California laws on motorized bikes

k-wad

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Apr 7, 2014
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The automatic transmission part of the requirement is kind of confusing.
It's not so much about centrifugal vs. hand clutch. The main idea is that they do not want the bike to have gears that can be manually shifted through.
A single speed with a hand clutch is legal, as there are no gears to shift through.
 


LR Jerry

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Mar 14, 2011
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Unfortunately in the USA that could be up to the interpretation of a judge. My brother and x-brother-in-law discovered this in 2006 in Tennessee. They ran into one another both were hurt really bad. Both were charged with operating an improper vehicle on the public road ways the judge said they didn't have an automatic transmission due to a manual clutch. Even though the bikes engines only drove a single gear. They see the clutch as being part of the transmission system.

Many other states go as far as to state in their statutes no manual clutching or manual shifting of engine driven gears. These laws seem to have been written to stop multiple gearing by use of a semiautomatic transmission system where it uses a centrifugal clutch but the operator must manually shift gears.

For as long as it last I've built a bike which shifts 5 gears fully and completely automatically . On my bike I don't manually clutch or shift gears; its all done automatically. The intent of the law may have been for a single engine driven gear but it doesn't say that. This seems to be a legal loophole that can be used everywhere in the USA for now. I haven't read anywhere in any state where it says an automatic transmission can't shift gears by itself automatically. If you want multiple engine driven gears in states which requires an automatic transmission system then it must be done fully and completly automatically.
 
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Anthony D.

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If my memory serves me correctly there's an automatic transmission requirement. That means technically you need a centrifugal clutch. I'm sure that would also depend on the area you live in as well as to whether or not it was enforced.
That's not true. The auto tranny is in reference to the motor being directly connected to the rear sprocket. No jack shafts allowed.

I personally hide an Alfine 11 speed hub in the rear tire...
 

xSH0CKERJx

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Jul 27, 2018
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LoL. In Florida. Under 50cc is legal to drive without a license. LoL. Even golf cars under 50cc legal. Not sure about electric motors.
 

Barnfresh

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Sep 5, 2011
Messages
240
LoL. In Florida. Under 50cc is legal to drive without a license. LoL. Even golf cars under 50cc legal. Not sure about electric motors.
In Florida a license is required to operate MBs even under 50cc.

Since this thread is about California Law you may want to join the discussion over on this Florida thread: https://motoredbikes.com/threads/florida-law-for-mopeds-do-cops-enforce-it.48447/

FAQ from Florida motor vehicle bulletin https://www.flhsmv.gov/dmv/bulletins/2003/Scooter_fact.htm

Question:
What are the driver licensing requirements for mopeds, scooters and other two or three wheel motor vehicles?

Response:
If 50cc or less, these vehicles are not motorcycles by driver license law definition, FS 322.01 (25), so a motorcycle endorsement is not needed per F.S. 322.03(4). However, to operate them on streets and roadways, you must be at least 16 years old and hold at least a regular operator (Class E) or "Motorcycle Only" driver license. (Reason: even though these vehicles are 50cc or less, they still fall under the driver license law definition of "Motor Vehicles" and a driver license is required to operate a "motor vehicle".) FS 322.03(1), 322.01(26) and 322.05(1).

Question:
Is there a motorized vehicle you can operate without a driver license?

Response:
Yes, if at least 16, you may ride a bicycle with an electric helper-motor that can not go faster than 20 mph on level ground, per 322.03(1), 322.01(26) and 316.003(2).

You can look up the quoted statutes here; http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?Mode=Search Statutes&Submenu=2&Tab=statutes
 

Barnfresh

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Sep 5, 2011
Messages
240
That's not true. The auto tranny is in reference to the motor being directly connected to the rear sprocket. No jack shafts allowed.

I personally hide an Alfine 11 speed hub in the rear tire...
That’s not true. Auto tranny has absolutely nothing to do with the engine driving the rear wheel directly or through a jack shift. Many of the european mopeds from the 70s era utilized a constantly variable transmission (CVT) that was belt drive to a jackshaft and final drive by chain to the rear wheel.

BTW how do you fit that Alfy hub in there and still have room left for the inner tube?
 
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