Are Lawn Mowers Street Legal? [What to Know]

There are multiple situations where you might want to transfer your lawnmower from one spot to another, and instead of using a truck for this job, you might consider driving it to its destination. After all, a riding mower is just like any other vehicle, right? 

The short answer is that some states consider it legal, while in other states, it is illegal. So if your state allows them on the road, you’re required to follow the regulations and can be charged with a traffic offense if you don’t have a license. 

We’ll take a closer look at what you need to know about riding your machine on the road and whether or not you have to abide by the traffic regulations.  

Are Lawn Mowers Street Legal?

Lawn mowers are classified as vehicles in some states but not in all of them. But even if slow-moving vehicles are allowed, which might happen in rural areas, you can’t just take them for a trip on the road. 

A vehicle can be driven on the road if it’s street legal, which means that it complies with the driving laws in your state, county, and city. To make your lawnmower street legal, you need to treat it like a car or any other vehicle. 

It should have a license plate, legal registration, a rearview mirror, functioning headlights and taillights, and functioning turn signals. This is not only for your safety but the safety. of oncoming traffic.   

Since most riding lawn mowers lack these, then yours won’t be street legal. Unfortunately, this means that driving your lawn mower will be against the law. If caught, you’re likely to get a traffic violation and could even get cited with a DUI if you’re drunk. 

Why Riding Lawn Mowers Are Not Allowed On The Road  

Moreover, taking the lawn mower to the street is a safety hazard. This vehicle lacks the maneuverability of cars, so you might not be able to turn it in time. It might also not meet the laws regarding emissions in some states, like California. 

Grass cutters aren’t allowed on the side of the road because this is where a vehicle is allowed to stop in case of an emergency. If you drive your mower in the slow lane, someone might not be able to stop their car when they need to. 

But if you’re taking it down the street to your neighbor’s property, you might get away with it. Unless a police officer is passing by, you won’t probably get into trouble. Most officers won’t even stop you unless you’re driving recklessly. 

Can You Drive The Mower Short Distances?

Driving a lawn mower down the block or short distances won’t be illegal in states where slow-moving vehicles are allowed. It’s perfectly fine to drive them on trails, dirt roads, alleys, etc. 

You can also ride it on a road that belongs to private property. 

However, you should check with your local DMV and ask a lawyer for advice before attempting to do so. In some cases, you should also display a slow-moving vehicle sign on the back of your vehicle to be allowed to drive your lawn mower. 

Can You Drive a Lawn Mower on the Highway?

There are several situations where you can drive a lawn mower on the street and not get into trouble for it because driving on the highway or freeway is a different story. 

Never drive a lawn mower on the highway because this vehicle isn’t designed for the road’s speed. This means that you’ll be subjecting yourself and other car drivers and passengers to danger. 

The average riding lawn mower has a maximum speed of 5 or 6 miles per hour, while in most states, there’s a minimum speed limit of 35 or 40 miles per hour on the freeway, and driving too slowly is a violation. This is why most slow-speed vehicles are prohibited, even in rural areas. 

You can get a ticket for driving too slowly, which will be the case if you’re driving a riding mower. 

Can I Drive a Lawn Mower on the Sidewalk?

You may be tempted to drive it on the sidewalk to avoid legal issues. However, it is illegal to ride one on the sidewalk. Only bikes and vehicles powered by humans are allowed on the sidewalk for the safety of pedestrians.

Any motor vehicle like a lawn mower, e-bike, or e-scooter is illegal to drive on the sidewalk because it’s public property and it’s meant for pedestrians. In some states, scooters are also prohibited because they jeopardize the safety of people.  

Do You Need a License to Drive a Lawn Mower?

You don’t need a license to drive your lawn mower on your property. According to law, anyone above the age of 16 can operate a riding lawn mower, even if they don’t have a driving license. 

The reason is in most states, riding mowers are not considered vehicles, so the laws of driving vehicles don’t apply to them. But if it’s considered a vehicle in your state, you can’t drive it with a suspended license.

If your driving license is suspended and you can’t drive your car, you can’t use a riding mower to get around. 

Why Are Golf Carts Allowed On the Road But Lawn Mowers Aren’t?

Some states allow other slow-moving vehicles like golf carts on the road, but riding mowers aren’t. According to the law, a vehicle is street legal if it’s a motor vehicle and not self-propelled and it’s used to transport people from one location to another. 

By definition, a golf cart fits this description, but a lawn mower doesn’t. Both are motor vehicles, but the intent of a golf cart is different from the intent of a riding grass cutter. 

A lawn mower is used to mow grass and not transport people, so even though it has a motor and is not self-propelled, it can’t be considered a motor vehicle in most states. Accordingly, driving a lawn mower on the road will be illegal. 

Can I Make My Lawn Mower Street Legal?

Even if you install headlights and turn lights, your lawn mower still lacks an essential thing that makes it street legal; a license plate. If your state doesn’t grant license plates to lawn mowers because they’re not considered vehicles, you won’t be able to get one. 

In this case, attempting to drive one on any public road will be a serious offense. 

Can I Carry A Passenger On My Lawn Mower?

Like we said, in some cases, you’ll be allowed to ride a lawn mower as long as you follow the safety procedures, but even in this case, you can’t have another passenger with you. 

Riding lawn mowers are intended for one person’s use, and other riders aren’t allowed. This vehicle has a single seat specifically designed to hold your body comfortably and give you control over it while driving.  

Carrying another passenger of any age is legally prohibited because they don’t have a place to sit. This means that they can easily fall off, which will lead to severe injuries. 

Even a small child shouldn’t sit on your lap while you’re mowing the lawn on your property. As a matter of fact, lawn mowers cause many kids’ amputation incidents.


Riding lawn mowers have motors, but they’re not considered motorized vehicles in most states, so they’re not street legal. 

Since these vehicles aren’t designed to drive people from one location to another, it’ll be an offense to drive them for this purpose. So, if you have a suspended license, you can’t drive one around the block or even on the sidewalk. 

Driving lawn mowers on freeways and highways is forbidden because they fall below the minimum speed limit. In some cases, they might be allowed dirt roads or trails, but you should pay attention to all safety concerns.

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