Are Side-by-Sides Street Legal in Utah?


Hello there! Are you intrigued by the possibility of riding a side-by-side on the road? Need to get your vehicle to a trail close by, but don’t want to load it up into a trailer, just to unload it again? Or maybe, do you just want to go grab some milk from the store in style? These are all reasons why you UTV enthusiasts may want to ride their side-by-sides on the road.

So, are side-by-sides street legal in Utah? In Utah, side-by-sides are street legal if they have a title and are registered in the state. When users are riding their UTV they must comply with all traffic rules, pass an inspections test, and have insurance.

This means that you will need to do some research to find out about what local laws and city ordinances will affect your use of a side-by-side in Utah. In this article, I will help you learn about what is required to get your side by side street legal in Utah, and then help you get started on how to do research for the laws of your local jurisdiction.

General Rules

First off, you should know these general rules about side-by-side operation in Utah. It is illegal to operate a side-by-side on any road, unless that side-by-side has been modified to be street legal. The Utah DMV has set the following requirements for side-by-sides to be street legal:

1) A Safety Check

The safety check must be performed before the first time registration. During the check, they will make sure that all of the requirements to make a side by side street legal have been met.

2) Registration

The vehicle must be registered like any other street-legal vehicle. Registration will be paid like any other street-legal vehicle, and your side by side will have a Utah license plate like any other vehicle on the road.

3) Insurance

Side-by-sides operating on the street must have insurance coverage just like any other vehicle on the street.

4) Driver’s License

When driving a street legal side-by-side on the road, you must have the same type of driver’s license as you would need to operate a normal car on the road.

5) Safety Equipment

There is certain safety equipment that all side-by-sides are required to have that in order to be operated on the road. These safety features are part of the safety check that will be done by the State before you can register your side-by-side. If these items are not up to the inspector’s satisfaction, you will not be allowed to register your side-by-side for street use.

If your side-by-side doesn’t currently have these features, then it can usually be modified pretty easily. Some local businesses even sell kits that you can install yourself to get the vehicle street legal!

These are the equipment requirements:

  • A horn
  • Headlights
  • Tail Lights
  • A place for a lighted license plate (with a white light)
  • Red rear reflectors
  • Brake lights
  • Turning signals. The front signals must be amber and the rear may be amber or red.
  • Brakes
  • A muffler
  • Rearview mirrors
  • A windshield
  • An illuminated speedometer
  • Footrest and handhold for each passenger
  • A seatbelt for each passenger the vehicle is designed to hold.
  • Maximum vehicle width is 70 inches, measured at widest point.

The Laws

There are some other things to keep in mind as well when you are operating a street legal side-by-side. Even if your side-by-side is now street legal, there are other laws governing their use. Keep in mind that there can be local laws on top of the statewide ones, and that state law can change without warning. Remember that you are responsible to always know the law, and you should do your own research before driving.

That said, the basic laws are pretty simple. With a registered, plated and insured side-by-side, you can ride on all streets and any highways that have one lane in each direction. Highways with two or more lanes are off-limits.

A highway with one lane going each direction that has a temporary passing lane still counts as a two-lane highway.

No matter where you drive, your speed is limited to 45 mph, or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower.

If you are riding on a highway that has a speed limit higher than 45 mph, you must ride on the extreme right side of the road and install a reflector or a reflective tape. Also included in the law is the provision that you cannot drive a side by side on a highway that is under the jurisdiction of Salt Lake County.

Local Jurisdictions

Utah’s laws leave a lot of room for city and county governments to make rules regarding the use of UTVs and ATVs on their roads. This makes for an interesting plethora of laws that you need to understand before riding.

In Salt Lake City, for example, their use is not allowed at all. Outside of Salt Lake City, you will find many differing laws and local ordinances touching on the operation of side-by-sides. Here are some ideas to get you started on your search for information:

  • Check the website for your city and county. Due to the rising popularity of side-by-sides, they are likely to have some information about what is legal and what is not.
  • Check with the Forest Service. They can have their own rules for riding side by sides within national forests or national parks.
  • Check with Utah State Parks. The state parks similarly may have particular rules for riding.
  • Check with your local police department. They are, after all, the people who will be ticketing you if you are not in compliance with the law.
  • Check with a lawyer or lawyer friend. Since they are always working with laws anyways, they might know the laws for your area off the top of their head. At the very least they could probably point you in the right direction.

Thanks for reading! Now you know how easy it is to register your side by side in the State of Utah.

Hopefully, you have a better idea of what will be required and will be in a better position to decide if getting street certified is right for you. Also, I hope that these ideas will point you in the right direction to be able to understand the laws that govern their operation. Remember, it is your job to know the law! Thanks for reading and good luck getting street legal!

Related Questions:

Is it safe to ride a side-by-side on the road? Riding side-by-sides on the road is less safe than a car. You should keep in mind that side-by-sides are not built to react and protect people during high-speed impacts. This is why you should keep the 45 mph speed limit on side-by-sides.

Will an emissions test be required? Emissions testing in Utah is complicated, and a test may be required to register a side-by-side. If you live in a county that does emissions testing, then you will probably be required to get an emissions test every other year after the vehicle is two years old.

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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