Legalizing Your Polaris RZR For Street Riding
Feb 2nd 2020
Many Polaris RZR riders lament about the hoops they have to jump through for the government to make their rigs street legal. In places like Idaho, you can make your stock Polaris RZR street legal. They “recommend” riders to have a horn, one rear mirror, headlights, marker lights, and brake lights, but these are merely reconditions. In states like Utah, the recommendations are requirements, and a three-mirror kit, turn signals, and a lighted bracket for the license plate are also required. Add to this this the fact that different nations have different street legal laws, and the laws between different counties within the same state can also vary. So hopefully, we can clear up some of the confusion surrounding street legal accessories and riding a Polaris RZR on public roads.
Making Your RZR Street Legal In Non-UTV Friendly States
In places like East Texas, riding your RZR on public streets is illegal and heavily enforced by the Game Warden. There is a particular hatred for side-by-side riders in Collin county, and the Game Wardens there have a chip on their shoulder agains RZR owners. However, there are still ways for Texas residents and individuals living in similar non-UTV friendly states to ride their Polaris RZRs legal on he blacktop.
For example, riding you RZR on public pavement is legal if you mount a slow-moving vehicle emblem on it and own a farm or ranch that you’re en rout to less than 25 miles away. Sure this is only applicable to farmers and ranchers, but if you always make sure to carry some barbed wire, a couple sets of fencing pliers, or some irrigation or other farming tools / implements, your chances of being stopped will be slightly diminished.
Another loophole that many RZR riders take advantage of is non-resident registration in states that allow you to license a UTV. Multiple states allow non-residents to register their side-by-sides there. Most are out west, and South Dakota is notoriously easy to register a UTV as a non-resident. The process is super simple, but even though they don’t inspect your machine, they do make you sign documents saying that you have all the required street legal accessories and modifications, punishable under penalty of perjury. Although it is doubtful whether or not you’d ever be prosecuted, it could come back to bite you in the ass if you falsify these claims.
Furthermore, not all states have to honor another state’s plates, stickers, or agreements unless they have a reciprocity agreement. It may work in your situation, or it may not. Lots of people register lots of toys out of state for various “tax” reasons — it’s nothing new. But unlike expensive motorhomes or other already-street-legal vehicles, RZR’s are kinda iffy, as there are multiple reasons why any given officer in any given state could cite you if they wanted to — illegal solid rear axles as just one of many examples. In Texas, it’s up to the officer whether or not your receive a ticket; and they can still write you a ticket with a state plate or registration from another state.
In Florida, many riders register their RZRs in Arizona. Obviously it has to pass all the DOT stuff, but once you’re done, you’ll get a title and an HOV sticker. In most Florida counties, the sheriff has bigger fish to fry than a glorified golf cart with big wheels, but again, not all counties are the same with regards to enforcement.
The best thing you can do to get your Polaris RZR street legal in your area is to petition your city council — especially if you live in a smaller community. The folks in Blanchard Oklahoma recently got street legal side-by-side legislation passed — with a $25 yearly permit and other restrictions vs being fully street legal — and other towns like El Reno / Weatherford have done this as well.
Abiding By The Local Laws
Most places have at least some requirements to make a Polaris RZR street legal. Be it DOT approved windshields, eye protection, mirrors, turn signals, or a combination of them all, if you want to ride legally, you’re going to need some street legal modifications. But in addition to the proper street legal accessories, you’re likely going to need a drivers license, insurance, and a license plate — that is, unless your rig qualifies as a farm vehicle.