No matter how you slice it, the Polaris RZR is a sweet ride. The RZR is an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) that comes in several different models. These range from the Trail and Sport models designed for width-restricted trails to the X-Treme Performance models designed for off-road performance. And there are also four-seaters built for friends and family and special editions.
But while these various models are optimized for mud, rocks, or trail agility, there’s always the question of whether or not Polaris RZRs are legal on the road. If you have one of these versatile vehicles, can you drive it into town to buy your groceries, for example?
Where ATVs are legal
While the question may seem facetious, it isn’t so farfetched for some parts of the country. ATVs are especially common in rural areas. Farmers use them to transport supplies, plow and harrow fields, plow snow, and mow grass. They even come in handy when chasing down livestock. For those who are into outdoor activities, ATVs come in handy when dragging trailers to remote campsites or hauling ice tents to those special ice-fishing spots. So if you can take your Polaris into Sasquatch country, why not drive it to the parking lot of your local big box store as you stock up?
The answer to that question lies in the fundamental definition of “street legal”. Law website hg.org defines the term “street legal” as “having whatever equipment or features the law would require to allow one to operate it legally on the roads at any time and without restriction.” Every state sets its own standards for what is street legal. This applies to several part of the car’s makeup, including emissions and safety features. However, features such as the horn, blinkers, license plate holder, and mirrors are required in every state in the United States.
Modifying your ATV
All of this said, a factory-fresh (or kit-built) ATV won’t be street legal. But the legality of driving a modified ATV on the road varies state by state. For those states where they are legal, you have to buy Polaris parts to make your Polaris RZR street legal. Retailers sell an array of parts designed to outfit and customize these ATVs for individualized use. You can even find “street legal kits” with all the parts you need to legalize your ATV.
You have to research which elements of the vehicle need to be added according to your state laws, of course. Once that’s done, you have to add them to your chassis, or pay a mechanic to add them for you. Additionally, you may want to find road tires for your ATV, just to be safe. Those gnarly trail tires may look cool, but on slick asphalt, you’ll wish you had something a little more mundane and more safe.
And preparing your Polaris RZR for on-road use is only the first step. After you attach all the parts, you still need to get a title, license plate, and registration, available at your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Most states require you to title your ATV whether you’re using it for on-road or off-road use, although they rarely require you to have insurance. Some states don’t require you to register ATVs used exclusively for agricultural purposes.
So, to answer our above question, is a Polaris RZR street legal? The answer is “sometimes, but it’s possible”. It just depends on the state you are in. Check your local DMV office for the rules and regulations. But whether you take your ATV through the desert or through a fast food drive-through, always wear your helmet, and be safe!