How to Register Dirt Bikes in Pennsylvania

Dirt bike rider
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The term dirt bike typically means a lightweight motorcycle that can be used on an unpaved surface like a gravel road. Motorcycles fit the definition of motor vehicles under Pennsylvania law.

In this state, a dirt bike owner should follow the same steps to register a dirt bike as they would to register a motorcycle, with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).

The term all-terrain vehicle (ATV) means a small motor vehicle with three or four wheels that is designed for use on various types of terrain. In Pennsylvania, an owner should register an ATV with the state Department of Natural Resources. The term OHV means Off-highway Vehicle, which can fit a dirt bike or ATV.

Register a Motorcycle in Pennsylvania

A new resident should register a dirt bike within 20 days of establishing residency in Pennsylvania. A person must have a valid form of Pennsylvania ID to submit an application to title and register a motor vehicle in Pennsylvania. Acceptable forms include a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or a valid Pennsylvania photo identification card.

The owner should also bring these items to an authorized agent of the BMV:

  • Valid title for the dirt bike they want to register, issued in their name from their previous state.
  • Proof of Pennsylvania insurance, such as valid insurance identification card. Document must indicate effective and expiration dates.
  • A tracing of vehicle identification number (VIN) or verification of the VIN by an inspection mechanic or notary public at a dealership or issuing agent.
  • Appropriate title, lien, registration fees and sales tax, if applicable. Owner should make check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

It is not necessary that the owner present a bill of sale. If the owner is titling and registering a leased vehicle, the leasing company must complete Form MV-1L, application for lessee information. The leasing company may also need to provide a document that establishes power of attorney to show it is an agent for the owner, who is the principal.

Dirt Bike Registration Fees

The fee to register a dirt bike depends on the length of the license and the age of the driver. A motorcycle license can be for two years or four years. For example, the fee for an initial permit and a four-year motorcycle license is $45.50.

Register an ATV in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the type of registration an owner needs for an ATV depends on where they plan to ride it. General registration allows the owner to operate the ATV off the owner’s private property. The registration fee is $20 for two years. The owner receives a registration plate, an expiration sticker and a certificate of registration wallet card.

A limited registration is for an ATV used exclusively on the owner’s property. There is no fee for this registration and it does not expire. The owner is given a registration plate and a card, but no expiration sticker.

Registration in Other States

Generally, if an owner intends to ride a dirt bike on paved roads like an ordinary motorcycle, the owner must register it as a motorcycle with the state agency that handles motorcycles. If the owner intends to ride a dirt bike only on unpaved roads, they should register it as an OHV with the state agency that handles OHVs.

An owner should usually register an ATV as an OHV. There are exceptions in certain states, like Utah, where an ATV that meets specific requirements can be street-legal.

Generally, a dirt bike or ATV does not need to undergo emissions testing like a car, but an owner should not take it for granted that this rule applies everywhere. They should check their state’s rules to be sure.

Dirt Bike Rules in South Dakota

South Dakota defines an off-road vehicle as a self-propelled, two or more wheeled vehicle designed to be operated on land other than a highway. This state does not require that a dirt bike or ATV be registered and licensed for highway use. It does require that these vehicles be titled.

Dirt Bike Rules in California

In California, a person who plans to use a motorcycle off public roads and highways must register it as an off-highway vehicle (OHV) with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). California does not require that an OHV, including a 2022 dirt bike, have regular vehicle registration. It must display an ID card or placard issued by the DMV.

Dirt Bike Rules in Minnesota

In Minnesota, an off-highway motorcycle (OHM) or ATV must be registered as an OHV with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. An OHV does not need to be titled in Minnesota.

Out-of-state OHVs legally registered in another state or country and not in Minnesota for more than 30 days are not required to purchase a Minnesota registration. If the owner’s state does not require a registration, they will need a Minnesota registration.

OHV Registration Rules in Utah

Utah requires that a dirt bike or ATV be registered as an OHV. An OHV that is 1988 or newer must also be titled. The registration cost for a dirt or trail bike or ATV for a state resident is $35 and $30 for a nonresident. Utah mandates that a motorcycle or street-legal ATV be titled and registered.

The registration fee is $46 for a motorcycle and $44 for a motor vehicle of 12,000 pounds or less gross laden weight, like a street-legal ATV. A street-legal ATV that is owned and operated by a nonresident of Utah does not need to be registered.

In order for an ATV to be street legal in Utah, it must have:

  • Headlamp and taillamp.
  • License plate.
  • White lamp to illuminate the registration plate.
  • Rear red reflector.
  • Rear brake lamp.
  • Amber or red turn signals, front and rear.
  • Horn or other audible warning device.
  • Muffler and emissions system.
  • Rearview mirror.
  • Illuminated speedometer.

If an ATV is owned by a nonresident of a state that does not allow an ATV to be typed as having street-legal ability, the ATV cannot be operated on roads or streets in Utah. This is true even if the ATV meets all the above requirements.

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