Brake Light and Horn in Minnesota

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by hardy101, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. hardy101

    hardy101 New Member

    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!

  2. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    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.
  3. hardy101

    hardy101 New Member

    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!
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  4. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    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.
  5. hardy101

    hardy101 New Member

    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!
  6. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    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.
  7. hardy101

    hardy101 New Member

    GREAT DETAILS!! Thank you SirJakesus! You rock these forums.
  8. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    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.
  9. adamtheha

    adamtheha Member

    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.
  10. Warner

    Warner Member

    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....

  11. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    Soldering the connections on fully insulated tab connectors be mighty difficult ;)
  12. Warner

    Warner Member

    Hehehe....yeah, I guess it could be....unless you like the smell of burning plastic! I guess I used the connectors that aren't fully insulated....soldering them is no problem. You could put heat-shrink (or electrical tape, but that's kinda' messy) over the wires before connecting them if you wanted it totally insulated. I was just checking out your videos as you have the same basic setup that I want for my bike...the Staton kit, Mitsu engine...and even the setup on your rack where you have the bag that offsets the weight bias on the rack. VERY nice job you did! How did you make that rack on the left side of the bike? You made that, correct....nothing you purchased? I was thinking of some type of saddlebag......but I like you rack! Good Job!

  13. SirJakesus

    SirJakesus Guest

    I used stock aluminum 1/8 x 3/4 in I think and some rivets to construct the rack. It took an afternoon to make but if I were to make another one it would take me a fraction of the time. The only tools I needed were Bench Vise, bench grinder, dremmel tool, drill. And I could have probably done without the dremmel tool.
    All you have to do is just measure the sections and use the bench vise to hold the aluminum as you bend it into right angles. The hook on the bottom was probably the most difficult part to bend into shape but overall it wasn't too hard. I did it with only homebrew trial and error metalworking knowledge.
    If you were going to do saddle bags that would be 100X easier than what I made.
  14. Warner

    Warner Member

    Good work on that! I guess I'll have to first get the kit installed and then see what I have to work with, huh?

    Thanks again,

  15. rjr003

    rjr003 New Member

    Hi all,
    Has anyone attempted to register their "homemade" motorized bicycle in MN yet? Looks like it should be reg, as a moped and also requires insurance. I see where the go-peds now are considered legal in the state, but city ord may prohibit.

    Let me know if anyone has any info on registering/licensing in MN

    Bob R
  16. hardy101

    hardy101 New Member


    I finished my project! I ended up registering my motorized bike ("moped" in MN) at the DMV. You have to bring pictures of the bike from all sides, and fill out a form explaining how it came into existence, since it doesn't have a receipt of sale. Costs about $20 for the plate and the tabs and the office fees.

    Bring receipts from any kits and parts you've purchased also - I had to leave and come back with these. Along these lines, I also foolishly admitted that I had not yet paid sales tax on my purchase, so they tacked it on at the time of registration. If you have a nebulous Paypal receipt or something from an online motor kit purchase, just say that the tax was paid, as I'm sure they wouldn't be able to know otherwise. Or be a good citizen and fork over the extra $50 or so.

    I ended up putting a standalone headlight and taillight. Also wired in a horn and a brakelight with a small 12v battery clamped to the frame. (Axman in St. Louis Park, MN right now has EXACTLY the same brake levers with internal switches as and they're only $2 instead of $10!!!) Turn signals are not required, but I built some of those out a car hazard light "thermal flasher" from Napa (also about $2).

    Finally, I tried to get insurance through Geico, but they won't insure a homemade moped. Progressive got me the required liability insurance for $6/month.

    I just smile at police officers when I go by, knowing that I have all my bases covered. I'm proud of my bike and have put about 75 miles on it so far. I'll be starting a new thread soon with some pics. Happy motoring!

  17. rjr003

    rjr003 New Member

    Great Job! Doing all the research/legwork for Reg/Ins for MN

    Hi Hardy101,:grin:

    Good news and I'm sure thx to everyone from MN trying to figure out the statutes and Insurance req's to be legal on your MB!

    DMV did you visit to get that done? Just wondering if outstate offices would have a clue on what to do?

    So pictures and reciepts, I can handle that. So to be clear, also a headlight, mirror and horn?

    It would be nice when riding to know that Mr. Deputy can pass me and not to worry about him stopping me.

    With the myriad of statues that you had to look into kudos again for gettin'er done!

    Bob R/rjr003

  18. hardy101

    hardy101 New Member


    Yes, you'll need a headlight, brakelight, tail light, mirror and horn. I went to the DMV in Richfield, but it was a standard registration form that any local office should have. Good luck with the project!
  19. rjr003

    rjr003 New Member

    Hi Hardy101,
    Thanks for the clarification on the info. I went to the Elk River DMV office and got the forms to fill out, although I was somewhat concerned when the woman working there told me that I would need the bike inspected and that it must meet the federal standards??. Just wondering are you using a HT motor? I did not receive anything from the distributor with any "federal standards documentation".

    Also, I don't remember you stating that you had it inspected. This was my concern, that different offices either don't know the required information to needed to register and they are making folks get inspections when they might not be needed.

    How long ago was your successful registration? Just wondering if things have changed for the state requirements.

    On a good note, was out in my neighborhood riding my bike, and had a Sheriff pass me without a problem, but still concerned about other deputies that might think otherwise.

    Bob R/rjr003
  20. Buzzter

    Buzzter New Member

    I ran into the same problem at the Monticello DMV. They wanted a state inspection. I called for a state inspection appointment but the state inspection wanted a "Federal Safety Sticker" and a "Officer safety inspection" before they would approve anything. Too much hassle. I'm just going to make the thing look as street legal as possible (lights, horn, etc.) and hope I don't get hassled by a deputy.