Are dirt bikes, ATVs street legal?


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Police departments across the Midstate are receiving complaints about illegal dirt bikes and ATVs on the road.

Erratic driving has lead several police departments, like Swatara Township Police and Lancaster City police, to post pictures online to identify offenders.

According to a PennDOT spokesperson, “Vehicles that are commonly classified as dirt bikes fall into several categories depending on the characteristics of the vehicle itself.”

PennDOT has created a fact sheet.

According to the law, ATVs are not allowed on the roads in Pennsylvania. Some dirt bikes could fall under motorcycles, but in order to be street legal, they would need to be insured, inspected, and have a registration plate.

Harrisburg Police Corporal Kyle Gautsch says the overwhelming majority of dirt bikes on the street in Harrisburg are not properly registered, insured, or inspected and operators are seldomly properly licensed.

“It is challenging for police based on the volume of dirt bikes/ATVs we sometimes see on the roadway, as well as the unlikelihood for the operators to stop when police attempt to stop them and enforce the law,” Corporal Gautsch said. “The law(s) being broken are typically summary offenses, and don’t warrant police chasing and endangering the public or dirt bike/ATV operator.”

According to police, if a dirt bike/ATV is seized for a summary offense it is later returned to the owner if it was lawfully owned.

Police suggest getting pictures or videos of potential offenders and submitting them to your local police department.

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