Dirt bikes are typically manufactured for tough terrain and an off-road experience. However, if you want to ride it on public roads and highways of Tennessee, it is probably a good idea to understand if dirt bikes are street legal in the state of Tennessee.
Dirt bikes are generally not manufactured to comply with federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations governing safety, emission, and antitheft standards. Therefore, in most cases, dirt bikes are not street legal in the state of Tennessee. With that being said, there are some mechanical adjustments and non-mechanical procedures to make your dirt bike street legal in Tennessee.
Each state in the US relies on its own regulations and guidelines to determine if a vehicle is safe to ride on the roads. However, if you are a beginner rider, the regulations and guidelines may become a bit overwhelming at first. But don’t worry, I have compiled an extensive guide on making a dirt bike street legal in the state of Tennessee.
Is it Illegal to ride dirt bikes on Tennessee roads?
Riding a dirt bike is a lot of fun. However, you can not ride your dirt bike anywhere you want in Tennessee. There are state rules, regulations, and laws you’ll need to follow while riding your dirt bike in Tennessee.
It is illegal to ride your dirt bike on Tennessee roads, highways, streets, or even sidewalks and neighborhoods. Dirt bikes are not street legal in stock form as they are manufactured for off-road use only. And as you know, vehicles made for off-road use don’t have the equipment needed to legally ride on the road like headlights, taillights, turn signals, insurance, or registration. Therefore, riding a dirt bike on the roads and streets of Tennessee is strictly prohibited unless your dirt bike is made street legal in the state of Tennessee first.
Furthermore, not following these laws may likely lead to a citation(ticket), your dirt bike may be towed and a small fine may be imposed.
Dirt bikes can only be ridden on the public roads and streets of Tennessee if it is registered and plated. In order to register a dirt bike in Tennessee, you’ll need to make it street legal in Tennessee first.
If you want to ride a dirt bike on Tennessee streets and public roads, you’ll need to make it street legal in Tennessee first.
Where can you ride your dirt bikes legally in Tennessee?
One of the best places to ride your dirt bike in Tennessee is in your own backyard. No one can stop you from riding a dirt bike on your private property. However, there are laws and regulations regarding pollution and noise violations in Tennessee. Therefore, if your property is close to other homes, you might not be able to ride your dirt bike even on your private property. Every city or county has rules and regulations regarding pollution and noise violations. Therefore, make sure you understand these regulations before starting to ride dirt bikes on your private property in Tennessee.
The next best place to ride your dirt bike in Tennessee is the local state park trails or public dirt bike parks. However, make sure you glance at the park’s basic rules, as some parks or trails in Tennessee only allow certain types of vehicles to be ridden.
How do you make a dirt bike street legal in Tennessee?
Tennessee is like most other states when it comes to making your dirt bike street legal. The state of Tennessee has its own set of rules and regulations regarding the legalities of dirt bikes on its public roads and streets. It includes some mechanical adjustments as well as some non-mechanical procedures.
In order to make dirt bikes street legal in Tennessee, your bike must have a headlight, indicator light, DOT-approved battery-powered tail light and/or brake light, rear view mirrors, a horn, DOT-approved tires, and a DOT-approved fuel tank. Furthermore, Tennessee also has its own process involving an OHV decal, inspection, and registration.
Mechanical Additions to make a dirt bike street legal in Tennessee
You need to make some mechanical adjustments to your dirt bike in order to make it street legal in Tennessee. After all, you are basically making your dirt bike look less like a dirt bike and more like a street bike. As I already mentioned, you need to add headlights, tail lights, brake lights, rearview mirrors, a horn, approved tires, and an approved fuel tank.
Knowing the parts you need in your dirt bike to make it street legal in Tennessee may sound pretty simple. However, assembling all the required parts and modifying your bike can be an overwhelming process. Be at ease, though! I know exactly where you should go to purchase every part you require to legally ride your dirt bike on the public roads of Tennessee.
- Tail Light/ Brake Light
- License Plate Bracket
- Additional Components ( Turn Signal / Odometer / Kickstand / Charging System, Stator)
Non-mechanical procedures to make a dirt bike street legal in Tennessee
The non-mechanical procedures to make your dirt bike street legal in Tennessee include buying and displaying an OHV decal, getting your dirt bike inspected, and obtaining registration.
Obtaining OHV Decal
In Tennessee, it is optional to register your dirt bike with the state for private or public off-road use. Public use registration also covers private use. Although this registration is not mandatory, some OHV areas may require you to have it, so be sure to check ahead when you plan to travel.
All of these alterations on your dirt bike are intended to get the Tennessee DMV’s approval. Large chunks or all of the aforementioned adjustments have to be made before your dirt bike can be deemed as street legal in Tennessee.
Visit a motorcycle shop with the dirt bike to get it checked out. You will receive a certificate to assist with the registration procedure if your dirt bike passes the test.
You must complete and sign all the necessary forms in order to start the registration process for your dirt bike in Tennessee. Register the dirt bike with the DMV and keep the title, license, inspection certificate, and liability insurance evidence with the dirt bike.
There will be a handful, costing between $200 and $300 to register the dirt bike. As soon as it is registered, you may obtain license plates and attach them before driving on the public roads of Tennessee.
Do dirt bikes have titles in Tennessee?
Yes, it is possible to title a dirt bike in Tennessee. However, the Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO) must state that the vehicle meets or exceeds all federal emissions, safety, and anti-theft standards. If this statement is not present in your dirt bike’s MSO, it is usually considered for “off-road” purposes only and thus may not be titled or registered in Tennessee.
In case you do not have the MSO, you can contact your dealer or the manufacturer to obtain this information. If you bought the dirt bike from someone else and the dirt bike is not yet titled, you may ask them for the certificate of origin. Furthermore, even if the previous owner doesn’t have the certificate of origin, you can use the VIN number to find out who the first owner is. That way you can contact them and get it.
If you are having issues getting your dirt bike titled in Tennessee, one of the other ways to get it titled is to have the bike titled in another state.
Furthermore, if you still want to ride the dirt bike on Tennessee roads without getting a title, you can go through the temporary dealer’s tag route. You can register a used motorcycle and bicycle repair shop in Tennessee and request a dealer’s tag. Dealer’s tag in Tennessee costs around $25 each. You will need to fill out a form that requires a Federal Tax ID number. If you don’t have this number, you may also use your SSN. I do not personally recommend going through this route even though it is completely legal. Dealer’s tags are meant for temporary use only to either transfer the bikes or for local dealer use. Dirt bike riders in Tennessee rarely report any issues while riding their dirt bikes using this workaround.
Do you need a license and liability insurance to ride a dirt bike in Tennessee?
You do not need a license or insurance if you plan to ride your dirt bike strictly off-road or even on your private property in Tennessee. However, if you plan to link trails by roads or want to experience riding your dirt bikes on public streets and roads of Tennessee, you will first need to register it with DMV and get your motorcycle license and liability insurance in place.