Dirt Bike Laws in Maryland – Laws to Learn Before Riding

James Albert is a dirt biker for about 6 years with a passion for helping others get into the sport without knowing anything. He shares...Read more

Maryland has adopted a strategic transport safety plan to prevent unexpected casualties in public or private paths. The Secretary of State believes that death and injuries are preventable by implementing laws.

Therefore, the Maryland Legislature has incorporated rules for off-highway recreational vehicles in the state transportation code. Dirt bike riders are also bound to obey the required rules and regulations.

Hey dude! I am here to make your dirt bike riding more legal and jovial as a motor vehicle attorney. I have already handled bunches of cases issued against unlawful dirt bike operations in public or private trails.

Don’t worry! I will also present the process to make a dirt bike street legal under Maryland Statutes for transportation. It would be a legal lesson to operate recreational off-road dirt bikes with no hassles.

So, stay with me to skip suits, compensations, tickets, and enforcements on the streets. Keep continuing!

Maryland Transportation Statutes: Off-highway Recreational Dirt Bike Laws!

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation (DOT), more than 70 motorbike riders die in crashes yearly. And about 50% of crashes happen to riders aged 21-35 due to safety irregularities.

Dirt Bike Laws in Maryland

Road safety experts believe most crashes and fatalities are preventable with proper traffic rules and regulations. So, the Maryland Legislature has incorporated upgraded road rules in MA Code-2021.

Dirt bike riders must be responsible for these rules and regulations to save lives and properties on roads. At the same time, the violation of the required traffic rules is punishable under the transportation code.

Certificate of Title

No vehicles are legal to own in Maryland without a certificate of title issued by the state administration. A dirt bike rider must be at least 18 years old to apply for the certification. Parents, legal guardians, or colleagues must cosign in the application for the certificate of title. The dirt bike owners shall submit the application with all required information, including names and addresses.

Moreover, the administration requires vehicle information, including the model year, body dimension, engine type, vehicle identification number, and fee for issuing the certificate of title. It may cost $35 per title.

Section 13-118 of the Maryland Transportation Code preserves the right to change the owner’s name under legal procedure. You must apply within 30 days of any more changes in your bike’s certificate of title.

Learn More: https://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2021/transportation/title-13/subtitle-1/section-13-104/

Dirt Bike Registration

The Maryland Vehicle Law prohibits dirt bikes’ operation in public and private spaces without registration by the administration. You must register your dirt bike under subtitles 13-402. You cannot operate and park your unregistered dirt bike in public places, streets, and highways. Besides, the restriction also lies for private properties used for general purposes: shopping centers and apartments.

The dirt bike owners must register their vehicles within 30 days of ownership under sections 13-403. You must apply for registering your low-speed dirt bike in the prescribed form with the required information.

It requires a certificate of title that you obtained earlier and processing fees to register a dirt bike. The registration feed depends on vehicles’ class, condition, dimension, and engine specifications.

Every registered dirt bike must have a registration plate attached to the rear. The registration plate must be visible, and numbers should be legible by the police officers. Pay attention to the validity period.

However, there are some exceptions for non-resident riders in Maryland. They can move with their own-state valid registration plates. The Maryland Administration issues guest cards for non-resident riders.

Learn More: https://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2021/transportation/title-13/subtitle-4/part-i/section-13-402/

Dirt Bike Driver’s License

None can operate motor vehicles on highways or public streets without a valid driving license. The Maryland administration doesn’t issue a driving license to riders under 18. Therefore, you must have a valid driving license to ride your dirt bike on highways. If you are under 18, you can merely get a license by completing a motorcycle safety course.

Moreover, the administration doesn’t issue a learner’s instructional card for guys below 15 years old. And the dirt bike riders under 16 years don’t get a provisional license issued by the state administration.

The Maryland Department of Transportation doesn’t award a dirt bike rider a driving license habituated in drugs or narcotic elements. It is even a criminal offense to carry drugs while driving dirt bikes.

No person can get a driving license suffering from mental disorders and physical disabilities. The administration may not endanger public safety and welfare by issuing a license for an unfit person.

You must be eligible to understand street signs and symbols written and displayed in English. At the same time, you need to pass written and practical tests to obtain a valid driving license.

Every dirt bike driver’s license application must meet all required information and documents to get authority approval. You should mention your age, sex, residential address, occupation, etc., in your application. Moreover, the state administration requires fees for issuing a driving license.

Learn More: https://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2021/transportation/title-16/subtitle-1/section-16-103-1/

Dirt Bike Road Rules

Dirt bike riders are equally responsible for following the state road rules and regulations. You must care about traffic signals, signs, and markings on streets and roadways. The violation of starting, stopping, and parking dirt bikes is punishable under the Maryland Transportation Code. You cannot turn left or right with your dirt bike whimsically without surveilling vehicles.

There are riding rules for laned roadways. For example, you cannot bother other dirt bike riders in the same lane. Let them move with their full freedom. No person can operate between adjacent lines of bikes.

The operators cannot carry any other person on their dirt bikes unless they have a regular seat for carrying one more person. However, you cannot carry a person in such a position that can hamper your riding view.

You must follow traffic control systems at intersections to avoid violating the state traffic laws. Look at yellow-red-green signals to decide whether you will stop or move.  See the images and symbols too.

Learn More: https://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2019/transportation/title-21/subtitle-13/sect-21-1302/

Dirt Bike Speed Rules

No person can recklessly drive any motor vehicles that can harm public safety and property. You must accelerate your dirt bike reasonably to avoid potential dangers on streets. The riders must resist from defiant driving of their dirt bikes while crossing railroads, neighborhoods, and residential areas. Don’t drive faster on narrow and windy roadsides for a safer ride.

In Alleys Undivided Highways in Residential Areas Divided Highways in Residential Areas Any other Undivided Highways Any other Divided Highways During School Hours
15mph 30mph 35mph 50mph 55mph 15mph

Source: https://www.roads.maryland.gov/mdotsha/pages/Index.aspx?PageId=295

Moreover, the dirt bike operators must follow the maximum speed limit in working highway zones. You must notice speed signs alongside working zones to ensure public safety. The State Highway Administration can charge you up to $1000 due to a violation of section 21-802.1.

Learn More: https://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2019/transportation/title-21/subtitle-8/sect-21-801/

Impaired Dirt Bike Driving

The Maryland Vehicle Laws strictly prohibit reckless and negligent driving in public ways. And the State Department of Transportation is tight to tackling impaired dirt bike riding under the influence of alcohol.

You cannot threaten public property and safety while operating your dirt bike being possessed by alcohol. The careless driving manner endangers others’ lives and properties. It is an unlawful act.

Eluding traffic officers on the streets is also a punishable offense under section 21-901.1 of Maryland Statutes. So, never try to elude the law enforcement officers if they notify you to stop or hold anywhere.

A person convicted of section 21-902 can be subjected to imprisonment and compensation. It might be imprisonment of up to two years and compensation maximum of $2000. Therefore, be loyal to legal riding.

Learn More: https://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2021/transportation/title-21/subtitle-9/section-21-902/

What Are the Requirements to Make a Dirt Bike Street-legal in Maryland?

The State Highway Administration doesn’t permit any dirt bikes on public streets without proper safety equipment. You must equip your dirt bike with safety features under federal law for street legality.

What Are the Requirements to Make a Dirt Bike Street-legal in Maryland

1. Headlight

No dirt bikes are safe to operate on public roads before sunrise and after sunset without headlights. And every motorcycle must be equipped with at least one but not more than two headlamps.

Install the headlights to your dirt bike that complies with the Maryland motorcycle safety guideline. And set the headlight at the height of not more than 54 inches and less than 24 inches of your dirt bike.

2. Taillights

Every dirt bike must have a tail light that illuminates the rear registration plate with red light. And it must be plainly visible from 300 feet away at night. So, the rear motor vehicle can see from far.

The Maryland Department of Transportation regulates the rear light safety equipment under section 22-204 of the State Transportation Statutes. Mount it at the height of not more than 72 inches and less than 20 inches.

3. Turning Lights

Operating a dirt bike on public highways is unlawful without turning lights or signals. You won’t get the street legality of your dirt bike unless it has front-rear turning lights. So, equip the safety features first.

Equip your dirt bike with DOT-approved manufacturer’s original turning signals that meet Maryland transportation code 22-219. And it must be visible from 300 feet by other riders and passengers on the streets.

4. Engine Brake

No vehicles are safe to operate on public or private trails without engine brakes. It is a traffic offense under the Maryland Vehicle Laws to ride a dirt bike with no braking systems.

You aren’t safe on streets with your dirt bike without a rear or front braking system. Therefore, you must equip at least one engine brake to get street legality. The traffic officers can charge you due to a violation.

5. Eco-friendly Muffler

The street-legal dirt bikes must have eco-friendly muffler systems for minimum noise and vapor. You cannot use a muffler cutout, bypass, or similar devices to your dirt bike modified for public ways.

No person can cause sound pollution on public roads and neighborhoods with tail pine extension or other devices. The discharge of smoke and noise should be eco-friendly to protect wildlife and human ambiance.

6. Mirrors

Like other vehicles, dirt bikes aren’t safe to operate on highways and neighborhoods. According to Maryland Transportation Code 22-403, you must equip rear view mirrors on both sides of your dirt bike.

Install the rear view mirrors that cover at least 200 feet of your back and alongside on streets. The outside rearview mirrors must meet federal motor vehicle safety standards. Don’t deny objects and obstructs inside the mirrors.

7. Horn

Every street-legal dirt bike requires a warning horn for safer riding. The horn should be in good working condition with an audible sound from at least 200 feet. However, don’t harm peace with a harsh whistle.

Moreover, be responsible for pressing horns while driving your dirt bike in neighborhoods and residential regions. Follow section 22-401 of the Maryland Transportation Code to equip your dirt bike with a horn.

8. Tires

No person can drive dirt bikes on streets without safe tires approved by the state administration. The state highway administration bans metal tires on public roads except for emergencies. So, change the tires of your dirt bike for street-legal approval.

Replace your dirt bike ‘s cracked, snagged, cut, and worn tires by good-working and DOT-approved tires. The traffic police officers may charge fines for riding dirt bikes on highways with off-highway tires under sections 22-405.1.

What Are the State-legal Dirt Bike Riding Trails in Maryland?

Maryland is a mesmerizing US state adorned with natural forests, beaches, mountains, and plain lands. Baltimore City and Maryland state are great destinations for dirt bike lovers. Let’s explore some state-designated dirt bike trails here.

Designated Trails Address to Go Locate on Google Map
Wolf Den Run State Park 890 N Hill Rd, Kitzmiller, MD 21538, United States Direction
Garrett State Forest 1431 Potomac Camp Rd, Oakland, MD 21550, United States Direction
Budds Creed Motocross Park 27963 Budds Creek Rd, Mechanicsville, MD 20659, United States Direction
Meadow Mountain Trail Frostburg, MD 21532, United States Direction
Shady Acres Motocross Park 2282 Friendsville Rd, Friendsville, MD 21531, United States Direction
Wicomico Motorsports Park 11100 Kingston Pl, Charlotte Hall, MD 20622, United States Direction
The Landing MX 7140 Barkers Landing Rd, Easton, MD 21601, United States Direction
Green Ridge ORV Trail 28700 Headquarters Dr NE, Flintstone, MD 21530, United States Direction
Savage River State Forest Maryland 21536, USA Direction

Statutory Warning!

Maryland’s dedicated dirt bike trails are under close supervision of the state wildlife & environment department, the public safety department, and state administration. So, never violate statutory rules and regulations while operating your dirt bike.

Do I Need a Driving License to Operate My Dirt Bike on Private Properties?

Of course, the state traffic police officers won’t trespass your private properties (lawns, backyards, and forests) to check your driving license. Therefore, you can ride your dirt bike in your private places with no fear.

According to Maryland Vehicle Laws, riding recreational dirt bikes except a driving license isn’t an unlawful act unless it threatens others’ lives and properties. You can enjoy your weekend with your kids and friends in your own places.

However, there is no relaxation of having a valid driving license to drive a dirt bike on public roads. It would be a punishable deed indeed.

Is It Legal to Ride a Dirt Bike in Neighborhoods in Maryland?

The Maryland Administration doesn’t allow dirt bikes in neighborhoods to ensure public safety. However, you can operate your street-legal dirt bike with the required safety features in your communities.

Some crucial things are to follow while operating dirt bikes on the neighboring residential streets. For example, you must move with the regulated riding speed and care about your bike’s horn or sound.

You cannot disturb your innocent neighbors, pets, and kids while riding alongside hospitals, schools, churches, and parks. Moreover, follow the street signs and symbols to avoid unexpected accidents.

Veteran Verdict!

Maryland is one of a very few US states where you can move on highways with your street-legal dirt bike. However, the state administration strictly protects public properties, lives, and wildlife ecosystems under the Maryland Vehicle Laws.

You can operate your dirt bike in state-designated trials with authority approval. And don’t try to trespass on private properties without the owners’ permission.

Moreover, you must comply with the strategic highway safety plan to prevent deaths and casualties. Notwithstanding, meet a motor vehicle attorney at any legal issues with your dirt bike.

James Albert is a dirt biker for about 6 years with a passion for helping others get into the sport without knowing anything. He shares his expertise and reviews dirt bikes and related tools.

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