Are Side By Side ATVs Street Legal In Tennessee? Direct Answer [2023]

No, side-by-side ATVs in Tennessee are not street legal unless modified to meet specific requirements. These include headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, a roll cage, seat belts, a four-stroke engine, and the ability to exceed 35 mph. Registration with the Tennessee Department of Revenue and liability insurance is also mandatory for street-legal operations.

Are you wondering if your side by side (SxS) ATV can conquer both the trails and the streets of Tennessee? The burning question on your mind is: “Are side by side ATVs street legal in Tennessee?” Get ready to embark on an interactive guide that will unravel the street legality of SxS ATVs in this picturesque state.

We’ll explore the regulations, legal requirements, necessary modifications, and crucial safety considerations for riding your SxS ATV on Tennessee’s public roads.

From the captivating landscapes to the vibrant streets, we’ll equip you with the knowledge to navigate the SxS ATV scene in Tennessee. Let’s dive in and unleash your SxS ATV’s full potential, legally and responsibly.

Are side by side ATVs street legal in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, side by side ATVs are not street legal. However, you may be able to operate them on certain types of public roads if they are equipped with the required safety features and are registered as off-highway vehicles. You should check with your local law enforcement agency to find out what specific regulations apply in your area.

Are Side By Side ATVs Street Legal In Tennessee?
Are Side By Side ATVs Street Legal In Tennessee?

Understanding Street Legality for Side by Side ATVs

To determine the street legality of SxS ATVs in Tennessee, it’s essential to examine the specific regulations and requirements set forth by the state. Street legality refers to the compliance of vehicles with laws and regulations governing their operation on public roads.

Legal Requirements for Street-Riding SxS ATVs in Tennessee

  1. Minimum Age and Licensing

In Tennessee, the minimum age requirement to operate a SxS ATV on public roads is 16 years old. Additionally, a valid driver’s license is mandatory for street-riding SxS ATVs.

  1. Vehicle Registration

All SxS ATVs used on public roads in Tennessee must be properly registered with the Tennessee Department of Revenue. This ensures that the vehicle is recognized by the state and meets the necessary requirements for street use.

  1. Insurance Coverage

To ride a SxS ATV on public roads in Tennessee, it’s essential to have adequate insurance coverage. Consult with your insurance provider to ensure your policy meets the state’s requirements.

What are the different types of ATVs?

There are four main types of ATVs: sport, utility, side-by-side, and multi-passenger.

Sport ATVs are designed for racing and off-road recreation. They have a lighter frame and suspension than other ATV types, and they typically have two riders.

Utility ATVs are built for work and can be used for tasks such as plowing snow, hauling supplies, or towing a trailer. They often have four-wheel drive and a higher ground clearance than other ATV types.

Side-by-side ATVs seat two riders side-by-side in a tandem configuration. They have many of the same features as utility ATVs, but they’re often used for recreation rather than work.

Multi-passenger ATVs seat more than two riders and are typically used for touring or recreation. They usually have four wheels and a variety of features that make them comfortable for long rides.

What are the benefits of owning an ATV?

Many people enjoy riding All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) for recreation, but did you know that there are also many benefits to owning an ATV? Here are just a few:

1. Access to More Places
An ATV can take you places that a car or truck cannot, such as off-road trails, remote areas, and even across rivers and streams. This means that you can explore more of your favorite places, or discover new ones!

2. Save Money on Transportation Costs
If you live in a rural area or travel frequently to remote locations, an ATV can save you a lot of money on transportation costs. Instead of paying for gas and wear-and-tear on your car or truck, you can use an ATV which generally has much lower operating costs.

3. Get Exercise
Riding an ATV is a great way to get some exercise while still having fun! Many people enjoy the outdoors and fresh air while they ride, making it a great way to get some exercise without feeling like you’re working out.

4. Spend Time With Family and Friends
Owning an ATV gives you the perfect excuse to spend time with your family and friends doing something that everyone can enjoy. From group rides to competitions, there are many ways to have fun with those you care about while riding ATVs.

How to properly operate an ATV

In order to operate an ATV, you must first obtain a valid driver’s license. You must also be at least 16 years old and have completed an approved ATV safety course. When operating an ATV, always wear a helmet and eye protection. Never operate an ATV on paved surfaces such as roads or parking lots. Always ride with a passenger, and never allow anyone to ride on the back of the ATV.

Necessary Modifications for Street Use

To make a SxS ATV street legal in Tennessee, certain modifications and equipment installations are necessary. These may include:

  • Headlights and Taillights: Install DOT-approved headlights and taillights to ensure visibility during nighttime riding.
  • Turn Signals: SxS ATVs should be equipped with functioning turn signals to indicate your intention to change lanes or make turns.
  • Mirrors: Install rearview mirrors on both sides of the vehicle to enhance visibility and monitor surrounding traffic.
  • Horn: A loud and audible horn is required for alerting other drivers and pedestrians.

Ensure that the SxS ATV displays a visible and legible VIN on the vehicle. This identification number helps identify the vehicle and its legal status.

Are Side By Side ATVs Street Legal In Tennessee?
Are Side By Side ATVs Street Legal In Tennessee?

Safety Considerations for Riding SxS ATVs on Public Roads

  1. Safety Gear

Wear appropriate safety gear, including helmets, goggles, gloves, and protective clothing. Safety gear provides protection in case of accidents or unforeseen circumstances.

  1. Adherence to Traffic Laws

Obey all traffic laws and regulations while riding a SxS ATV on public roads in Tennessee. Follow posted speed limits, yield to pedestrians, and use proper hand signals when turning or changing lanes.

  1. Defensive Riding

Practice defensive riding techniques to anticipate potential hazards on the road. Be alert, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and constantly scan your surroundings.

  1. Stay on Designated Routes

Stick to designated routes and roads that allow SxS ATV usage. Riding off-road vehicles in unauthorized areas or private properties is illegal and can result in fines or legal consequences.


While SxS ATVs offer exhilarating off-road experiences, it’s crucial to understand the street legality regulations in Tennessee before riding on public roads. By meeting the legal requirements, making necessary modifications, and prioritizing safety, you can enjoy the adventure of street-riding SxS ATVs while complying with state laws.

Remember to always stay informed, ride responsibly, and make safety a top priority for an enjoyable and lawful riding experience in Tennessee.


John Webler a writer for Offroadbible
John Webler

Hi there, I'm John Webler, the owner and a writer for Offroadbible, a website that covers everything related to ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs. As a lifelong off-roading enthusiast, I have a deep passion for exploring the great outdoors on two and four wheels. I have spent countless hours tinkering with engines, navigating rough terrain, and pushing the limits of what these machines are capable of.

Leave a Comment