Street Legal UTVs And Side-by-Sides: What you MUST Know If You Live In Montana


If you live in Montana, there are things you probably don’t know about UTVs and side-by-sides. Keep reading this article to explore these and more, and to get the best advice on off road street legal vehicle registration.

Is It Necessary To Register Your UTV And Side-By-Side In Montana?

In Montana, you must register your side-by-side or UTV by acquiring a registration decal from your County Treasurer. Your UTV or side-by-side must show the OHV Registration Decal. Registration is not required if you are riding; with authorization, you do not need to register your UTV.

To operate a UTV or street legal side-by-side in Montana, nonresidents must acquire a Nonresident Annual Use Permit, which is valid for the calendar year (January 1 – December 31).

Non-resident permits cost $27 and can be obtained online through the Online Licensing Service or in person at these locations.

What UTV Or Side-By-Side Equipment Do You Need In Montana?

In Montana, you must have the following rather basic equipment.

  • A state-approved muffler that measures 96 decibels or less.
  • A spark arrestor.

It is vital to know that if you want to ride on Montana’s streets, you must install additional equipment.

Where Is It Legal To Ride a UTV Or Side-By-Side In Montana?

On public property, you can only ride side-by-sides and UTVs on authorized OHV trails. Cross-country riding is not legal in Montana. It should be noted that many of the Forest Service’s designated trails are limited to vehicles 50 inches wide or less.

You may register your side-by-side or UTV for use on public streets in Montana. However, there are specific criteria under which a user may operate on public roadways in Montana.

Street legal UTV or side-by-side may be used only if they are equipped with at least one headlight and one tail light, both of which must be illuminated at all times, as well as an operative braking system. The operator must also have a valid driver’s license or, if under the age of 12, a certificate demonstrating successful completion of an off-highway vehicle safety education course recognized by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks. At the time of operation, such a young operator must also be in the physical presence of someone who has a driver’s license.

Is It Possible To Make Your UTV Or Side-By-Side Street Legal In Montana?

In Montana, riding on public streets includes all municipal streets, county roads, and US Forest Service system roads. It is worth noting that BLM roads are not considered public highways. Side-by-side and UTV use is permissible on BLM roads; they do not need to be street legal, and the operator does not need a license.

If you have made your side-by-side or UTV street legal, you may operate it on public streets in Montana. This procedure necessitates the installation of a mirror, horn, headlight, and brake lights on your UTV or side-by-side.

To ride a UTV or side-by-side on the road, it must be registered as a motor vehicle and have a valid license plate. Of course, the operator must have a valid driver’s license.

You may not transport a person on the street unless the vehicle is designed to do so. Anyone under the age of 18 is also required to wear a helmet.

Final Remarks

Whether you are interested in making your UTV street legal, or wish to learn more about vehicle registration in Montana, or what it takes to have a street legal ATV, working with a reputable agent like 5 Star Registration can help you complete the process in less time and without the hassle.