Brake Light and Horn in Minnesota


New Member
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1:09 AM
Jun 10, 2008
I am building a motorized bicycle as defined under MN law (less than 50cc, <2HP, <30mph). The language of the law about lighting equipment is a little unclear to me.

I want to know if I need a working brake light or lights AT ALL if I'm driving during the day.

(Excerpt from

(2) a motorized bicycle equipped with a headlight and taillight meeting the requirements of
lighting for motorcycles may be operated during nighttime hours;
After June 1, 1987, a
new motorized bicycle sold or offered for sale in Minnesota must be equipped with a headlight.​

(Excerpt from:
7410.5200 MOTORCYCLE AND MOTORIZED BICYCLE EQUIPMENT SAFETY STANDARDS. (Note, this is a "rule" not a statute??)
Subp. 2.
Motorized bicycle.
A.Motorized bicycles and three-wheeled motorcycles are tested on the street and must meet the equipment requirements of Minnesota Statutes, section 169.223.
B.Equipment necessary for the motorized bicycle to legally operate on the street includes a headlight, taillight, brake light, horn, mirror, and muffler.

How does the day/night rule match up with "B." directly above?

I'm thankful for this great community!
You're probably safer complying withe the more strict of the two rules. My state has similar laws so I decided to follow them so I don't have to worry about the piggles. It's not very hard to buy all the 12v components usually made for cars/motorcycles/scooters and wire them up on your bike for a completely legal rig. It will definitely give your bike more value for resale as well.
Check out my thread
I explain quite a bit there but did not really delve into how exactly I wired the electrical system. It's as easy as cutting wires to length, stripping, adding connectors and connecting positive (+) and negative(-) to the proper terminals. I did it with only the little knowledge about electrical systems I learned by playing with batteries, wires and parts pulled from old electronic garbage when i was a kid.
feel free to ask me any questions in my thread.
Thanks SirJakesus for the fast reply. I just bought a bunch of supplies from as you've mentioned in your other posts. I'll go strict on the equipment and have nothing to worry about.

Can you provide some details about your wiring schemes for your 12V system? I just bought a battery and components, but have no idea how I'll actually hook them up!
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You need a "headlight, taillight, brake light, horn, mirror, and muffler."

169.223(2) just confirms that if the proper lights are there, it can be operated at night. You may think it implies you don't need a light in the daytime, but it does not say that. Stick to what is specifically stated. There is a principle in interpreting statutes that the more specific statute governs- the second "rule" specifically states the equipment needed, the first law only implies an exception- the more specific rules.
Thanks for the input guys. I've been looking at SirJakesus' youtube video for a rough idea of my electrical safety equipment. I appreciate the help!
Well, wiring up the taillight to act as both a brake and taillight was probably the hardest part. I had to wire in a resistor to bring the light to about half its normal brightness. I bought an assortment of resistors from Then I had to wire in my brake levers with switches built into them to act as a bypass so when I apply the brake the electricity bypasses the resistor and lets the full 12v current flow through the light. The way to get around this trouble is instead of getting one taillight or red trailer marker light get two, one that stays on all the time and another that only has its circuit completed with the lever switches. The horn is easily wired in a series loop +battery>pushbutton>horn>battery- same with the headlight only with a rocker or toggle switch. Make sure you install a fuse as the first thing on the positive battery terminal to avoid a meltdown. I used mostly all insulated tab terminal connectors so I didn't have to do any soldering. To make as many connections as I needed without making a mess I just took a length of 18ga auto wire and stripped it every 2 inches or so and pulled the casing off of it, pinched the bare wire over on itself and crimped it down in the connectors and ran everything off of those two main leads so its basically wired like this in my battery pack:

And I attached everything onto those two main leads like my charging port, taillight, headlight etc. It's all pretty easy just time consuming to think through without creating a big ball of electrical tape. Get a multimeter to get your polarities correct and remember to always cut the wire in lengths longer than you think you need. It's cheap and it'll keep you from coming up short when wiring up your bike in the neatest way possible. I would also suggest automotive wiring spiral wrap, it makes for a neat appearance and protects your wires from abrasion and eventual shorting. I find twisting lengths and pairs of wire together and securing at either end with a small zip tie also helps to keep things clean and easy to manage. Also remember when crimping the connectors to the wire squeeze the suckers as hard as you can so they don't fall apart with all the vibrations while riding. Get some good connectors with clip retention if you plan on plugging and unplugging a piece often, the tab terminal connections hold on really tight and I wouldn't want to pry them apart every time I wanted to take my battery bag inside with me.
Thanks, I wouldnt say I rock the forums but I would really like it if more motoredbikers took the initiative to install even the most rudimentary lighting systems on their MB's. To me I think running lights even in the daytime is just as if not more important than wearing a helmet. And it adds to the ultimate cool factor for a bicycle. It completes the machine.
I completely agree. I get the strangest looks from people when they drive up beside me, and see the motor. It's a lot easier to have a big bright tail light and signals sticking out. People see lights, and think "motorcycle", and not "dumb bicycle". Not that roadies are dumb, but drivers who don't bike have no respect for those who do!
I just bought the horn, and I'm working on a good headlight.
Also remember when crimping the connectors to the wire squeeze the suckers as hard as you can so they don't fall apart with all the vibrations while riding.

I would always recommend soldering each connection as well as crimping it. It will take just a few extra minutes but will make your electrical system MUCH more reliable. Just a thought....