How Many States Allow Motorized Bicycles?

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by Mike S, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Mike S

    Mike S Member

    After solving the lighting issue I learned through legal/police sources that motorized bicycles can not be driven legally on the public roads in Illinois. I'm wondering how many states allow legal use of MB on the streets. Is it 10, 20,
    40, or is every state like Illinois. Please respond if you know for sure about your state. Mike S

  2. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    AZ: 48cc or smaller, 20 MPH maximum speed. No license or insurance or registration required. Per A.R.S. 28-2516.
  3. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Alabama - any motorized vehicle regardless of motor size/power is treated legally as a motor vehicle - period.

    Louisiana - under 50 cc is a motorized bicycle, but trikes are NOT included in the definition of a bicycle.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2008
  4. JinbaIttai

    JinbaIttai Member

    In Hawaii, it was legal, from about 1978 to 2003 (under 50cc and under 25mph IIRC).

    The definition of a motorized bike was conveniently deleted from the books just as Segway operating laws were added.

    Not illegal, but also not legal. The law might un-change next year, but only to include eBikes.
  5. Legal in Washington State. See Chapter 46 RCW. Electric bikes don't need license if they go (or you ride them) under 20 mph. Gas powered bikes that can go under only pedal power under 50 cc and ridden under 30 mph are 'mopeds' and need license but the rider doesn't need motorcycle endorsement. Mopeds also need a vehicle license. See my recent experience in threads "Getting (rather, not getting) a license in WA" (started by me) and "E-mail from Washington State DOT" (not started by me.)
  6. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    Ca - under 2 hp = motorized bicycle - small one time plate. Mountainman
  7. s_beaudry

    s_beaudry Member

    South Carolina - Legal with NO DMV requirements.

    I spoke with a state trooper this morning for awhile at a Taco Bell and questioned him about MB's as there is no info available on the DMV site. He told me himself, and also called his captain to confirm it, that there is NO registration or insurance needed, that in thier eyes it is viewed as a bicycle that just so happens to have a small engine on it. He did warn me though that any bicycle that is clocked at being riden over 25mph (with or without engine) would be pulled over to be given a safety warning only.

    We spoke about 15 minutes or so, he was very easy to talk to, and took the time to call his captain (police boss) to confirm the correct information.
  8. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    Indiana: 2hp or under, under 50ccs, designed for 25 mph or under, auto trans.- no registration, licensing or insurance requirement- whether there are pedals or not.
  9. Chuck

    Chuck New Member


    Legal in PA as long as under 50cc, can be powered buy pedals, under 23? mph.
    no reg,lic,insur.It is referred to as a motor assisted bicycle.
  10. buck

    buck Member

    Thanks for the info Chuck. Can you give tell us where you found the Pa. laws. I have been following a couple of other threads on the Pennsylvania laws, and some sections of the law seem to contradict other sections. Thanks
  11. sparky

    sparky Active Member


    Mississippi treats a MB as a motorcycle... and everybody working for the state gov't will tell you that you cannot register a motorized bicycle as a motorcycle, even a custom-built one. They just don't know, and it's prolly not worth the trouble trying to register it with people who don't know anything about their job.

    I don't think any cop around here would actually enforce any motorcycle laws (reg, ins, etc.), tho, other than the safety ones like helmet and headlight. Even a regular bicycle is mandated to have a headlight visible from 500 feet away, but I'm the only bicyclist around here who actually has one.

    And just so everybody knows... riding a MB at night without a decent headlight is friggin' st00pit. If you don't learn from others' mistakes, you will learn after you're picking dirt outta your skin, break some bones, bust your lip... somethin'. See and be seen!! ... or stay inside.
  12. Colorado: Legal with no DMV requirements but not on the trails according to the book lol.
  13. kengorman

    kengorman New Member

    Chuck - I wish you were correct. According to Pennsylvania's DMV, motorized pedalcycles require registration, titling, insurance, and a valid driver's license. The regulations are listed here.

    I've copied the relevant portions below:

    DEFINITION: A motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals, a motor rated no more than 1.5 brake horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and a maximum design speed of no more than 25 miles per hour, or an electric motor-driven
    cycle equipped with operable pedals and powered by an electric battery.

    1. Engine may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.
    2. Engine may not exceed 1.5 brake horsepower rating.
    3. Operable pedals required.
    4. Automatic transmission required.
    5. Design speed may not be more than 25 miles per hour.
    6. Does not require inspection.
    7. Moped plate issued.
    8. Annual registration fee is $9.00.
    9. No helmet or eye protection required for driver.
    10. Class C required on Driver’s License.

    Even with that being said, I don't know of anyone who has actually been able to successfully register a motorized pedalcycle in Pennsylvania.


  14. wrngway

    wrngway New Member

    VA: Refered to as Mopeds; Legal under 50cc, not able to accelerate above 30mph, above 35mph treated as a motorcycle. No riding on the highway.
  15. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    I wish we could have gotten that spreadsheet thing to work for vBulletin. Oh well, let's keep this thread going anyway. We still need quite a few more responses to complete a list of what we think we know about MB laws in the U.S. Please add or correct the list where possible!


    AL - no, but cops shouldn't mess with you so long as you can pedal & have a light at night.
    AK -
    AZ - yes, if under 48cc & 20mph.
    AR -
    CA - yes, if under 2hp. must also pay for one-time registration.
    CO - yes, but kill engine on trails or at least be extra respectful of other pedestrians.
    CT -
    DE -
    FL - yes, if
    GA -
    HI - unsure
    ID -
    IL - no
    IN - yes, if under 50cc, 2hp, & 25mph.
    IA -
    KS -
    KY -
    LA - yes, if under 50cc (tho trikes are NOT included in definition of a bicycle).
    ME -
    MD -
    MA -
    MI -
    MN -
    MS - no, but cops shouldn't mess with you so long as you can pedal & have a light at night.
    MO -
    MT -
    NE -
    NV -
    NH - yes, if
    NJ -
    NM -
    NY -
    NC -
    ND -
    OH -
    OK -
    OR - yes, if
    PA - yes, if under 50cc, 25mph, & 1.5 bhp. must also have DL & pay $9 annual registration.
    RI -
    SC - yes, if under 25mph.
    SD -
    TN -
    TX -
    UT -
    VT -
    VA - yes, if under 50cc & 30mph.
    WA - yes, if under 50cc & 30mph. must also have DL & tag.
    WV -
    WI -
    WY -
  16. cruiser66

    cruiser66 Guest

  17. bikejunkie

    bikejunkie New Member

    Does anybody know the laws in Colorado? I have been riding since May and have not had any problems but still would be nice to know the actual law
  18. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    I want to believe but there's some gray around stipulation #4.

    Then the actual Mass general law is even more obtuse:

    I know some here have registered MBs in Mass.....I think it's the 'don't ask-don't tell' school of thought that gets it done. The dreaded abbreviation for MBs is D.O.T.
  19. RMV in Mass

    I'm working on a list of Mass RMV locations that WILL accept a motorized bike registration without questions or making you get a VIN.

    When I went to the Beverly RMV they wanted me to pay $50 to get a VIN for which my bike would NEVER pass the inspection. I heard that the Lowell RMV will pass without question or VIN.

    I was in framingham for work and went to the RMV there and they took my $40 and gave me a sticker. No questions asked and I didn't even fill out the year or VIN on the form. I had planned on saying "unknown" for the year, i THINK it's a 2004 but I don't know for sure :D But the guy just too my $40 and went on his way. Fast and efficent.

    I have a schwinn occ stingray I'm working on and I'm going to stop at the Melrose RMV to see if they will register it.
  20. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    If your state goes out of their way to recognize a motorized bicycle in any way, that means it's legal. It's only the states that don't recognize MBs where there's a problem, because their outdated definition of a motorcycle would include a MB. I've yet to hear of any state that has specifically outlawed MBs, but hopefully we'll know for sure when this list is complete.

    Actually, the D.O.T. has a good opinion of MBs. So long as it doesn't go more than ~20mph, it's considered a bike to them. I'd rather a national acceptance of MBs to travel at 20mph or less than let states pick and choose whether to regulate them and at what speed. Sometimes I don't understand this government one bit.