Vehicle Rules and Protocols

This section covers everything you need to know about operating vehicles at Burning Man.

No Driving

With very few exceptions, participants are only allowed to drive motor vehicles to their camps and when they depart the event. Otherwise, motor vehicles should remain parked.

A Pedestrian and Bicycle City

For safety, aesthetic,  and cultural reasons, Black Rock City is designed for pedestrians and bicycles. Driving cars and trucks on the playa has been prohibited — again, with few exceptions — since 1997.

While the vast majority of people walk, bring a bicycle,  or hitch the occasional ride on a Mutant Vehicle to get around the playa, a small number of participants use one of the other allowed types of powered Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs). We define a PTV as a conveyance that is powered by ANY type of motor or drive system, including (but not limited to) wheeled, tracked, or hovering systems, powered by electric, gas, or other fuel, (i.e. anything that is not solely human-powered).

Over the past few years, participants have begun bringing an increasing number and variety of PTVs to the event — many that didn’t exist when we wrote the original rules. We also began receiving an increasing number of complaints and reports of PTV-related accidents and injuries.

With a population of 70,000 people, just a small change in the number of people using PTVs at the event can have a significant impact on the look, feel. and safety of Black Rock City. Based on this, we’ve updated and clarified our rules on vehicles that are permitted at the event.

Vehicles Not Allowed in Black Rock City

The only Mutant Vehicles allowed to enter Black Rock City are those that have received an email from the DMV inviting the vehicle to go through final inspection on the playa for a Mutant Vehicle license. For more on these see the DMV page.

Any powered vehicle not on the “Allowed PTVs” list (other than the vehicle you drive to the event) may not be brought to Black Rock City. If you bring a disallowed PTV to Black Rock City, you will be required to take it off playa before you will be allowed to enter. If a disallowed PTV is found inside the city, you will be required to take it off playa. Operating a disallowed PTV at Burning Man can result in the vehicle being ejected from the event.

Towed or Trailered Vehicles

Towed, trailered, or mounted vehicles (like motorcycles or ATVs*) are not allowed at the event unless they are a Mutant or Disabled Persons Vehicle that has received an Invite Letter from the Department of Mutant Vehicles. The Gate will not allow these vehicles into the event, and you will have to take them off playa before you will be allowed into Black Rock City.
 Note: *ATVs that have been invited as Disabled Persons Vehicles ARE allowed

Types of Participant Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs) NOT Allowed in Black Rock City

Larger stand-up scooters, fat tire scooters, gas-powered bicycles, powered quadricycles, ATVS, mopeds and motorcycles are not allowed inside the Burning Man event.

PTVs NOT Allowed in Black Rock City

Types of PTVs ALLOWED To Drive in Black Rock City

Below is a list of vehicle types that you are permitted to drive in Black Rock City. There may be other vehicles not specifically mentioned below. A good “rule of thumb” (but not a hard rule) for whether a PTV will be allowed is: Can I easily lift the vehicle over my head?

  1. Licensed Mutant Vehicles
  2. Licensed Vehicles for People with Disabilities
  3. Staff, Emergency and Law Enforcement Agency Vehicles
  4. Allowed Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs)
    1. eBikes, a.k.a. electric-assist bicycles
    2. Stand-up handle scooters (e.g., Go-Peds)
    3. eWheels (unicycle-type) and OneWheels (skateboard-type)
    4. Self-balancing bi-wheel (e.g., Segways)
    5. Hoverboards
    6. Some types of wind-powered vehicles

1. Licensed Mutant Vehicles

The only Mutant Vehicles allowed to enter Black Rock City are those that have received an invitation letter from the Black Rock City DMV to go through final inspection on playa for a Mutant Vehicle license. For more on these, see the DMV Mutant Vehicle Criteria webpage.

2. Licensed Vehicles for People with Disabilities

If you have a temporary or permanent physical disability, you should be able to receive a Disabled Persons Vehicle (DPV) license from the DMV. Pre-registration is preferred whenever possible. Please go to the DMV Disabled Person’s Vehicle webpage to find out more about vehicles and transportation for those with disabilities.

3. Staff, Emergency, and Law Enforcement Agency Vehicles

These vehicles are crucial to the safety and operation of our event.

4. Allowed Participant Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs)

* While top speeds listed for the vehicles below varies between 15 and 25 MPH, operators are expected to ALWAYS OBEY THE 5 MPH SPEED LIMIT IN BLACK ROCK CITY.

Electric-Assist Bicycles (eBikes)

  • Must conform to the definition of “electric bicycle” under Nevada state law:
      • Generally recognized as a bicycle
      • 2-3 wheels
      • Working pedals
      • Electric motor, up to 750 watts
      • Top rated speed up to 20 mph* with 170 lbs operator
      • Does not include mopeds

Stand-up Handle Scooters (e.g., Go-Peds)

  • Designed with no seat (cannot be a modified vehicle with the seat removed)
  • Gas motor, up to 40cc
  • Electric motor up to 800 watts
  • Top rated speed up to 25 mph*.
  • Wheels up to 10″
  • Weight up to 40 lbs

eWheel (unicycle-type) and OneWheel (skateboard-type)

  • Electric motor up to 800 watts
  • Top rated speed up to 20 mph*.
  • Wheels up to 14″
  • Weight up to 40 lbs

Self-Balancing Bi-Wheel (Segway-type)

  • Must conform to the definition of “electric personal assistive mobility device” under Nevada state law and meet the following criteria:

    • Electric motor up to 800 watts
    • Top rated speed up to 15 mph*
    • Wheels up to 16″
    • Weight up to 100 lbs

While the weight of these vehicles is a concern, they are currently permitted due to their relatively low top speed and low-to-the-ground profile.

Hoverboards

  • Electric motor up to 800 watts
  • Top rated speed up to 15 mph*
  • Wheels up to 10″
  • Weight up to 25 lbs

Wind-Powered Vehicles

  • Some types of wind-powered vehicles are allowed in Black Rock City. Registration and licensing of these vehicles is not required, but these vehicles are subject to all of the BRC driving rules. Drivers are encouraged to decorate their crafts.
  • Wind-powered vehicles allowed in Black Rock City must have the following characteristics:

    • An effective mechanical braking system
    • A pivoting mast
    • Weight of no more than 50 pounds; an additional 30-50 pounds should be allowed for small trailers (In general, the vehicle should be easily hoisted above the operator’s head.)
    • Operational only while operator is standing
  • The following types of wind-powered vehicles are NOT allowed:
    • Vehicles with a fixed mast
    • Vehicles in which the operator is sitting or reclining
    • Three-wheeled “land yachts”
    • Kite sailing vehicles (powered by a high-flying kite rather than attached to a mast)

Driving Rules In Black Rock City

Anyone driving at Burning Man must adhere to all BRC driving rules. These include:

  • Only drive vehicles licensed or allowed to drive in Black Rock City
  • Abide by all applicable federal and Nevada state laws, including all open container laws (no open containers within reach of the driver)
  • Drive at a speed of 5 mph or less (less in hazardous situations such as tight crowds)
  • Give the right of way to pedestrians, bicycles, and emergency services vehicles
  • Follow the reasonable and applicable vehicle laws for road safety
  • Stop immediately upon being hailed by any BRC Staff member, Black Rock Ranger, or law enforcement officer
  • No driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • No driving on pedestrian-designated streets (see your map for details)
  • No driving during whiteouts or rainy conditions
  • No driving on wet or freshly-watered roads
  • Any additional guidelines set forth by Burning Man
  • Obey sound policies

Additional Driving Guidelines for Mutant Vehicles

See the Mutant Vehicle Criteria and Licensing Page

Enforcement

Due to an increase in vehicles, population, and dust, it is imperative that all participants adhere to these rules and guidelines. If you cannot follow these rules, your vehicle may be ejected from the event, and you may be subject to a fine by law enforcement, or ejection from the event.

Policy Changes

As with any Burning Man policy, changes may occur. Any changes to BRC vehicle protocols will be communicated via appropriate methods, including the Jack Rabbit Speaks Newsletter, burningman.org, and the DMV announce list before the event, or BMIR, Playa Info, and posted notices at the DMV during the event.

Next Page: Vehicle Sound Policy