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Does My Dirt Bike Need a Headlight Fitted?

Have you ever wondered if you need to have a light up the front beyond the handlebars when riding to be legal?

Dirt bikes don’t legally require headlights when ridden on private property. This includes riding on your own property, your friend’s property, motocross tracks and private enduro parks. You will need a headlight on your dirt bike plus mirrors, indicators, a tail light and registration when riding on public land such as roads and trail sections which are open to the public.

This is a safety measure designed to reduce accidents. Other motorists can see your motorcycle much easier with its headlight on.

Dirt Bikes and Headlights

You’ll often see MX bikes with no headlights fitted and for the simple reason that they are only ridden at daytime and that extra weight from a headlight will cost them lap times. The sole purpose of their dirt bike is to get around the track in as fast as possible.

For such reason, you won’t actually find plugs on these bikes to actually accommodate a headlight nor will you find enough space in the front. That blank front panel is designed for a race number, not a headlight.

Some riders decide to get 2 dirt bikes. They keep one for the race track and the other is for riding through public land with their buddies. This is a great way to go yet can be expensive too, as you’re not just paying for the outlay for two bikes, but the ongoing maintenance costs too.

Now – you can fit on a headlight whenever you want to make it safer, even if you never intend to register it. You might actually be riding at nighttime and require the headlight to see around your remote area. Some hunters, for instance, need a headlight to see their pathway when hunting foxes with their dirt bikes.

Fitting Requirements

In addition to the headlight itself, it will need to have a high-beam and low-beam setting. The low-beam must be permanently on when the motorcycle is running. This is a government requirement in most countries and it’s aimed at reducing the deaths of dirt bike riders globally.

You’ll also need to write in the high beam switch somewhere on the handlebars. That said – if you’re not planning on riding on public land, then the high beam switch isn’t legally required and becomes more of a nice-to-have feature.

Consider having a rock-repellant for your headlight too. These will stop roost rocks and debris from flying up and damaging or breaking the plastic on your headlight. Think of this like hardened chicken wire and you should be able to find some at your local hardware store.

In Short

You don’t need a headlight at all, especially if you’re only riding in daytime. Some race organizers require their enduro riders to have headlights (such as the Baja1000 or Dakar Rally) while MX riders never need to worry about this.

Then again, some MX bikes aren’t setup for headlights let alone all the other gear that’s necessary to get their dirt bike registered for the road, such as mirrors and indicators. For this reason, you might want consider having 2 very different dirt bikes – one for fun and one for racing thrills.

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