South Dakota Motorcycle & Helmet Laws

Break Rules in Life – not on the Road.

Rides are born to be wild. But don’t take your outlaw status too far. South Dakota’s motorcycle and helmet laws are designed to protect bikers. So you can live to ride another day.

Motorcycle Licensing

To get your South Dakota motorcycle license, you must be at least 16 years of age and pass the vision, knowledge and motorcycle test. Minors who are at least 16 but under 18 years of age must also complete Instruction Permit requirements.

For more information, visit South Dakota motorcycle licensing.

 Road Laws

Minimum Operator AgeAt least 16 years of age with operator license.
Safety HelmetRequired 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 ProtectionRequired 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%.
HeadlampMust be equipped with at least one but no more than two.
Daytime Headlight UseModulating headlight permitted.
Tail LampMust have at least one which, when lighted, emits a red light visible for a distance of 500 feet.
Passenger SeatRequired if carrying passenger.
Passenger FootrestRequired if carrying passenger.
Passenger Age RestrictionNo.
Helmet SpeakersNo restrictions.
HandlebarsNo restrictions.
MirrorsOne left and one right required by law.
Radar DetectorNo restrictions.
Turn SignalsRequired by law.
MufflerMust at all times be equipped with a muffler in good working order and in constant operation to prevent excessive or unusual noise.
Maximum Sound LevelNo acoustical criteria.
Insurance RequirementCompulsory liability (minimum limits, 25/50/25).
Periodic Safety InspectionNone
Rider Education CertificateDriver test only: road test, written test.
Accept Motorcycle Yes.
Endorsement from Other States
Motorcycles Operating Two Abreast in Same LaneNo 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 SplittingNo 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 AgeNo restriction.
Operator LicenseNot required.
Safety HelmetRequired by law under age 18.
Eye ProtectionRequired by law.
HeadlampNot required.
Tail LampNot required.
MufflerNot required.
Maximum Sound LevelNo acoustical criteria.
Spark ArrestorNot required.
RegistrationNot required.
Vehicle TitleRequired by law.
Rider Education CertificateNot required.
Trails ProgramNot available.

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