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South Dakota Motorcycle Laws

Road Laws

Minimum Operator Age At least 16 years of age with operator license.
Safety Helmet Required by law under age 18; helmet must be an approved US DOT helmet. A person riding in an enclosed cab attached to a motorcycle does not have to wear a safety helmet.
Eye Protection Required by law unless equipped with windscreen of sufficient height and design that protects the motorcycle operator. When headlights are required to be on, a motorcycle operator cannot wear protective eye devices that are tinted or shaded to reduce the light transmission of the device below 35%.
Headlamp Must be equipped with at least one but no more than two.
Daytime Headlight Use Modulating headlight permitted.
Tail Lamp Must have at least one which, when lighted, emits a red light visible for a distance of 500 feet.
Passenger Seat Required if carrying passenger.
Passenger Footrest Required if carrying passenger.
Passenger Age Restriction No.
Helmet Speakers No restrictions.
Handlebars Handgrips below shoulder height.
Mirrors One left and one right required by law.
Radar Detector No restrictions.
Turn Signals Required by law.
Muffler Must at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise.
Maximum Sound Level No acoustical criteria.
Insurance Requirement Compulsory liability (minimum limits, 25/50/25).
Periodic Safety Inspection None.
Rider Education Certificate Driver test only: road test, written test.
Accept Motorcycle Endorsement from Other States Yes.
Motorcycles Operating Two Abreast in Same Lane No person may operate a motorcycle more than two abreast in a single lane. A violation of this section is a class 2 misdemeanor. 32-20-9.5
Lane Splitting No person may operate a motorcycle between adjacent lanes of traffic, or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. 32-20-9.3 The operator of a motorcycle may not overtake and pass in the same lane occupied by the vehicle being overtaken. This section does not apply to motorcycles being operated two abreast in the same lane or a motorcycle and a bicycle being operated two abreast in the same lane. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor. 32-20-9.2


Off-Road Laws

Minimum Operator Age No restriction.
Operator License Not required.
Safety Helmet Required by law under age 18.
Eye Protection Required by law.
Headlamp Not required.
Tail Lamp Not required.
Muffler Not required.
Maximum Sound Level No acoustical criteria.
Spark Arrestor Not required.
Registration Not required.
Vehicle Title Required by law.
Rider Education Certificate Not required.
Trails Program Not available.

For more detailed information on motorcycle laws, rules and regulations see the South Dakota Codified Laws (Chapter 32-20).


Motorcycle Licensing

To obtain a motorcycle license, you must be at least 16 years of age and pass the vision, knowledge (car/truck and motorcycle) and motorcycle test. Minors who are at least 16 years old, but under 18 years of age, must complete the requirements of the Instruction Permit and not have any traffic violation convictions during the past six months prior to obtaining the Motorcycle License. The license is valid for five years; the cost is $8.00 for the car/truck test and $8.00 for the motorcycle test.

For complete licensing information and online driving manuals, visit South Dakota Driver Licensing.


Sources: South Dakota Department of Revenue and Regulation; AAA Motor Law Digest, 68th (2002) Edition; American Motorcyclist Association.