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Can You Ride a Dirt Bike Without a Licence?

So you’re looking at dirt bikes but don’t yet have the licence? Sounds like a tough situation but it isn’t.

You can ride a dirt bike without a licence if you are riding on private property. This is also true if the motorcycle itself is registered, but your licence is yet to come – you’ll need to stay away from government land for now.

The exception to the rule is organized group tours. You’ve probably been on vacation and have seen signs saying ‘ATV tours’ and the like where the organizers don’t expect you to have a licence to ride these bikes in the tour. They have sought special permission from the government with insurance as well to cover you.

Riding Dirt Bikes with No Licence

There are certainly places where a licence isn’t necessary to ride a dirt bike. These include:

  • Motocross tracks. Many MX riders aren’t licenced, including under 16s.
  • Dirt bike parks. They generally don’t ask you to have a licence to ride.
  • Private property. If you own a large portion of land, then anyone can ride here without a licence.

At the same time, there are some liability issues which come to the surface if you’re riding without a licence. Your health insurance may not cover you if you’re riding a dirt bike without a licence so do check with them prior to going on the trails.

Some people think that they can ride a low-powered motorcycle with a car licence. This is true as some states allow you to ride a 50cc moped without an actual motorcycle licence, yet dirt bikes are almost always much more powerful than these.

Children Riding with No Licence

Kids riding dirt bikes is an interesting issue as they can’t generally get a licence until age 16 in most states, with some states making the minimum age 17 or 18. This doesn’t prevent them from riding, however, if they stick to the 3 solutions we’ve provided above.

You can enroll your kids into a dirt bike school to help their skills development. In fact, most MX tracks provide coaching for children weekly to help develop their skills and this may be an insurance requirement.

In terms of riding on public land, the rules are almost universal. Children aren’t allowed to ride on government or public land with their dirt bikes, which includes roads, parks, trail bike routes and dirt roads. The only exception is teenagers and they need to have both a licence to ride and registration on their dirt bike.

While you may be able to claim recreational registration for a children’s dirt bike in some areas of Australia and the United States, they still won’t qualify for a licence. Therefore this can be an expensive process with no real benefit unless you want to ride your own children’s bike offroad which is unlikely.

The Solution

Often the best solution for kids who are in love with their dirt bikes is the parents choosing to move into the country. It’s here that children can ride as much as they want without looking over their shoulder.

Certainly, there is no need for licences or registration for dirt bikes being ridden at home. It’s your land and your rights. You’ll find that just about every pro rider in the world had open land that they could practice on daily. If your kids are committed – then this is a solid way to go.

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