/current laws in Minnesota

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by silverbear, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. silverbear

    silverbear New Member

    I'd very much appreciate links to current laws or pending legislation for gas motorbicycles in Minnesota. I live up by the Canadian border near Ely and am the only rider I know of in the area. Although I've had no trouble with the law so far I should know what's what. I expect to be selling a few builds this summer and want to advise buyers on how to stay in compliance with the state. Many thanks...

  2. Huntington

    Huntington Member

    ya I didnt want to be a d*ck but this thread should be under MotoredBiking Laws & Legislation. I googled Minnesota motorized bicycle laws and this is what I found. I do not however live in Minnesota nor study law so dont hold me to anything.

    Looks like in Minnesota a MB is considered a scooter and a drivers license is required. (But I may be wrong)


    Mopeds, Electric-Assisted Bicycles

    Mopeds (or motorized bicycles) have a piston displacement of 50cc or less, two-brake horsepower or less, and are not able to go faster than 30 mph on a level surface, as defined by Minnesota lawmakers. If a vehicle exceeds any of these categories, it will likely be classified as a motorcycle.

    Electric-assisted bicycles also fall under the moped category providing they have:

    * Two or three wheels

    * A saddle

    * Pedals meant for human propulsion

    * Met federal safety requirements

    * An electric motor with a power of less than 1,000 watts

    * A maximum speed of 20 mph

    * Brakes that disengage the vehicle when applied

    Driver Eligibility

    If you have a driver's license, you're legally allowed to drive a moped. If you don't, you'll need to obtain a moped operator's permit. The Minnesota Motorcycle/Motorized Bicycle Manual outlines in detail the steps to get your permit. Applicants must be at least 15 years old.

    Moped drivers need to carry liability insurance, but riders of electric-assisted bicycles do not. Mopeds must be titled at registered at a Driver and Vehicle Services location, much in the same manner as a car.
    Operating Information

    When riding a moped, keep the following things in mind:

    * Drive as close to the curb as you can.

    * Driving on sidewalks is not allowed, except for short distances when necessary.

    * If you're under 18, you must wear a helmet.

    * Wear protective eye gear (this doesn't apply when riding an electric-assisted bicycle).

    * Don't drive on bicycle lanes, trails, and interstate highways.

    * Make sure your moped has an operating headlight and taillight.

    Top Motorized Foot Scooters

    Motorized foot scooters are defined by state lawmakers as vehicles meant to be stood or sat upon by the rider, with handlebars. The vehicles must have an engine or motor that can propel the rider, without the help of human propulsion. Also, they must either have wheels with a diameter of 10 inches or less, or a top speed of 15 mph on a flat surface.
    Driver Eligibility

    You must be least 12 years old to ride a motorized foot scooter. However, you don't need a license to ride one, nor do you need to register or title the vehicle. Plus, insurance is not required.
    Operating Information

    Motorized foot scooters are not allowed to be ridden on sidewalks, except for over short distances when necessary. Passengers are not allowed. Scooters may be driven on some bicycle paths and trails. Riders under 18 have to wear a helmet.
    Top Additional Information

    For more information on any of these vehicles, consult the Minnesota Motorcycle/Motorized Bicycle Manual.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  3. silverbear

    silverbear New Member

    Sorry for posting this in the wrong spot, but thanks for your responses and information.
  4. Lazieboy

    Lazieboy Member

    Iam in MN

    Hi, I got insurance on my MB $60 a year.
    more than 49cc its a motorcycle permit. be back later
  5. silverbear

    silverbear New Member

    Did you register it like the state wants? I ride more than one bike and if I sell one I want to put miles on it to be sure all is well, so this insurance thing could add up, especially considering the short riding season in northern Minnesota. Have you been hassled at all by the local police?
  6. KilroyCD

    KilroyCD Active Member

    I just moved it to the right area. Carry on gentlemen...
  7. silverbear

    silverbear New Member

    Thanks you Chris...
  8. Lazieboy

    Lazieboy Member

    MN Registered MB

    Working on getting it registered. need a title, so i need to make one using proof of purchase,Motor and frame SS# and 2 -3 forms notarized, pics both sides. and i think it needs to be inspected. I hope not. then send papers to the state and hope it works. P.S. 66cc grubee motor is actually 49cc hahaha. Uuu think they'll find out by looking at motor. There is no markings on motor other than a SS# i stamped in it.

    Cops hav'nt said anything yet. they seen me twice today and neibor is a cop and he hears me tearing around.
  9. augidog

    augidog New Member

    P.S. eat this message when you're finished reading it

    if i was a cop and wanted to know how to find out...or if i was a councilman, or a mayor, or even just a "concerned" busy-body wondering if the town needs stricter laws or maybe should outlaw MB's altogether...well heck, i'd find everything i need, out in the open & conveniently sorted by location, right here at MotoredBikes.com...

    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  10. silverbear

    silverbear New Member

    This always seems like such a gray area, not knowing if we are going to be "allowed" to ride an innocuous put put when we aren't bothering anybody or at least are riding in such a way that no one should be boythered. Some people require little to be bothered. I think that for myself, being 65 years old and not a speed demon, I could probably ride my vintage motorbicycles without a hassle since I obey all traffic laws and ride sensibly, wear a helmet, have lights, am known in the community, etc. The problem is when I start selling bikes and there are a few instead of one. Then in another year after answering all the questions about where'd I get the cool bike, what's that motor, etc. some people are going to buy kits and build their own. Inevitably someone is going to be riding drunk or breaking traffic laws, bragging about how fast they can go and racing around in town and somebody on the town council is going to save us all by suggesting these things be banned, especially if a serious injury is involved. I'm probably thinking too fast forward, but I just wish there was something more established which assures those of us who want to see this hobby/sport/mode of transport have a long life and be a right for us without having to lie about these little motors and their miniscule displacement. 49 or 66, big difference...
    And proof of sale. Awe man. For example, My two main bikes this summer that I'll be riding are ones which I've had for years. One is a 63 Schwinn American Deluxe, much altered, which I originally bought the frame for on eBay maybe seven years ago. The other is a 1939 Elgin which I bought the frame for last summer on eBay. I already had the fenders, skirt guards and seat from a 41 I had laying around. So where's the proof of "purchase"? The motors for both bikes are BGF automatics, one from a year ago the other last week. If I did manage to show proof of the ebay transactions it would state that it is a higher displacement than 49cc. It is true that I have left nothing on either engine which identifies them as more than 49cc, but if I have to have a bill of sale for the engine there's the rub. I have no problem with anybody inspecting my bikes if they know what they are looking at.
    So, I'm torn between just riding and letting somebody else do the registration business to blaze the way locally or doing it myself with one bike, probably the old Elgin, and trying to set things on a positive note from the start.
    For the person on this thread who insure his bike, what did the insurer want to know? Bike serial number, engine displacement? Did you have to provide a photo or bring the bike in to be looked over?
    Whatever each of us decides to do, it's a good thing to know what the score is, so thanks for responding to this thread.
  11. augidog

    augidog New Member

    indeed, silverbear, all valid points & concerns, sociologically but not necessarily legally...but you grew up in a time when you were responsible for your own mistakes, and your riding style reflects that. you're not bothering anyone i believe that, but be assured many riders ARE bothering folks. nowadays, when people see our freedom-machines, they see yet-another insurance-liability. sorry, but from that standpoint, altho i'm hardcore MB, i have to agree we need to find a way to do our part. i wonder how the few early MN riders felt when stricter laws emerged, did they blame someone else or take self-responsibility? no telling of course, but i think you get my drift...

    who are we to thumb our noses when we should be doing everything we can, as a group, to ensure tomorrow's rider (your customers & friends) CAN ride?

    btw-i use a 40cc that outruns most stock HT's...so we really have to get over this "bigger is better" stuff as a just plain invalid argument<---only my opinion of course, but we're talking about "motor-assisted-bicycles" and not unsafe/underbuilt motorcycles-with-pedals...

    yes only my opinion and i respect yours too...and i won't further muddy up the legal topic with debate...

    but i will repeat: if you're gonna publicly brag about using illegal equipment & producing sworn legal documents with untrue specifications, then don't complain next year when they tighten up on you even more than they already have.

    for real, i'm on your side in this battle, but i have to wonder just how smart some of our "soldiers" are...

    i too am very interested in how one properly documents and insures our contraptions in Minnesota...and i hope to eventually see responsible examples presented here so all can benefit :cool:
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  12. Huntington

    Huntington Member

    The law is a funny thing. It really doesnt matter what the books say, it only matters how the cop is feeling that day.

    Tonight I went to a birthday party, my roommates brother. He is a cop in the Riverside area (Ca), His brother is a cop in San Diego, and many other cops there.

    I asked them all what they would do if they saw a bicycle haling a** at like 40mph. Some said they would do nothing, that they have bigger things to worry about. Some said they would stop me, check out the bicycle, and tell me Im a dork but its cool.

    Ultimately though I give up. I dont really care if its legal or not to ride my MB. I am not hurting anyone and I am safe. I wear a helmet and obey traffic laws.

    Every cop there told me they really dont know what the law is on MB anyway. (Might be a CA thing, we have confusing laws)

    I worry only about one thing. I drive in the city of Irvine Ca. If you dont know it, it is and has been the safest city in the USA for the past 5 or 6 years. The reason is simple. Rich people and lots of cops. Even they can not stop me from riding my MB!!!

    If it makes you happy and doesn't hurt anyone, do it!
  13. silverbear

    silverbear New Member

    For myself I doubt that I will likely be hassled by the police. For one thing it is a small community and I know them and they know me. Most people seem pleased to see me towing my little dog around in her kiddie trailer... they wave and I wave back. But what to do if some do-gooder cop wants to hassle me? I'll find a way to ride, no matter, since I live out in the forest and don't 'have to' ride the bike to town. I'm gonna ride these things till I can't ride anymore. And then I'll put a china girl on my wheelchair. In the mean time if I can ride without worry by jumping through a few legislative hoops, then I guess I'm game for that. Maybe it will help my grandchildren someday.
  14. augidog

    augidog New Member

    yup...in real-life i just ride...to the local cops, i LOOK & BEHAVE legal, therefore i must BE legal...that's been good enough so far...

    i hope i can still say that a couple years from now.

    i'm NOT advocating tougher laws and eventual enforcement, i'm predicting it. and i wouldn't care one bit if i'm wrong about this one...just be realistic about reality is all i'm saying :helmet:

    (one really should consider if publicly posting how you're gonna cheat paperwork is a good idea)
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  15. silverbear

    silverbear New Member

    Good commentary. Yeah, the engine displacement thing is problematic. By far the most popular and available china girl is the 80 (66) cc China Girl. I buy those largely because they have a little more torque for making it up hills and I can buy it as an automatic, pull start slant head for a measly $150.00. My target customers are older and well off summer residents, so ease of use in starting and operating are what I focus on. About half of my bikes are step through models (ladies bikes) since they are much easier to mount for some seniors. So the emphasis is not on speed. That said, I'll continue to buy the bigger engine since in my opinion it is a better engine (I'm just talking about HT motors). Once I have it in hand it is 49cc to everyone for evermore. That isn't entirely honest now, is it? And I would rather be honest, but sometimes, as in this case, 'honesty is not the best policy'. Somehow I manage to sleep at night.
    Old fellows like me saw and rode the old Schwinns and Rollfasts, Elgins and Monarks and wanted to pretend they had motors as make believe Whizzers. We put playing cards on the spokes to help the illusion. I build vintage cruisers for those of us who still have a twelve year old alive and well living inside and who still are excited by the idea of a motor on their bicycle. Most of us never got Whizzers. This is the next best thing even if it has been a long time in coming and we had to wait fifty years. These are the guys I want to sell my bikes to. No, I don't want to see them hassled by the law.
    You're right, if we don't step up to the plate to try to set the course of things, who will? I think if I can get a small group of elders riding together on Sundays or such it will be a positive image to project out there to the public. I'm not interested in the bad *** outlaw thing as Harley pretenders. Old guys having fun is what interests me. Old gals, too. Good looking old gals get free gas and tune ups.
  16. silverbear

    silverbear New Member

    Well, you're probably right about being quiet about the engine displacement. I stand a good chance of having the bicycle police come and arrest me with a police dog to arrest my dog, too. So, having considered the folly of my ways and now seeing the light, let me publicly state for all to see that I will just sell 49cc HT motors. I feel much better now.
    I think you are also right that tighter laws will come and will be enforced. I just want to see us still able to ride these home built motorbicycles legally. We should be held liable for safe riding in compliance with laws of the road and fined/ prosecuted when we are breaking the law, just as with a car or motorcycle. But really, these are bicycles with little motors on them, so the hoops we need to jump through must be big enough and low enough that we can keep riding without unreasonable restrictions.
  17. augidog

    augidog New Member

    me too baseball cards on the spokes!

    i wonder how many millions of dollars worth of rookie-cards got torn to pieces back then :ack2:

    edit in reply: yes, and we'd be better off if we play a part in the legislation instead of constantly being pushed around & pushing back...the bad part is we're outnumbered by the chopper-wannabe's (that's not a dig at bike-style but riding-style)...the good part is that we'll prolly enjoy all our MB years before things get too scrood-up. and when i mentioned the size of my engine, it was to technically demonstrate that a 48cc HT done-right would be way more than sufficient for our crowd...

    about the bike police...lol too funny! but, what if the state told the techs to (easily & quickly) pull the muffler on an HT and use a depth gauge to confirm bore before issuing registration? what if they learned about that here?

    talk about shooting ones' own foot!

    of course, anyone who can afford an extra HT would just keep a 48cc around for inspection purposes...oops, now i've done it...now they'll start double-checking serial numbers...dangit, you just cannot win ;)
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  18. Lazieboy

    Lazieboy Member

    Insurance company just wanted the make,SS3 that was off frame, and engine size.
    Also my bill of sale somehow shows 49cc not 66 huuu.
  19. loquin

    loquin Active Member