Dirt bikes are a gray area of legislation for many states because they are a specialized, high-performance motor vehicle. In the state of Pennsylvania, dirt bikes are considered off-road vehicles, and therefore cannot be registered by the Department of Motor Vehicles, as of January 2011. In other words, it is illegal to drive a dirt bike on Pennsylvania streets and highways. If you have a desire to use a dirt bike on the road, your only option is to make the bike "street legal," which will allow you to register it. This will require modifications to the bike to ensure that it meets "Subchapter H" of the state's Vehicle Inspection and Equipment Regulations.
Research motorcycle detail shops in your area. The shop you need should have experience making motorized bikes "street legal." Consult the dealer you purchased your dirt bike from or your car insurance agent for referrals. You can also consult your county's DMV-approved inspection location list.
Your dirt bike will need the following modifications to be driven on Pennsylvania roads: at least one but not more than two headlights; a taillight; turn signals; and rearview mirrors. In addition, the dirt bike must meet Pennsylvania's minimum standards for legally-registered vehicles, such as working brakes and speedometer. If you attempt the modifications on your own, be sure to reference DMV's motorcycle equipment regulations to ensure everything works as specified.
Schedule a vehicle inspection. Once your dirt bike has been altered to meet street-legal specifications, it is considered a separate class of vehicle by the DMV, called "modified vehicles." This classification affects the rest of your registration process, beginning with inspection. Your dirt bike requires an enhanced vehicle safety inspection, which can only be completed by DMV's approved list of station owners and mechanics. The list is provided in Resources.
Obtain and complete form MV-426B (Application for Reconstructed, Specially Constructed, Collectible, Modified, Flood, Recovered Theft Vehicles and Street Rods). Ensure that the form is updated for the current calendar year and that all signatures are completed. Review the application checklist attached to the form to ensure you have all of the required documents. Take the completed form, required documents and registration fees to the DMV.
State laws concerning dirt bikes change often. Check with the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles before altering your dirt bike.
This information does not apply to other off-road vehicles, such as ATVs and snowmobiles.