Can you ride a dirt bike legally on the road in Australia? This depends on a myriad of factors, but generally speaking:
You can ride dirt bikes on Australian roadways provided you have full registration, a licence and are ADR-compliant and the particular roadway allows motorcycle traffic. Those holding recreational registration in such states as Victoria simply cannot ride on the bitumen legally, as those form of registration is designed for offroad riding use only.
If you own a motocross bike, then it’s unlikely to be able to be registered in the first place. Unfortunately, the same is true for pit bikes which aren’t road legal on Australian roads. This is due to ADR-compliance issues.
Riding Dirt Bikes on Australian Roads
Essentially, it boils down to 2 things:
- Your licence. You’ll need to have your Provisional licence at the very least which limits you to 250cc motorcycles.
- Your registration. You’ll need proper motorcycle registration as recreational registration doesn’t count for riding on the highway or residential streets in Australia.
Even when you do have these boxes ticked off, you’re still restricted. You won’t be able to ride in National Parks which are closed to all vehicle traffic (with the exception of main thoroughfares and carparks) nor can you ride on footpaths and the like.
To get your dirt bike registered in Australia, you’ll need to do the following:
- Fix a working headlight that remains permanently on when the engine is running.
- Attach mirrors, turn indicators, a numberplate and brake lights including turn-signal switches.
- Keep your dirt bike stock and remove any questionable performance modifications.
This process is relatively easy and will cost you about $400. However – before you start – it’s important to consider that some dirt bikes, especially MX bikes, simply cannot be registered at all. They don’t meet the Australian Design Rules and you’ll be wasting your money.
How do you know if your dirt bike can be registered? Easy. Simply phone your local dealer who will know all the details.
Things to Consider
There are some things you may wish to think about. These include:
- Mounting a toll-tag. If you ride your dirt bike on the highway, you’ll still need to pay toll fees like any other motorcycle.
- Increased tyre wear. Dirt bike tyres are designed for gnarly tracks and not the hot or slippery bitumen.
- A new sprocket. You should modify your gearing so you can ride comfortably at 110km/h.
- You’ll feel ‘naked’ out on the roads. It’s sketchy to ride a dirt bike at such high speeds and around heavy trucks which create a huge wind draft when overtaking, so be really mindful.
It’s often not so fun to ride dirt bikes on any road so keep this to the occasional trip, unless you’re a motard rider.
There are 2 great options if this doesn’t work out for you:
- Trade your dirt bike in for one that can actually be registered. Some bikes like Yamaha’s WR250R are still excellent performers where you can ride to and from the local riding trails.
- Stick to riding parks and MX tracks. These are popular across Australia and we’ve written numerous regional riding guides here which help you find great places to ride.
Some riders actually have 2 bikes – one for the track and one for riding the trails on weekends. Likewise, some have an adventure motorcycle for long-distance cruising and a lighter performance dirt bike for ripping up the trails.
It’s clear that you can certainly ride a dirt bike on any Australian road. If it’s open for regular traffic, then it’s open for you. That is – as long as you are fully registered, licenced and your bike is capable for the job.
Get yourself a good insurance policy as well as some riding gear for the trip. Plan your route so you can avoid riding in the rain or during the busier school holiday season, and you’ll do just fine.
Next up: Read this helpful guide below! 😃