Do Motorized Bikes Fall Under Being A Pocket Bike? (California)

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by CarterTheEpic, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. CarterTheEpic

    CarterTheEpic New Member

    I recently got pulled over and fined under VC21720, since apparently motorized bikes fall under this category. Is this right? Everything I've seen as far as laws regarding motorized bikes go in California have been related to VC Section 406.
    Could someone clarify this for me?
     

  2. butre

    butre Well-Known Member

  3. CarterTheEpic

    CarterTheEpic New Member

    Under 406(a) though, it only seems to talk about electric bikes, not gas powered bikes. It seem that in California, motorized bikes don't fall under the requirements for 406(a) or 406(b), but they also don't fall under the requirements for being registered as a motorcycle.
     
  4. butre

    butre Well-Known Member

    1000 watts is 1.3 horsepower, it's just a different unit of measurement for the same thing. like centimeters and inches or gallons and liters.
     
  5. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    I would bring a picture of a pocket bike and a picture of your bike in front of a judge and ask "do you think these two are the same?" :mad: if the judge says yes then its time to move out of the state... all jokes aside I think it is contestable because cops and even some dmv folks often don't know the law though don't say that in front of a cop directly...
     
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  6. CarterTheEpic

    CarterTheEpic New Member

    Yea, that's what I'm inclined to think as well, but what would be contestable and why?
     
  7. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    The problem is that while the bike is not a pocket bike I think most motorized bicycles in California do need to be registered and you need at least a M2. If you don't have that I am not sure which penalty is more costly the pocket bike violation or not having the proper documents and licenses for an actual motorized bike. But, the other interesting thing is that if you provide documentation and cite correct CA ordinances defining a motorized bicycle can the judge fine you for not having the proper licences and registration in court OR retrospectively cite you? I think not but I am no law expert. What exactly is your bike also?
     
  8. CarterTheEpic

    CarterTheEpic New Member

    How would I have to register it? I'm wondering the same thing about the fines though, I wouldn't want to be hopping out of the frying pan into the fire. Could you tell me what CA ordinances I would need to cite and what documentation I would need to have?
    The bike has the frame of an ocean cruiser, but with a new fork and new handlebars. The engine is 49cc and it's a single gear. I have the bike currently set to go around 20mph. I'll be able to upload a pic later today.
     
  9. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    I don't live in California but I would cite the CVC 406(a) which defines a motorized bicycle. The interesting thing is that the CA DMV is distorting the interpretation of this code. First off they say it has to be no more than 2 HP but the code saids 4 HP. Secondly, they list the criteria for a motorized bicycle to make it seem inclusive of an electric motor, which if you read the code below it is not saying that at all.

    Seriously, when I went to ask questions at my local DMV about my electric bike in Wisconsin the idiot said if it has a motor it needs to be registered and insured. I wish I could have called the manager on him for incompetence but I left. Do not rely on the DMV for information; look it up yourself and know your rights.

    That being said. I think you need to have it registered and whatnot and have at least an M2.
    ==========

    406(a) A “motorized bicycle” or “moped” is a two-wheeled or three-wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy, and an automatic transmission and a motor that produces less than 4 gross brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on level ground.

    http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/f...EH&division=1.&title=&part=&chapter=&article=
     
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  10. CarterTheEpic

    CarterTheEpic New Member

  11. bakaneko

    bakaneko Active Member

    That says only on the highway. And, there is no way a motorized bicycle would be allowed on the highway. Also, as I recall from other CA folks, they all have registered, licensed, and gotten the proper safety gear for themselves and bike. Err, the other requirement is CARB and EPA approved road used engines. I am not sure how that works either. I wish a CA motorized bike guy who has all his or her stuff together will post and help clarify everything for folks that want to get into motorized biking in CA.
     
  12. CarterTheEpic

    CarterTheEpic New Member

    Yes, but keep in mind that a highway is the same as a public road; I think you might be confusing it with freeway.
    I know that registration is something that the other folks in California have done, but according to that code, registration isn't required. Maybe it's an optional thing?
    I definitely agree with you on that last bit though, oftentimes it seems like people here just post some relevant laws but they don't explain them...
     
  13. Barnfresh

    Barnfresh Member

    Here's a great color brochure straight from the California Highway Patrol that you can print out and take along with a photo of your Motorized Bicycle/Moped (one and the same in California) to show the judge. It clearly shows the difference between a (legal) Motorized Bicycle and an (illegal) Pocket Bike, which should prove that you were improperly cited. Best case senerio the charge is dropped and the judge orders you to get your MB properly registered and get yourself a licence or permit. Good luck and hope this helps. ~BF
    https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-ser...clist-safety/motorcycles-and-similar-vehicles
     
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  14. CVC 406 in reference to what defines a motorized bicycle includes the words "automatic transmission". Does anyone know the legal definition of "automatic transmission". I have searched for hours and have been unable to find a definition. My bike has a small 2 stroke motor that directly turns the rear wheel via a chain. It does not have any type of "transmission" as such and therefore would not fall under the legal description of a motorized bicycle. Any thoughts on this?
     
  15. CarterTheEpic

    CarterTheEpic New Member

    According to what I know about the definition, it would be an automatic transmission if there is only one gear. That would be why a regular moped would be legally considered a motorized bike.

    I completely forgot about doing a follow-up here about what happened, so I'll do that now. For the ticket, I showed up to court and both the bailiff and the judge seemed to think there wasn't a problem, but it was just dropped since the officer didn't show. As far as whether it's actually legal or not, I talked to several different sources; all with varying answers. California Highway Patrol said it was fine, the DMV didn't have a clue (go figure), but the Morgan Hill police had some answers. According to a traffic officer I talked to, who the first officer there I talked to referred to as the "traffic guru" of the station, the material they train the officers with explicitly mentions a motorized bike and the officer said that they really just want them off the streets. I'm not sure whether this was just the one officer who would do this or whether it would be expected from others as well, but he told me that if it wasn't for the legal definition, he could get me for smog and if not for that, he mentioned noise. I've seen some people in San Jose motoring around, so your best bet is probably just to check in with your local police station.
    Then again, it's also worth mentioning that I was trying to use a motorized bike as a form of transportation without needing a license. You can get a moped/motorcycle registration form if you have a license and I've heard of people just registering the bike and being fine. You might want to look into the required equipment for a motorized bike like lights, mirrors, and whatever else would be required since I know there's a code for that, but I don't remember which one though it might not even matter.
     
  16. Barnfresh

    Barnfresh Member

    Glad to hear your case was dropped CTE, that's great news. As far as the auto trans goes MBs/Mopeds can have more than 1 gear it just has to change automatically without manual input from the operator. A continous variable transmission (CVT) would be one example, where the ratio is constantly changing with the engine and wheel speed. Another would be the auto 2 speed Puch Moped where it shifts from lo/hi and back based on engine load and speed. As far as the clutch goes i would argue the law does not specify it be automatic so having a manually operated clutch to get going or stopping without the engine dying, like a china girl, should be fine.
     
  17. Barnfresh

    Barnfresh Member

    From the description of your setup it doesn't sound like you are doing any manual shifting so your bike is a motorized bicycle / moped. Send in to the DMV for an ID card and plate and you'll be good to go!
     
  18. Isaac Rosenzweig

    Isaac Rosenzweig New Member

    Does anyone know officially what is needed on a MB after registration in terms of mirrors, signals, lights, etc. THANKS!
     
  19. Barnfresh

    Barnfresh Member

  20. Isaac Rosenzweig

    Isaac Rosenzweig New Member

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