to supplement your pedaling is one thing, but electric dirt bikes can hit speeds of 70 mph, or somewhere around twice as fast as the fastest rider on an analogue bike. Getting away from dangerous high-speed traffic, after all, was the reason bike lanes, paths, and trails were invented.
Where does this leave electric dirt bikers? Well, there are many off-road trails open to motorized bikes. And electric dirt bikes are often legal on public roads!
Electric dirt bikes are similar to Class 4 e-bikes, except they don’t have pedals, and they’re generally covered under the same set of laws.
Street legality for e dirt bikes depends on a few factors, which we’ll cover below.
Understanding the Road-Worthiness of Electric Dirt Bikes
Electric dirt bikes are primarily designed for off-road riding and may not meet the necessary requirements for street use.
Factors such as lighting, tires, mirrors, and safety equipment play a crucial role in determining a vehicle’s road-worthiness.
It is essential that you check with local authorities to understand the specific regulations in your area.
When it comes to the road-worthiness of electric dirt bikes, there are several important factors to consider. One of the key aspects is lighting.
Street-legal motorcycles are required to have headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals to ensure visibility and safety on public roads.
Electric dirt bikes, on the other hand, may not come equipped with these essential lighting features, making them unsuitable for street use.
Tires are another critical consideration. Off-road dirt bikes typically have knobby tires designed for traction on uneven terrain. These tires may not provide the necessary grip and stability required for safe street riding.
Street-legal motorcycles, on the other hand, have specialized tires that are designed to provide optimal performance on paved surfaces, ensuring better control and maneuverability.
Many off-road electric bikes can be purchased with tires designed for road riding, or road tires can be mounted after purchase.
In addition to lighting and tires, mirrors are also an important aspect of road-worthiness. Street-legal motorcycles are required to have rearview mirrors to provide riders with a clear view of the traffic behind them.
Electric dirt bikes may not come equipped with mirrors, which can pose a safety risk on public roads where awareness of surrounding vehicles is crucial. Make sure you can purchase mirror attachments for your bike to make it street legal.
Street-legal motorcycles are required to have safety features such as horn, speedometer, and a license plate holder. These features ensure that riders can effectively communicate with other road users, comply with speed limits, and display proper identification.
Electric dirt bikes may not have these typical road safety features, making them non-compliant with road traffic laws.
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
Just like cars, all street-legal motorcycles must have a VIN (vehicle identification number), so that they can be registered with the DMV.
If you’re shopping around for a road-worthy electric dirt bike, check with the manufacturer to make sure it has a VIN.
Street Legal Electric Dirt Bikes
A 72V carbon-frame champ, the Solar E-Clipse has a Rider Guide-tested top speed of 57.8 mph, a tested range of 61.3 miles, and a swappable battery to help you keep going.
This street-legal e-dirt bike comes with optional road tires, which you should get if you’re primarily planning to ride your E-Clipse on the road.
The E-Clipse is a roadworthy bike that will definitely make you wish you had a longer commute.
Sur Ron Light Bee X
Sur Ron has become a top name in electric dirt bikes, and the 60V, 104-pound, street legal Light Bee X is one of the reasons why.
With a top speed of 45 mph and range of 40 to 60 miles, this bike is excellent for commuting around town, and it can be made street legal with mirror attachments and registration.
Sur Ron Storm Bee
A beast of an off-road bike, the Sur Ron Storm Bee comes in a street-legal version with a 96V battery and 150V controller that allows modders to swap in an even more high-powered battery.
In its current configuration, the Storm Bee can hit a 68 mph top speed and travel up to 60 miles on a single charge.
With a range of about 90 miles, the Zero FX can hit a maximum speed of 85 mph. Although mainly built for off-road adventures, the FX is also a street-legal electric bike with lean, mean roadworthy capabilities.
Cake Kalk INK&
Cake’s unique designs for their Kalk series of bikes make them look like nothing else, but they ride like top class electric motorcycles, both on and off road.
The only street legal bike in the lineup, the Kalk INK& promises top speeds of 55 mph and above.
Converting Electric Dirt Bikes for Street Use
Steps to Make Electric Dirt Bikes Street Legal
Converting an off-road electric bike for road use typically involves several modifications and additions to meet the road safety standards set by your local authorities.
Here are some of the steps you’ll take to make your electric dirt bike street legal:
- Check the legal requirements in your area: Start by understanding the specific regulations for converting and operating electric dirt bikes on streets in your region. This will help you determine the necessary modifications and documents required.
- Lighting and signaling systems: Install the required lighting and signaling systems, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and reflectors. These additions will make your bike more visible to other road users, ensuring your safety.
- License plate and registration: Ensure that your electric dirt bike has a VIN. Obtain a license plate and register your electric dirt bike with the appropriate authorities. This step is crucial to ensure that your bike is legally recognized and can be identified if necessary.
- Mirrors and horn: Install rear view mirrors to enhance your visibility on the road. Additionally, equip your bike with a horn to alert other drivers when necessary.
- Tires and wheels: Check if your electric dirt bike’s tires and wheels comply with road safety standards. You may need to replace them with appropriate street-legal alternatives.
You might also need to look into licensing and possible speed limitations.
- Licensing and insurance: In some areas, you may need to acquire additional licensing, such as a motorcycle license, and insurance coverage specific to electric dirt bikes operating on public roads.
- Speed limitations: Some jurisdictions impose speed limitations on electric dirt bikes when riding on streets. Adhering to these limitations will help you stay within the legal framework and ensure a safe riding experience.
Remember, modifications needed to make an electric dirt bike street legal may vary based on local regulations. It is crucial to consult local authorities to learn the laws in your city and state.
The materials on this site do not constitute legal or other professional advice. You should consult a professional for legal advice.