In What States Are Side-by-Sides Street Legal?
Do you want to commute to work in your side-by-side? You can use a UTV to travel to work even if everyone is stranded in the snow. Or you maybe you just want to ride your UTV for short distances around town. Whatever the reason might be, there may be more issues than you realize.
So, are side-by-sides street legal in your state? The legality of operating a side-by-side on the road varies from state to state.
Some states allow these cars to be driven on the road without any additional changes, while others need certain modifications before the vehicle can be declared street legal.
This article will discuss states in what states are side-by-sides are street legal and what requirements your UTV needs to meet.
In What States Are Side-by-Sides Street Legal?
Regardless of whether you are aware of the rules of your state, breaking the laws can result in fines and trouble. Hence, we’ve compiled a list of side-by-side street rules for each state.
In Alabama, ATVs and UTVs on public roads are forbidden.
Since Alaska is an icy and snowy state, most of us would assume that driving a UTV on public roads wouldn’t be an issue. Surprisingly, Alaska doesn’t allow ATVs or UTVs to be driven on public roads except under the following conditions:
- Heavy snow conditions prevent other vehicles from using the road.
- A highway is marked as suitable for off-highway vehicles.
The process of obtaining a street-legal ATV or UTV in Arizona is among the simplest in the nation. The initials MC, and not RV, will appear on your license plate once you’ve registered your car and made the appropriate modifications to it.
For a UTV to be permitted on the road, the rider must have verification of insurance coverage. Plus, the UTV has to pass emissions testing in addition to having a license plate light and a horn.
ATVs and UTVs are prohibited from operating on public roads in Arkansas. It’s permissible to do so In these situations:
- The route is neither a state nor interstate highway because it is located outside municipal limits.
- Depending on the owner’s needs, you may use it for agricultural purposes or hunting.
- You’re about to cross a road or highway that’s open to the public.
- To get around, UTVs can be utilized by people who have severe walking disabilities or who have lost both of their legs.
- When the driver is a member of the emergency services or a utility company employee who is on the clock for work.
While ATVs and UTVs are legal in adjacent Arizona, you cannot operate them on public streets in California. Under California law, UTVs are only authorized on public roadways in a few specific circumstances:
- To cross two-lane roads at a 90-degree angle.
- To cross a road with more than two lanes of traffic if adequate signage permits such a crossing.
UTVs are typically prohibited on public roadways in Colorado. However, several municipal governments have made exceptions to this rule. You should consult local authorities to find out if the practice is legal in your area.
ATVs and UTVs can be driven on Colorado’s public streets in the following situations, aside from those in which a municipal government has granted permission for their usage:
- When the state and/or local government declares an emergency.
- At approved ATV usage areas.
- When using a tunnel or bridge.
- While crossing a roadway.
- When participating in special events organized by the municipality.
- When utilized for farming.
You cannot drive ATVs or UTVs on public roads in the state of Connecticut. When a side-by-side is not on a limited-access highway, a driver with a special license can cross a road with an ATV or UTV. You must completely stop and yield to oncoming traffic before you do crossing.
In Delaware, ATVs and UTVs are not authorized on public roads. ATVs and UTVs can only be pushed down the street in neutral.
On public roads in Florida, ATVs and UTVs are not permitted. However, as long as the speed limit on an unpaved public road is less than 35mph, you can drive your ATV any time of day. This doesn’t apply to UTVs unless permitted by the local government.
In Georgia, side-by-sides aren’t street legal.
Except in the cases listed below, it is typically against the law in Hawaii to operate a side-by-side on public roadways:
- The ATV or UTV is being utilized for agricultural purposes.
- The ATV or UTV is driven by an individual who currently holds a class 3 driver’s license according to section 286-102 or a commercial driver’s license following part XIII.
- The UTV or ATV is driven on roads with just two lanes and with a speed limit of 35mph or less.
- The ATV or UTV is utilized to commute between agricultural properties.
Except on federal or state highways or those restricted by local authorities, Idaho allows ATV and UTV use on all roads. As a primary example, use of ATVs and UTVs is prohibited on all roadways in Boise, Idaho.
If you want to ride a side-by-side on public streets in Idaho, you have to get a restricted license plate, a valid driver’s license, and a valid IDPR OHV registration.
ATVs and UTVs can only use public streets in Illinois if the local government has approved them.
If a secure and easy crossing is available, you’re allowed to cross a road at a 90-degree angle. Prior to crossing the road, you must stop completely and yield to anyone on foot or in a vehicle.
In general, ATVs and UTVs are not permitted to be driven on public roads in Indiana. This norm, of course, has many exceptions. For example, if there is enough room close to a public roadway, other than a controlled-access highway, you are allowed to drive on the right of way without putting yourself or others at risk.
Crossing a public roadway other than one with limited access can also be done at an angle of 90 degrees. To proceed, you still must come to a complete stop and yield to oncoming traffic. This is assuming that an Indiana DMV has approved your side-by-side for use on its public roadways.
ATV or UTV usage on public streets in Iowa is prohibited unless a local or other governmental entity has authorized it. ATVs and UTVs must be insured if they are driven down a public roadway. If you satisfy the following requirements, you can intersect a public road on an ATV or UTV:
- You must do so at a 90-degree angle and stop completely prior to making the crossing.
- Yield to approaching traffic and do so from a road where you can legally ride your ATV or UTV.
If you have a driver’s license and you have registered your ATV or UTV, you can ride it on public roadways in Kansas. You should register your three-wheeler as a motorbike and your four-wheeler as a passenger automobile.
A road in a city with fewer than 15,000 people falls inside Kansas’ legal riding boundaries, as county and township highways. If the UTV has lights, you may ride at night as well.
For the most part, ATVs and UTVs are prohibited from operating on public roads in Kentucky unless approved by the Transportation Cabinet or another local government. Under the following conditions, UTV or ATV use on Kentucky’s public roads is permitted across the state:
- For agricultural purposes on roads with two lanes.
- For snow removal operations on roadways with two lanes.
- Crossing at a 90-degree angle is safe and feasible.
- For road construction or maintenance on streets with two lanes.
- The driver of an ATV or UTV must possess a driver’s license and adhere to all traffic laws when operating on a public roadway. During operation, the ATV or UTV must have two visible taillights and a headlight.
As a rule, driving ATV or UTV on public roads is prohibited. But this is not always the case. Side-by-sides are treated differently in Louisiana than in most states. During daytime hours, beginning half an hour after dawn and ending half an hour prior to sunset, ATVs may be driven on the shoulder of all public roads and highways, except for interstates and those in Orleans Parish. Additionally, you’re allowed to cross public roadways and highways, if’ necessary.
ATVs and UTVs can be driven on public roads in Maine under the following conditions:
- When using a bridge or a roadway beneath controlled-access highways.
- By using a road that crosses such highways at grade.
- When the Commissioner of Transportation has given special permission to cross a restricted access roadway.
- When crossing a public route, overpass, sidewalk, bridge, culvert, or underpass.
- While driving on the far right of the street for a distance not exceeding 500 yards, as long as in can be done safely and without interfering with traffic from either direction.
- Driving down the left side of a roadway from sunset to sunrise is forbidden on public roads that are not maintained or utilized for conventional motor vehicles.
If a road hasn’t been classified as a road that is suitable for ATVs in Maryland, the use of side-by-sides is typically forbidden.
As you may be thinking, there aren’t many locations to go ATVing or UTVing in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, riding a side-by-side on a public roadway is strictly prohibited.
You can register ATVs and UTVs as motor vehicles in Michigan, allowing them to be used on public roads. Several places in Michigan enforce local rules that will enable you to drive ATVs and UTVs on the roadways even if they are not registered as motor vehicles.
The following highways in Minnesota allow street-legal ATVs and UTVs:
- On public roads, you’ll need either a driver’s license with an endorsement for motorcycle operations or, for riders aged 12 to 15, an approved insurance certificate and the company of an ATV or UTV-riding parent or guardian. Helmets and eyewear are also required.
- To be legal on the road, you must fit the ATV with a headlight, brakes, and taillights.
- ATVs are restricted from operating on public roadways from the 1st of April through the beginning of August of each year, save for grant-in-aid routes, unless they’re registered for agricultural usage.
- All four-lane highways, including interstate highways and freeways, snowmobile routes, non-motorized trails, airports are an exception. Also, very road designated as forbidden to side-by-sides by local legislation are prohibited for ATV use.
According to the state’s statutes, ATVs and UTVs are not permitted to be driven on public roads in Mississippi. Some towns and counties allow you to register your side-by-side for street use, while others do not. Based on our investigation, it appears to be a locally controlled issue.
A municipal ordinance or regulation must give permission for UTVs and ATVs to be driven on Missouri’s public streets. Government-owned cars and those used for farming are the exception. The driver of an ATV or UTV has to possess a valid driver’s license and maintain a speed of 30 miles per hour or less when operating on public roads.
If you’ve managed to make your side-by-side street legal in Montana, you’re free to take to the streets. A headlight, brake lights, mirror, and a horn are all required for an ATV or UTV to be street legal, as does registration as a motor vehicle and displaying an appropriate license plate. Of course, the motorist has to have a legal license as well.
Only vehicles built to transport people are permitted on public roads. Helmets are mandatory for everyone under the age of 18.
Using four-wheel UTVs on the road with two or more clearly defined lanes is illegal in Nebraska. On roads with two or fewer traffic lanes, ATVs and UTVs are authorized to ride if the following conditions are met:
- For agricultural purposes which necessitate that a road is located beyond the corporate borders of a city.
- Within the city or town’s corporate limits if the city or town has adopted an ordinance following this section.
- Inside a village that is unincorporated if the county board of that unincorporated town has adopted a resolution under this section.
- There are a surprising number of municipalities and counties which permit the use of ATVs and UTVs, but you should double-check with your local authorities to make sure.
ATV or UTV use is strictly prohibited on public roads in the state of Nevada. Unless a municipal government approves it, the state regulation forbids ATV or UTV use on public highways, as well as gravel roads.
Public roads in New Hampshire restrict the use of side-by-sides unless the street is designated for OHRV usage. As long as you don’t go over 10 miles per hour and remain to the right side of the road, ATV and UTV use is authorized on public road crossings and trail connections.
When it comes to off-road vehicles in New Jersey, you’re not allowed to drive a side-by-side on public highways.
It is possible to ride a UTV or ATV on a public street in New Mexico; however, discovering where is difficult.
The single law that applies to all of New Mexico is that an individual cannot drive an ATV or UTV on any state highway or freeway. You can only ride adjacent to a roadway to get to or go from an OHV area if the usage of that route is approved. You can cross the street following a stop and yielding to oncoming vehicles.
On the other hand, local governments may allow ATV and UTV usage on paved roads as long as the rider has a valid driver’s license and insurance
As one might assume, ATVs and UTVs cannot be operated on public roadways in New York except in very restricted conditions. The roads are marked for ATV usage and have restricted crossings in some cases.
You cannot operate an ATV or UTV on any public roadway in the state of North Carolina.
You can register your side-by-side as a street-legal vehicle in North Dakota. Registration allows you to use an ATV or UTV on paved roads with a speed limit of 65 miles per hour or less. Your side-by-side has to be capable of reaching a speed of 35 miles per hour on a flat surface, and you must have a current driver’s license.
No riding on the road, slope of any road, street or highway shoulder, or inner bank in North Dakota is authorized if your ATV or UTV is not street legal in North Dakota, except in emergencies. However, on gravel, dirt, or loose surface roads, you are usually allowed to drive an ATV or UTV.
Crossing at a 90-degree angle is also permissible if you can do so swiftly and safely. Before crossing the street, you have to stop completely and yield to oncoming traffic.
ATVs and UTVs are not authorized on public roads in Ohio, but there are a few exclusions. The exceptions are as follows:
- The Director of Public Safety may authorize certain types of travel in an emergency.
- Crossing a roadway where it is safe to do so.
- Roadways in the county road networks are approved for ATV and UTV use by the local body in charge of such routes.
- Between the beginning of November and the end of April on state roadways situated on islands in Lake Erie, given that the motorist has a valid driver’s license, follows all traffic restrictions, and maintains evidence of insurance.
Although there are a few exceptions, ATVs and UTVs aren’t generally allowed on public roads in Oklahoma, as in other states. However, using a side-by-side is permitted in these circumstances:
- UTVs can operate on a roadway if the town has established an ordinance allowing them.
- The roadway is located inside a county to which the county commissioners gave permission for UTV operation.
- In a region that is unincorporated, the road has a speed limit of 25 miles per hour or less, with signs alerting vehicles of a golf cart or UTV use.
You can’t legally drive an ATV or UTV on the road in Oregon. ATVs are typically prohibited from using public highways. This includes gravel roads with two lanes unless specifically designated for this use.
In Pennsylvania, side-by-sides cannot be registered as street-legal vehicles. Unless an emergency has been declared, drivers cannot operate ATVs or UTVs on public roadways except on specified highways, bridges, and streets.
You can use an ATV or UTV on roads with authorized snowmobile or ATV lanes. Look for green signs that have a white ATV figure to make sure that a road is designated for ATVs. Driving an ATV or UTV on specified streets requires a driver to be 16 years of age.
It is illegal to operate ATVs and UTVs on paved highways in Rhode Island and on any of their shoulders or slopes close to any of these roadways. There is one exception to this rule, if you’re crossing a public roadway at a 90-degree angle after you have stopped completely and yielded to oncoming traffic.
In South Carolina, there are no rules allowing for the registration of a side-by-side for street use. Unfortunately, it appears that using an ATV or UTV on South Carolina’s public roadways is out of the question.
The state of South Dakota
In South Dakota, you may register your ATV to be used on the road. You may only do so if your ATV is a four-wheeler and has an engine with a displacement of 200 cubic centimeters or more. You must also obtain a motorcycle license.
Only a few states, including Tennessee, regulate ATVs and UTVs separately. Restrictions on ATV use are substantially heavier. Only if the street is identified for ATV use for farming purposes, or to cross a roadway at a 90-degree angle may you use your ATV on a public road.
Unlike ATVs, UTVs can be registered and used on public roads but not state or interstate highways. The driver of this vehicle has to be at least 16 years old, have a valid driver’s license. Also need to possess evidence of insurance that meets the state’s minimum standards for motor vehicles.
Texas doesn’t allow ATVs and UTVs on public streets, which is a bit of a surprise. Farmers and ranchers, public utility workers, and law enforcement officers are the only people allowed to drive ATVs and UTVs on public highways in Texas.
An orange, triangular flag must be affixed to an eight-foot pole mounted at the rear of an ATV or UTV in Texas to identify it as being legal to operate on the street.
For the most part, ATVs and UTVs are not allowed on public roads in Utah unless they are used to intersect a road. To avoid being labeled as an off-road vehicle, you may get your ATV or UTV made street legal in Utah.
ATVs and UTVs are not permitted on public roads in Vermont except in one of the conditions below:
- You must keep your ATV or UTV at least three feet away from the traffic lane while using for farming purposes.
- In some conditions, you may be permitted to intersect a public roadway at a 90-degree angle in your ATV or UTV.
It is illegal in Virginia to drive an UTV or ATV on public roadways..
In Washington, you can purchase a street-legal side-by-side, allowing you to drive on public roads as approved by the state’s cities and counties. There are often just a handful of routes where you may legally ride at 35mph or less.
To drive an ATV or UTV on a public road in Washington, you have to possess both an on-road and off-road tag. Of course, you’ll need a valid driver’s license as well.
Generally, in West Virginia, it is illegal to drive a side-by-side on any road with a centerline or three lanes or more. This implies that you may be able to ride them around suburbs or on the smaller country roads in your vicinity.
ATVs and UTVs cannot be used on public roads or streets unless they have been specifically designated as such. ATVs and UTVs can be operated on public roadways for farming purposes and on roads that are not maintained for highway use, in addition to approved ATV Routes.
While on a defined route or recognized trail, you can also intersect a roadway, bridge, railroad, or culvert using an ATV or UTV, provided that you stop completely and yield to approaching traffic.
An MPV Permit is required in Wyoming to lawfully use a side-by-side on public streets (except interstates). You have to possess an appropriate license plate, a valid driver’s license, and evidence of insurance to apply for an MPV permit.
Know Your Driving Rights
Some states allow side-by-sides completely, some just in certain situations, and some wholly prohibit their use. It’s best to do your research and ask the local authorities for more information. This way, you can always be up-to-date with the rules and avoid any fines or other trouble.