Are Side-by-Sides Street Legal in Ohio?


It’s the dream to be able to drive your side-by-side around. It is such a fun experience, especially during the summer. But if you live in Ohio, there is a process you’ll need to go through to get your vehicle certified for street use.

So, are side-by-sides street legal in Ohio? Side-by-sides are street legal in Ohio after they pass the required inspection to obtain a title and registration. Some alterations might need to be made to pass this inspection, but the choice is ultimately decided by local authorities in for when and where the side by side can be used.

You will have to go through a few steps in order to obtain a street legal side by side. This process doesn’t have to take too long, and I’ll walk you through the requirements and steps below.

Ohio’s Street Legal Side-by-Side Laws:

When you’re driving your side-by-side around town, you do not want to run the risk of being pulled over by the police and getting fined and ticketed.

You must understand Ohio’s laws for side-by-sides. The laws are different for each state, so you shouldn’t assume that the same rules will apply if you have just moved from somewhere else.

Requirements for obtaining a street legal side by side:

  • Have at least one headlight. The headlight should have enough brightness to illuminate any person or object in front of your vehicle within at least one hundred feet. This range should work during the hours of the night, or during times of poor lighting and visibility (such as rain and fog).
  • Have at least one red tail light. This tail light should have enough brightness to be seen within five hundred feet behind the vehicle. This is so those driving on the road around you will be able to spot your side-by-side. This will help increase your safety and the safety of other drivers around you.
  • Have a muffler system. This muffler system needs to be able to preclude the emission of smoke or exhaust fumes. It should also limit the engine’s noise.

You will need each of these items to obtain a street legal side-by-side. Without any one of these items, you may risk the safety of everyone on the road.

It would be so nice if your side-by-side could be used everywhere. However, the unfortunate truth is that there are some prohibitions on where you can drive it.

Just because your side by side is street legal, that does not mean that you are completely free to roam anywhere you want.

Some of the prohibitions on your street legal side by side in Ohio are:

  • No use on limited access highways or freeways. This rule is exempt for any emergency purpose. The director of public safety can give you the ability for emergency traveling purposes.
  • No operation on private property. This rule is not applicable if you have permission from the property owner.
  • No operation on land or waters controlled by the state. If you are able to, there will be signs stating your allowance. However, without that, assume that you are not permitted access to the state’s land.
  • No operation on tracks of any operating railroad. You will not want to ride your side-by-side through any tracks anyways. However, the law also states that you cannot.
  • No operation between sunset to sunrise without lights on. To have a street legal side-by-side, you will need to follow the rules of the road. If it is dark outside, you will need and want your lights on.

Another thing to be aware of while you are driving a side-by-side in Ohio is the age law. You may not drive the side-by-side if you are younger than 16 years old unless you are driving on private land and have supervision from an adult (18+).

Remember the rules of the road and you will have a great ride through your Ohio town. Just make sure you know the laws beforehand.

Obtaining a Street Legal Side-by-Side:

Although there are so many places in Ohio where you will not have to worry about having a street legal side-by-side, it is still a good idea to have one. Getting yourelf certified early can prevent problems in the future.

Before you can obtain a certificate of title and registration, you will need your side-by-side to be inspected by local law enforcement.

The process will be fairly easy if you are prepared with what they need.

To pass your inspection, be sure that you have these things.

  1. Adequate brakes and braking system.
  2. Properly working brake lights, head lights, tail lights, and turn signals.
  3. Properly working steering mechanism.
  4. A windshield.
  5. A rear view mirror.
  6. Appropriate tires that are free from major bumps, bulges, breaks, or any conditions that could cause unsafe conditions.

If you side by side includes all of these elements, then you should easily be able to have a street legal side-by-side.

Along with all the things that your side-by-side will need, you will also need to have a few things on hand when walking into the office after inspection

Make sure that you bring along with you these things.

  1. A completed inspection from local law enforcement.
  2. Application for certificate of title to a motor vehicle form.
  3. Proof of ownership (this can be manufacture certificate of origin, assigned title from this state, bill of sale from retail business, etc.)
  4. Sales tax on purchase price.
  5. Payment for title fees, including a lien holder notation.

With all of these things, you should easily be able to obtain title and registration. It may not happen very quickly, but all good things take time!

Exceptions for the Agricultural Use Value Program:

Because of the number of farmers in Ohio, there is a law titled the Current Agricultural Use Value or CAUV. This is for property tax purposes. It is exclusive to commercial agriculture.

This relates to your street legal side-by-side in Ohio, because that is not a concern under this law. With this law, you will not need registration or a license to drive your side by side on the street.

As long as you are using you side by side for agricultural purposes, you will not need to obtain a street legal side by side through the normal process.

However, there are a few things you will need to require for this program. In order to obtain a street legal side by side under this law, you must meet one or more of these requirements during the 3 years preceding your application.

  1. Have ten or more acres devoted exclusively to commercial agricultural use.
  2. Have under ten acres devoted exclusively to commercial agricultural use, but produce an average yearly gross income of at least $2,500.

If you meet any of these requirements, then you will be able to ride your side by side street legally without your title and registration.


For whatever purpose you are obtaining a street legal side by side for, you are guaranteed to enjoy it. Coming from firsthand experience, I can say that it is worth any hassle to ride your side by side around town.

Especially in Ohio, where the nature is so beautiful, you want to take advantage of using your side by side as much as possible.

Enjoy the amazing experience.

Related Questions:

What states are side-by-sides street legal in? In most states, there are laws and requirements depending on the state. It will depend on your local laws and what they require. However, after meeting the requirements and completing an inspection, your side by side can become street legal in any state.

Can a John Deere Gator be made street legal? A John Deere Gator can be made street legal after adding in a few extra parts. These parts consist of anything from mirrors to turn signals. There are different requirements for each state. You must first meet your local D.O.T specifications.

Are side-by-sides street legal in California? It is possible to obtain a street legal side-by-side in California. However, the process is much more intense than in other states. It takes much more time. In California, this is not very common because there are so many large cities.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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