Mutant vehicle criteria

These criteria stem from the two basic requirements of a mutant vehicle, that it has a positive impact the event, and that it is safe to be at the event. These criteria are not immutable, and special cases are considered.

Must have a positive impact: Level of mutation Not resemble or represent a car, truck, golf cart or any other readily identifiable vehicle
Must be interactive Interactivity is defined as an opportunity for any village citizen to participate in some activity offered by your vehicle. The theme and/or size of the vehicle is what’s considered here. What service to the community does your vehicle provide
Lack of interactivity can be compensated for by visually adding to the event (e.g flame effects or art on wheels)
Sound Engine noise must not draw attention or take away from the experience of others
Once in event see vehicle sound policy section below
Must be safe: Must pass basic safety checks Maintain 4km/h around corners and up hills
Brakes must be effective
Sturdy hand railings and stair railings
No sharp protruding objects
Safe access area and procedure for (un)loading passengers
Fire extinguisher and first aid highly recommended
Good field of view, hazardous blind spots will require walkers while driving
Lighting (24 hour licences only) People need to be able to see you and you need to be able to see them. The vehicle must include front head lights and the front, rear, AND sides must be lit. All vehicle extremities must be lit. Any dangerous area of the vehicle must be lit. Anywhere someone would walk, step, or climb on your vehicle should be lit, especially stairs and ladders.
The visual presentation of your vehicle should be at least as stimulating at night as it is during the day, if not even more so.
Fire/flame effects Any flame effects need a permit from the Fire Arts Safety Team


Day and 24 hour licences

Vehicles given a day licence can only operate between sunrise and sunset. Vehicles with a 24 hour licence can operate through the night so must be FULLY and RADICALLY illuminated.


Trailers are strongly discouraged at Jilakin Rock City. This is because of a number of injuries and deaths at Burning Man and other regionals involving trailers. If the trailer is not a necessary part of the design it will likely not be licenced. For a mutant vehicle trailer to be licenced it must not be possible for a person to come between the vehicle and trailer, from the side or from above.

Quads and motorbikes

Quads and motorbikes are discouraged because they are often only for personal transport, and the drivers tend to exceed the speed limit. If a quad or motorbike is heavily mutated and meets the criteria above it can be licensed.

Flame Effects

If your vehicle incorporates flame effects or fire in any way then it will require an additional permit from the Fire Arts Safety Team (FAST).

Human and Low powered vehicles 

These vehicles do not require licencing from DMT, and do not require a licenced operator to use. Decorating these or mutating these vehicles is strongly encouraged. They are still required to be used in a safe manner. Pedestrians always have right of way.

Vehicle Description Requirements
Bicycles and other human powered vehicles Any vehicle solely human powered Lights required for night use
Electrically assisted bicycles Motor output must be under 750 watts (1 HP) Lights required for night use
Motorised skateboards Small, stand-up (no seat), one-person style “skateboards on wheels”. We encourage you to use an electric model, or one that does not create that loud “buzzz”, which many feel detracts from the event

These are motor vehicles, so riders must obey the same driving rules as other vehicle drivers.

 Stand-up wind powered vehicles  Only the stand up, pivoting mast type are considered low powered  Do not use in crowded areas or at night.
 Electric wheelchairs or mobility scooters Small vehicle to aid a disability  Lights required for night use

See our design and safety guide for more details and advise on building an art car.

See the ePlaya mutant vehicle forums for build advice, but be aware their rules are different from ours.

Back to Mutant Vehicle overview

Mutant Vehicles