Newbie Here, Confused about CA Law!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by cowboyish1, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. cowboyish1

    cowboyish1 New Member

    I'm still confused as California requirements for licensing and registration for bicycles with a motor attached. Do they or do they not fall under the regulations for motorized bicycles?

    The 2009 California Motorcycle Handbook states:

    "There are two definitions of motorized
    bicycle (moped). A motorized bicycle is:

    -A two- or three-wheeled device, capable of no more than 30 mph on level ground, and equipped with:
    -fully operative pedals for human propulsion.
    -a motor producing less than two gross brake horsepower and an automatic transmission.
    -an electric motor, with or without pedals for human propulsion.
    (VC Sec.406[a])

    -A vehicle with pedals and an electric
    motor (not more than 1,000 watts) which cannot be driven at speeds of more than 20 mph on level ground even if assisted by human power.
    (VC Sec.406)"

    I interpret this to mean that if the bicycle has a gas-powered motor, then it must also have an automatic transmission to fall under the licensing and registration regulations for motorized bicycles.

    Do the 2-stroke and 4-stroke motors typically attached to bicycles actually have a transmission? I didn't think they did, but I could be very wrong. Can anyone clarify?

    Thanks much! :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2015

  2. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

  3. cowboyish1

    cowboyish1 New Member

    Thanks for the quick response. Based on that, I'm thinking that a bicycle with a small motor attached is not subject to the same California rules and regulations as a "motorized bike" least, not yet. :)
  4. ocscully

    ocscully Member

    Gasoline powered motorized bicycles fall under 406a. Most of the kits currently being sold for mounting on bicycles do not have transmissions that allow you to change gears while riding, one exception that I know of to this is the Sick Bike Parts Shifter Kit. This kit I believe mounted on a bicycle here in CA. would put you outside the law but it is questionable weather or not you would ever get cited for it if you ride your bike responsibly? Since gas powered bikes fall into the 406a classification we are required to get the onetime registration/plate current cost $19.00 and are required to have an M-2 endorsement on your drivers license, and also wear a DOT/motorcycle helmet. Depending upon where you live and how you ride your bike seems to have alot to do with how these requirements are applied/enforced?

    When filling out the form for the onetime registration, use the bicycle serial # for the VIN # and the motor serial # for the motor. If the motor you end up using does not have a serial # make one up. Mail the form and a check for the $19.00 to the DMV in Sacramento and several weeks later your Registration card and plate will arrive in the mail. Do not attempt to do this registration at your local DMV as it will cause you nothing but trouble.

    Last edited: Jul 8, 2009
  5. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    oh no here we go

    oh no here we go
    not those Ca laws again
    much has been posted
    if you get the chance -- search Calif laws -- plenty said

    basic rules in Ca
    under 2 hp
    auto trans

    we are wrong with this statment above CowBoy
    any small motor on a bicycle makes it a motorized bicycle in Ca
    that is very small and up to 2 hp = motorized bicycle

    small rat running on wheel -- may require M-2 license ?????

    as we ride those things
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2009
  6. cowboyish1

    cowboyish1 New Member

    I realize that much has been posted on CA law. I've read A LOT of the postings, but I saw nothing that discussed the transmission requirement of a gas powered motorized bicycle. Since 406a does specifically state that the motor includes an automatic transmission (directly out of the 2009 Motorcycle Handbook), I don't understand how a bicycle with a "transmissionless" motor falls under 406a. This is where my confusion comes in.

    California is great for causing confusion and then profiting from it. I'm still not convinced.
  7. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    if we have to pull the clutch -- is it a true auto ??

    truly though -- who's looking ??

  8. OCLandspeeder

    OCLandspeeder Member

    I think a lot of people are confusing the "spirit of the law" versus the letter of the law.

    From what I have read from other people's experiences in court whenever they get citations, most courts will follow the spirit of the law. Unfortunately, cops will sometimes get bored and issue citations because motorized cycles are easy targets to fill their citation books. In any case, from what I have read here and on other boards, the courts will often side with classifying our motorized bicycles as bicycles.

    What else can they really be?

    Except maybe for the Whizzers, all of these bikes began lives as bicycles. Then someone put a motor in them. So they can't possibly become something they are not!
  9. rockvoice

    rockvoice Member

    forget all that transmission nonsense, as ocscully stated you just need an M2 endoresment and send in form 230 and 19 bucks and ride!
    also just take the written test for a m2 permit and use that (just cant ride a night with the permit)
    and anyone doubting the m2 iv'e gotten pulled over twice and ask to present m2. actually one time asked to present the m2 and the other time he just asked me if i had it and i said yes he ok and off he went.