How to make a quad road legal

Written by joe stone
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Although quad bikes are primarily designed for off-road use, riders often desire to drive their quads on public roadways. Making your quad bike road legal may seem as simple as purchasing a quad bike advertised as "street legal" or buying a road legal conversion kit, but it is not. Many states, such as California, do not permit quad bikes to be driven on public streets regardless of the equipment that may be added to the bikes. Making your quad bike road legal starts with knowing the state laws for road legal quad bikes where you reside or intend to drive.

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    Contact the department of motor vehicles in your state and inquire about registering your quad for road use. All states require motor vehicles to be registered for legal use on public roads, so if your state permits the use of quad bikes on public roads, you'll have registration requirements. This way, you can also determine if your state prohibits quad bikes on public roadways altogether, such as in California -- which it discloses on its website.

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    Review your state's registration requirements for quad bikes with regard to licensing and insurance. Regardless of the equipment requirements for your quad, if you cannot complete the registration requirements for licensing and insurance, you will not be able to ride your quad on public roadways. For example, Arizona law permits road use, but requires different licensing classifications for different types of bikes.

    Also, depending upon your driving record and the insurance laws in your state, obtaining insurance that covers riding your quad on public roadways may prove difficult. Contact your insurer about this issue before you invest time and money into converting your quad for road use.

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    Review your state's registration requirements for your quad regarding the necessary additional equipment to make it road legal. Quads typically lack most safety equipment that is standard on automobiles, such as a horn, rear and side view mirrors, headlights, turning signals and brake lights. Some states may also have emission requirements, such as in Arizona.

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    Purchase the necessary equipment to convert you quad for road legal use in your state, after determining you can meet all of your state's registration, licensing and insurance requirements. Find a reputable retailer in your state that sells the conversion equipment and is familiar with your state's quad conversion laws.

Tips and warnings

  • Along with the legal considerations, before converting your quad bike for road use, you should also consider how you will primarily use your quad bike. Since road legal requirements can include engine modifications to reduce emissions, you may find that your quad does not perform as well off-road after making such modifications.
  • Do not accept at face value any manufacturer or dealer advertising that a particular quad bike is street legal in your state. The same is true for conversion kits. Always verify the information with your state's department of motor vehicles before buying.

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