Mowing the lawn is a summer rite of passage. But, did you know that depending on your state, using a lawn mower may be illegal? In some states, gasoline-powered lawnmowers are classified as street vehicles and require registration and a license plate. In others, they are considered “motor vehicles,” which fall under the same regulations as cars.
Well, the question can’t be answered entirely but here are a couple of things you might need to know.
Are Lawn Mowers Street Legal?
Can you operate a lawn mower on the street? In most cases, the answer is yes. However, there are some restrictions that apply in certain municipalities. Read on to learn more about the laws governing lawn mowing on the street.
Now, let’s understand what it means for a vehicle to be street-legal and what a street is. A street is a paved part of the road in villages or cities that includes sidewalks and buildings.
A vehicle is street legal when it has turn signs, highlights, a registered license plate number, and signals. If we are to use this to judge if lawnmowers are street legal then it is not legal. This is because lawnmowers have none of those features.
In rural areas where the street is some dirt road or not paved roads, it might be legal to drive the lawnmower just like every other piece of farm equipment. So it is not strange to see a tractor or lawnmower being driven on a rural road. Driving a lawnmower on a highway is however a big No.
But then the legality of a lawnmower depends on the state. So to answer your question currently and precisely, you should check out your country’s laws and regulations.
This can be done by checking your country’s website for laws against driving lawnmowers on the street. And if at all you have to drive it on the street without being sure if it is legal, then make sure the road is not packed with traffic.
Do You Need a License to Use a Riding Lawn Mower?
A lawn mower is not a vehicle and for that, it does not require a license to be driven. However, if your state refers to a lawnmower as a vehicle and it is street legal, then you need a license to drive it, especially on the road.
Do not worry, you do not need a license to use or drive your lawnmower in your yard. This is because it is within its authorized space.
Some people think that since their license is suspended, they can drive their lawnmowers on the road. Well no, you cannot. It might not count if you are using it on a Non-governmental or public property but if you are caught driving a lawnmower somewhere other than that, you will be penalized with the same punishments for driving a vehicle that is not street legal.
Read More: How to Clean Lawn Mower Air Filter?
Is a Lawnmower Considered a Motor Vehicle?
A lawnmower can be considered a vehicle and cannot be considered a vehicle. This is because there are different states all with different rules, statutes, and road recognition. While state A agrees that a lawnmower is a vehicle, state B might not. It can also be considered to be a vehicle by different states based on different circumstances around it.
A lawnmower can be considered a vehicle when compared to self-propelled devices such as bicycles, scooters, wheelchairs, and electric bikes.
Lawnmowers are also self-esteem-propelled. They are called self-propelled because they have their force for movement.
But they are not considered to be vehicles because they do not have four wheels, headlights, engines, and even seat belts. And even if the lawnmower meets has all of these features, it will not be considered a vehicle.
This is major because lawnmowers are mainly known to mow lawns and not to transport people. Lawnmowers are not even capable of running up to the speed limits of most vehicles allowed on the road. So putting a slow vehicle sticker on it does not still make it a vehicle.
When you use your lawnmower in your backyard, it is not a vehicle but if you take it outside the backyard and to the streets it might be seen as a vehicle. And so you can be penalized if, in your country, lawnmowers are not street legal.
How to Make a Lawn Mower Street Legal?
The possibility of this happening is almost zero. To make a lawnmower street legal, a lot of procedures need to be followed. Those include getting a license plate number and to get this the lawnmower needs to pass through a couple of tests.
This test includes the emission test. You know vehicles with too many emissions are not allowed on the road. This is because these emissions are volatile organic compounds that can be harmful to humans. And lawnmowers have been tested and proven to release more emissions than an average streetcar.
So even when you have all the necessary things to convert your lawnmower to become street legal, it might not pass the emission test.
And failing the emission test spoils the chances of getting a license plate for your lawnmower. Also, you need to be sure that there are turn signs for the lawnmower.
Can I Carry A Passenger When Driving My Lawnmower On The Road?
Driving a lawnmower on the road is not considered legal in most states. Many people even believe it is legal because it is a small vehicle with four wheels and an engine. There are many laws in almost every state that prohibit driving a lawn mower on highways or public roads.
On the other hand, you may carry a passenger on your mower if the carrying capacity is sufficient to support 2 people. However, you should avoid this type of driving on a highway if you do not want to get a fine or penalty.
Can I Drive a Mower on The Sidewalk?
While it may be a harmless vehicle to drive on the pavement, it is another activity that is prohibited in the vast majority of states. It should also be noted that it is somewhat dangerous for the driver who chooses to travel on pavement or street with a mower.
The most common risks are tickets, arrests, or traffic accidents caused by other vehicles. So you cannot drive a lawn mower on the pavement if you want to avoid trouble and get out of the situation unscathed.
Can I Drive a Riding Mower on The Road Without a License?
You do not need a driver’s license to ride a lawn mower in your garden. You also do not need a license to drive your lawn mower on the road, as this is prohibited. This is because most states do not consider a lawn mower to be a vehicle.
How far can you drive a riding lawn mower?
The distance you can drive with your mower depends on the fuel tank, the length of the cable if it is an electric mower or the capacity of the battery. On average, it is possible to drive for more than 2 hours with your mower.
The distance you can reach at this time depends on the speed at which you can reach your mower. A lawnmower does not offer a high speed, so the result will be similar to walking for more than 2 hours.
Safety Tips when you take Lawn Mowers to Street
There are a few safety tips to avoid damage, injury, or simple annoyance when you mow your lawn.
Mow your lawn when you are away from vehicles and other people. If any vehicles, bystanders, or children are passing close to where you are using your mower, you should turn the machine off for a few seconds.
Clean the area where you want to work with your mower. This means removing as many stones, branches, metal, or wires as possible and other debris that can be dangerous when meeting the high-speed blades.
Choose the correct direction for the expected cut. Much unseen debris could fly away, causing damage to other people’s property or the people themselves.
When you must cross pavement or move to another area to mow, you must turn off your mower. At times when you are moving to another location, you are not using your mower. So, turning off the blades avoids many unexpected problems.
Now you know that there are limits to using a lawn mower as directed by different states. The whole of this emphasizes using a lawnmower responsibly and legally. Because a lawnmower is not a vehicle, does not have a brake and all other necessary qualities to be called a vehicle.
The only place it can be used freely and fearlessly is in your yard, private property.
So yes, in this case, forget the “if you can’t beat them, join them” saying. Because if unluckily you are caught, you will be left to pay the penalties alone. But just to be sure that you are on the right path.
Read through your state’s or country’s rules and regulations for laws against the use of lawnmowers on the street.