An Arizona letter-writing campaign


Active Member
Jan 11, 2008
I've written this letter to the mayor and all council members in the cities of Mesa and Gilbert, AZ. Scottsdale and Tempe are next.

If you are an Arizona member here, I would urge you to take the time to look up the city government officials of the towns where you might find yourself riding, and request (in a persuasive manner :eek:...) that they pass fair city ordinances to enhance Arizona revised statute 28-2516.

I'm HOPING to get the towns to pass ordinances which define a motorized bicycle speeding fines. Believe me, this is MUCH better than the alternative. (Just ask Torques!)

Here's what I sent to Gilbert. If you like, use it as a model for your own email.

(I'll also follow up with the EMail addresses for other east valley cities & towns)

EMail said:
Subject: Sensible legislation for motorized bicycles

The State of Arizona has passed legislation which define and regulate the use of motorized bicycles (AZ 28-2516.) Motorized bicycles have a different classification than does the moped. Motorized bicycles are of a standard bicycle design, are usually "off the shelf" two or three wheeled bicycles, which have a small electric or gasoline helper motor attached. This small motor is intended to assist the bicycle rider in maintaining speed, and it helps those of us who may be physically unable to pedal for long distances to still enjoy the benefits of bicycling.

One of those benefits is cost: Motorized bicycles offer outstanding fuel efficiency; the one that I ride easily achieves 120 miles per gallon of gasoline; other, more efficient drive mechanisms routinely achieve 200 miles per gallon, or more. This means that I can commute to and from work (11 miles each way) for a week, using less than a single gallon of gasoline. The recent surge in gasoline prices to record levels has led me to begin using my motorized bicycle to commute to and from work, weather permitting. In addition to saving substantial amounts of money, some of the other benefits of the use of motorized bicycles include reducing our country's dependence on foreign oil, reducing the Valley's dependence on gasoline piped in from out of state, and reducing pollution, including reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition, when I ride my motorized bike to work, it takes one more automobile off our streets, helping to ease traffic congestion.

However, I DO feel that some additional regulation, beyond that defined in AZ 28-2516, should be enacted by the town of ______. The city of Tucson, in my opinion, has enacted a generally sensible set of regulations to enhance the safety and use of motorized bicycles.

Tucson's motorized bicycle regulations are:
• No vehicle title, registration, insurance, emissions or driver license required as long as the motorized bicycle operates in compliance with the above definition [AZ 28-2516] (operated at less than 20 mph).
• An operator must be at least 16 years old to drive a motorized bicycle in the city limits. Operators and passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear a certified helmet.
• Motorized bicycles may be ridden in rights-of-way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles (bike paths) as long as the motorized bicycle operates in compliance with the speed restrictions. They cannot be operated on any public sidewalk, multi-use path, and shared-use path or on any designated pedestrian path in any public park. In addition, they may not be ridden through any underpass or at any other location where signs are posted prohibiting bicycling.
• A motorized bicycle may not carry more persons at a time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
• If used at nighttime, you must have a lamp on the front that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet and a red reflector in the rear visible 50 feet in all directions and 300 feet to the rear. A motorized bicycle may have a lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear in addition to the red reflector.
Violations of this Tucson City Code are a civil traffic violation punishable by a mandatory minimum fine of one hundred dollars ($100) in addition to any other fines and penalties.
[end of regulation]

I do like the legislation that Tucson has passed, and feel that it could be a good model for _______ to emulate, and with a few modifications, to improve upon.

First, having ridden motorized bicycles for several years, I have found, that since they use such small motors, and are so light, they are easily affected by winds and slight slopes, to such a degree that a motorized bicycle which could not otherwise exceed 20 miles per hour, could do so if the wind is at the riders back, or they are going down a gentle incline, or if the rider is also peddling. Because of this, I would recommend that any motorized bicycle speed recorded by police in excess of 20 miles per hour, be treated as a simple speeding violation, with a motorized bicycle speeding fine schedule established, rather than being treated as evidence that the motorized bicycle in question has somehow 'transformed' into a moped or motorcycle. After all, if the driver of an automobile or motorcycle exceeds the speed limit, they are fined for driving too fast, and not because their vehicle has somehow [legally] transformed into something it is not. Also, consider the fact that bicycles without helper motors are routinely ridden in bicycle lanes at speeds greater than THIRTY (30) miles per hour. It would be most unfair if a motorized bicycle rider were fined for riding an 'unregistered moped' because of traveling at a speed over 20 miles per hour, when he could turn off and disengage the motor and then legally ride that same vehicle at speeds greater than 30 miles per hour...

Secondly, motorized bicycles do travel at speeds, which, while are less than the speed limits imposed on bicycles as a class, should require the use of a well functioning brake system. Particularly since the motor, drive mechanism and fuel or batteries will add 15 to 20 pounds of weight to the bicycle, I would recommend that functional front AND rear brakes be required for motorized bicycles.

The use of motorized bicycles offer many advantages for the individual rider, for the town of ________, and the state of Arizona. I would like to see a set of sensible regulations passed by ________ which are fair to the rider, and which lead to considerate and safe operation for all involved.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Name and Address here...
(Be sure to include name & contact info, otherwise, the letter won't get much credit. Anonymous letters never do)
The point about dual brakes is a 'bone' to toss the officials, emphasizing concern for safe operation. Most of us should already have front and rear brakes, anyway.

Just replace town of _____ with your town/city target.
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Active Member
Dec 15, 2006
me n azvinnie already went thru court here
we got charged under a city code dealing with 'motorized play vehicles'
(it bans gopeds, pocketbikes, go-carts)
we represented ourselves and prevailed
we have a written decision by the local judge saying we are cool as long as we stay under 20
dealing with it took 2 months and i am not sure i want to stir THAT pot again


Active Member
Jan 11, 2008
The reason I'm trying to get cities & towns which already haven't got motorized bike regulations on the books, is to be proactive. I woulld like to get them to to add reasonable regulations, but with wording to fine someone who exceeds 20 with a speeding ticket, rather than an unregistered/uninsured moped ticket. You could easily COAST down a hill faster than 20 mph...

Unfortunately, Torques' case set a precedent here... and, NOT a good one for us.
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