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Street-Legal Vehicles
Street legal or road going refers to a vehicle such as an automobile, motorcycle, or light truck that is equipped and licensed for use on public roads, being therefore roadworthy. This will require specific configurations of lighting, signal lights, and safety equipment. Some specialty vehicles that will not be operated on roads therefore do not need all the features of a street-legal vehicle; examples are a vehicle used only off-road (such as a sandrail) that is trailered to its off-road operating area, and a race car that is used only on closed race tracks and therefore does not need all the features of a street-legal vehicle. As well as motor vehicles, the street-legal distinction applies in some jurisdictions to track bicycles that lack street-legal brakes and lights. Street legality rules can even affect race car helmets, which possess visual fields too narrow for use on an open road without the risk of missing a fast-moving vehicle.
In the United States, the individual states have the authority to determine, by means of statutes and regulations, which types of vehicles are permitted on public streets, as a function of police power. Vehicles that are considered street-legal in the U.S. include automobiles, trucks, and motorcycles. Some vehicles that are not generally sold for on-road driving – such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and golf carts – can potentially be adapted for street use, if permitted by state law.
Most requirements for automobiles are largely consistent between U.S. States. A notable exception is California emission control, which has traditionally been more strict than that in other states. Common requirements for automobiles include structure (hood) and safety equipment (headlamps and bumpers).