Your honor, I'd like to introduce Exhibit A

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by bamabikeguy, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    The background:

    This is an addendum to a thread about Greg, a few counties south of me.

    "How we get around bike laws? We make 'em up as we go"

    Another customer called late last year, he and 3 of his friends bought GEBE equipped bikes, ride 16 miles daily from their small town to the Hardee's in a bigger neighboring town, a berg with 3 patrol cars and 5 stoplights.

    (The pop. 5,000 town is about to have a wet/dry vote, could soon afford 6 bubble gum machines from the Natty Lite profits) .

    Eugene said that he heard a new Officer Fife had ticketed a Motorized Bike, but from the Hardee rumor system, he wasn't sure if it was one of my builds (I have I about 8-9 GEBEs over in that area), or a Chinese bike....Eugene really wasn't positive what the MBer was charged with, only that it had pedals and an engine.

    He wanted some kind of paper/documentation to carry along in his kit, to show any officer he is legit.

    Eugene and his gang are respectable retirees and/or cattle farmers, who got bored walking around in circles for exercise, so I know they will give the hard*** new cop the Briscoe Darling treatment, with my e-evidence to present any traffic court.

    I'm a strong adherent of the ThatsDax philosophy, "don't give up an inch on Fed versus State versus Local rules"

    I cut and pasted a letter to Eugene, (a lot of info is from, plus other sources), so any of my customers can simply copy and print it.

    It's really GEBE specific, but could be altered to fit other under 50cc kits, especially the EPA approved ones. I wouldn't recommend trying to bend the arguments to fit those 80cc bikes, but the "motor assist to get up a hill" applies.

    You could also chop out the Alabama parts, and put in your own area's MB.history.

    That's the intro, the moral of the story follows this e-mail to Eugene.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015

  2. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Bicycles were introduced in the 19th century and now number about one billion worldwide, twice as many as automobiles. They are the principal means of transportation in many regions. The basic shape and configuration of a typical bicycle has changed little since the first chain-driven model was developed around 1885.

    Golden Eagle are the first and only geared belt drive bicycle assist engine on the market. The design is fully protected by US Patent laws, and all components of the Golden Eagle drive - mount unit, drive ring, gears, belts, throttle - are 100% made in the USA - to US standards and provide American jobs. The mount parts are stamped US steel with a rust proof coating. The trigger throttle is spring loaded - pull on the trigger to go - release the pressure to slow down or come to a complete stop. There is no shifting of levers or any type of clutch movement necessary for stop and go riding.

    The majority of Golden Eagle customers are interested in the simultaneous exercise feature, else they would buy a motorcycle or scooter. Disabled and elderly are able to use the assist to basically climb steep hills while commuting or during recreation.

    Golden Eagle's system is specifically designed to compete world wide in the MOTOR ASSIST market, (not in the motorized cycle class), using the quietest and cleanest available engines, and to especially compete with the electric bicycle which has limited range ( 6-40 miles).

    Golden Eagle exports their kits worldwide under the same "motor assist" definitions that electric assist use, which generally are:

    1. Under 50 cc
    2. Less than 2 horsepower
    3. Average speed range of 25 mph

    Because of the Golden Eagle innovations, they have exceeded all the international definitions of "motor assisted" bicycles, in that they use primarily use engines sizes from 26 cc to 40 cc, weighing 11-13 pounds (less than a quarter of the total weight of a 50 pound bicycle).

    They pass the California emissions tests (strictest in the U.S.), and the decibel level peaks at 80 on the largest 40 cc engine.

    The most popular engine sizes (32-35 cc) have outputs in the 1.6 horsepower range. Because most humans can exert only less than one-half horsepower for a duration of a few minutes, motor assisted bicycles rarely exceed the maximum 2 horsepower limit.

    The design of the Golden Eagle kit is to fit a locally procured bicycle, of which there are many. The recommended/required bicycle safety devices are maximum 2 horsepower brakes, mirror, helmet, and if driving at night, lights and reflectors.

    Motor assisted bicycles (as opposed to scooters and mo-peds), where at least 75% of the weight is the bike itself, are designed for efficiency, not speed. Golden Eagle has reports of up to 225 mpg on their smallest units, achieved with maximum human muscle assistance.

    Different types of bicycles categorized by function (racing, recreation, etc); number of riders (one, two, or more); by construction or frame type (upright, folding, etc); by gearing (single speed, derailleur gears, etc.); by sport (mountain biking, BMX, triathlon, etc); by means of propulsion (human-powered, motor-assisted, etc); and by rider position (upright, recumbent, etc). The list also includes miscellaneous types such as pedicabs, rickshaws, and clown bikes. The categories are not mutually exclusive; as such, a bike type may appear in more than one category.

    Alabama's bicycle laws, like most states, are very general, but include motor assist, because bicycles pre-date automobiles, and tinkerers have used every type of locomotion, including steam, alcohol, diesel, electricity and petroleum products.

    Section 32-5A-281

    (1) BICYCLE. A human-powered vehicle with two wheels in tandem design to transport by the act of pedaling one or more persons seated on one or more saddle seats on its frame. "Bicycle" includes, but is not limited to, a human-powered vehicle designed to transport by the act of pedaling which has more than two wheels when the vehicle is used on a public roadway, public bicycle path, or other public road or right-of-way, but does not include a tricycle.

    The US Department of Transportation and National Highway Transportation Administration have been addressing the motor assisted bicycle technology, specific to the "under 2 horsepower" limitations, with all the potential 21st century innovations in mind.

    The measure has been a moderate 8% road grade, where a motored vehicle (personal auto, motorcycle, scooter or recreational vehicle) requires no human exertion.

    From the Nat'l Highway Transportation Safety Administration files regarding less than 2 horsepower systems with an average 200 pound rider, cannot climb the 8% grade without "muscular power".

    If the motor, once activated by muscular power, can continue to drive the vehicle in the absence of muscular power, the vehicle is considered to be a "motor vehicle" since, without the input of muscular power, the vehicle is entirely "driven by mechanical power" with the meaning of the statutory definition of a "motor vehicle" (49 U.S.C. 30102(a)(6)). Our letter of May 22, says, in effect, that a vehicle is not a "motor vehicle" if, in the absence of muscular power, mechanical power alone is insufficient to drive it.


    Golden Eagle is competing internationally with the "under 2 horsepower" motor assisted market (electric, alcohol, petroleum), NOT the over 50cc or over 2 horsepower motored cycles.

    The Nat'l Highway Transportation Safety Administration measured this by the ability of muscular power to supplement the propulsion source AND operate independent of the propulsion source (engine off). MoPeds and Motorcycles cannot do this.

    Under the laws we administer, a "motor vehicle" is one that is driven by mechanical power. Thus, an ordinary bicycle is not a "motor vehicle" because it is driven solely by muscular power. We have also concluded that a bicycle with an engine that supplements muscular power rather than superseding it to become the primary propulsion source is also not a "motor vehicle." Vehicles that are not "motor vehicles" are subject to the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. (not the DOT, but the CPSC, just like bicycles).


    Where international, national, state and local rules have kept up with the "motor assistance" bicycle technology, the above general rules have been the measure, under 50cc, under 2 hours power, speed ranges of 20-30 mph.

    In 2003, Alabama used these guidelines for the electric assist bicycle, (which discriminate against rural areas because of the 6-40 mile battery range) ...
    Section 32-19-1
    Use of electric personal assistive mobility device; operation at night; restrictions.

    (a) Nothing in this title or in Alabama law shall be construed to limit the operation of an electric personal assistive mobility device on public highways, sidewalks, and bike ways of this state except that a person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device shall obey all speed limits and shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and human powered devices at all times. An operator shall also give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.

    (b) An electric personal assistive mobility device shall not require a license plate or be registered by the Department of Revenue.

    (c) An electric personal assistive mobility device may be operated at night provided that the operator wears reflectors and a headlight.

    (d) Municipalities may prohibit the operation of an electric personal assistive mobility device on public highways where the speed limit is greater than 25 miles per hour, but shall not otherwise restrict the operation of an electric personal assistive mobility device.
    (Act 2003-342, p. 851, Sec.2.)
    Amendments to fix that omission are proposed and passed each year in the Alabama House, but die in the Senate. For instance, in Alabama, the parts from the 2001 amendment were "Under 50cc" and a "25MPH speed limit."
    (10) MOTORIZED BICYCLE. A two or three wheeled vehicle equipped with foot pedals to permit propulsion by human power, with an engine rated at less than or equal to two brake horsepower, with a cylinder capacity of less than or equal to 50 cubic centimeters, and capable of a maximum powered speed of 25 miles per hour on level ground while transporting an operator weighing 175 pounds.


    Most of the United States make no distinction on the propulsion source, electric or petroleum, as long as the general descriptions are measured.

    The real issue has ALWAYS been the primary motorized pedaled bike available in the US after WWII, known commonly as the Whizzer (now manufactured in Taiwan). It had no transmission, could be pedaled short distances, primarily had 137 cc displacement.

    The National Transportation Highway Safety Administration has tested Whizzers and other "over 2 horsepower/over 50cc" systems, and preliminarily has judged:

    With respect to bicycles with motors, we use the term "power-assist" to refer to a vehicle that cannot be driven by the motor alone but which requires muscular input at all times when in motion, assisted when needed by the engine. We do not consider this type of vehicle to be a "motor vehicle" subject to our regulations. If this correctly describes the Whizzer, then your petition is moot. However, if the Whizzer is capable of being propelled by the engine alone with no muscular power required when the engine is engaged, then the Whizzer would be a "motor vehicle", specifically a "motor driven cycle."

    It is the Whizzer's ability to climb 8% grades without assistance, approach 5 horsepower, exceed 45 mph and the engine displacement that may disqualify it from the whole intent of "motor assist" category, put it under the same rules as the Vespa mini-scooters and newer electric scooters in the 4 horsepower range.


    What is REALLY interesting is how local governments anticipation rising of energy prices, have become a major customer of Golden Eagle's, because they do not have the 40 mile limitation of electric motor assistant systems. Many police departments are using them as modifications for their bicycle patrols because of the advantages (mileage, speed and quiet).

    In the Oct. 2008 bailout bill was a ""qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement" and
    Golden Eagle systems EASILY qualified as a bicycle modification, the same as the electric version it competes with.

    Just like the majority of the design of a motor assist bicycle is "bicycle based", parts and accessories purchased at bicycle shops, and riding styles identical to non-assisted bicycle styles, the Made in USA Golden Eagle system has set the 21st century standard which the old technology Whizzers and Chinese systems are unable to match. The US Patent Laws have made Golden Eagle unique, allow the US to compete against all foreign manufacturers in this bicycle niche.

    However, Whizzer has a lobbying arm as strong as the antique motor owners, most of the confusion about "motor assist" systems can be attributed to 1970's rules still on the books.

    Golden Eagle can't be responsible for the behavior of bicycle riders no more than Schwinn can, but recommend following all bicycle rules, (mirrors, helmets, etc.) pending the final Department of Transportation ruling, which should mirror the 2008 "qualified bicycle commuting reimbursement".
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2015
  3. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Follow up advise:

    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  4. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Moral of the story:

    The guilty MBer ended up being this young Do-It-Yourselfer. Last summer he called me, said he already had an engine, and he bought a rear wheel and GEBE mount from me (and 4 belts so far, I warned him).

    I sent him to my friend Jack to help him on the install, thus, I've never even seen the bike in question.

    The first engine was a souped up screamer, Jack then made some kind of swap, and now he's running a 49 cc Pocket Rocket.

    I mentioned Jack and his California Stretch Cruiser in the Over 40 mph club thread:

    When Jack attempted the land speed record, he was way out in the country, and the Trooper merely stopped him out of curiousity !

    I heard via Jack that the young guy had got a speeding ticket, 40+ mph, and for not wearing a helmet, in the 30,000 population county seat.

    Later I found out it was him that got a second ticket in that Hardee's town, it was him that got Officer Fife interested in the two wheeled phenoms.

    The great news is my legit GEBE'rs have not had any problems, riding like they always have, in the months since Speedy Gonzalez started this whole fracas.
  5. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Good to keep as a reference link for those interested, thanks for taking the time to post it.

    For me to stay out there on a bike these days I need assist.....without it I'm going to ride much less and exercise little. It's that important to me to be able to keep doing it thus: under 2 HP/50cc, 25MPH, quiet and responsible riding with a modicum of seemingly commonsense choices in headgear, mirrors,
    lighting, etc. seem like a no-brainer.

    I's just like to keep riding as long as I'd like and am able to so, hence the above concessions seem trivial but I'm afraid without some semblance to them this whole MB thing is going to be in jeopardy sooner than later.
  6. buck

    buck Member

    Great job bamabike guy. The links to the nhtsa are some of the most usefull information on the assisted bicycles that i have seen, and your explaination of the rulings are right on target. I am from the confused state of Pennsylvania, where the laws are almost impossible to decipher. One section seems to contradict the next. There is a grey area on everything.

    Last year i logged over 2700 miles, and never pulled over. Always pedaled when i see a car, even if i am going down hill. I have had police look over the bike when parked. Most say that they would like to have one of their own, after i explain how they work. But none of them knew anything about the legality.

    Any information that the people can share about the states that have confusing laws will help those that feel like they are on a "moonshine run" everytime they go for a ride.

    Thanks again for a great job!!!
  7. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    Does Alabama not even know what a Bicycle is? And what do they have against adult tricycles, esp recumbent trikes?

    Quoting from earlier post:
    (1) BICYCLE. A human-powered vehicle with two wheels in tandem design to transport by the act of pedaling one or more persons seated on one or more saddle seats on its frame. "Bicycle" includes, but is not limited to, a human-powered vehicle designed to transport by the act of pedaling which has more than two wheels when the vehicle is used on a public roadway, public bicycle path, or other public road or right-of-way, but does not include a tricycle.
  8. KCvale

    KCvale Motorized Bicycle Vendor

    Me too ;-}
    And not just an assit, I want to be cofortable.

    Nice example of the laws.
    Just print out the parts of the laws with their statute numbers that favor you and tuck it under your seat.

    I have one. Not had to ever use it, but I have it.
    If a cop wants to stop you he will, but if it's about the legality of you riding showing him the statutes will set him straight.
  9. You know what is funny is that its only legal in less than 25 states to put a engine on a bicycle and most websites say in large letters its legal in everystate or almost everywhere, then they put check with local laws in small print at the bottom.
  10. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    Use the ADA as a defense. Without motor assist you cant ride your bike. People in wheel chairs do it. If you have a legit medical condition why not. Disabled folks sue every one using ADA as a club why not us? Every curb in america on every corner was rebuilt to give the disabled access to side walks. Tell the cop your bike is a personal mobility device. These are BICYCLES WITH MOTOR ASSIST, theyre not scooters, mopeds, motor cycles if under 50cc and no DMV recognizes them as vehicles.
    Last edited: May 29, 2010
  11. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    I agree with Darwin. Whatever works! I think these should be freely operated by Americans in every US state, without legislators or police politically attacking them or banning them.

    Mine has helped me use my car so much less, and get some fresh air. I feel like I perform better at work, and the excercise (yes I still pedal some, and I have to move and maneuver the bike) has been good for me.