If you take a wheelchair...


Local time
8:50 AM
Jul 15, 2008
Huntsville, AL
... and turn it into a recumbent, does it retain it's status as a legal mode of transportation in the backwards states, or are motorized wheelchairs forbidden to ride on the roadway.

LOL, too bad I'm not the first to think of it.

Sweet another one.

And another good post.

Could this be the loophole so many of us are looking for? Motorize the wheelchair however you want to do so, and use the wheelchair as a pusher (like the trailer-bike pusher attachments). The bicycle remains the bicycle and the wheelchair is legally allowed to be motorized (and I do not know of a legal limit to the size of a motor for wheelchairs).

Here's the Duet Tandem Wheelchair. This thing is awesome (but ouch it sure is pricey)! You basically are the trailer bike attached to the wheelchair (kinda' backwards from what I was thinking earlier). Take a good look at it, as this may be the "legal" way to proceed for assist motors to be used in states like Alabama. The only thing that concerns me legally is if they would consider this as clinging to vehicles:
No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any vehicle upon a roadway.

Eek, and I just spent $200 for a trailer bike for my daughter - technically couldn't the trailer bike be considered attached to another vehicle (my bike)?

Now you can then look at the powered wheelchairs like the moto-z, propane engine for lightweight performance.
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We are always looking for new ideas - so as to get around the law. I like the thought - but - this one sounds pretty far out there - to me anyway. I think that anything to wild - will draw attention and the good old pooolice will want to have this - help them with their quota - thus a possible ticket. Happy Riding from - Mountainman
My trike design I've already discussed with my Dr. Since I am legally 100% disabled, my Dr can prescribe an assistive vehicle for me, and there is NO legal requirement that it be one of the tyical "sick, lame, and lazy" mobiles you see in grocery stores. He wants to see it when it is done, and says he intends to ride it around the parking lot, but is quite willing to prescribe it for me.
I don't know anything about US federal standards or other states, but in Illinois, the motor vehicle code has speed limits for these types of devices.

Given in Chapter 1 "Title and Definitions":
(625 ILCS 5/1‑148.3) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1‑148.3)
Sec. 1‑148.3. Motorized wheelchair. Any self‑propelled vehicle, including a three‑wheeled vehicle, designed for and used by a person with disabilities, that is incapable of a speed in excess of 8 miles per hour on level ground.
(Source: P.A. 88‑685, eff. 1‑24‑95.)​

I am almost certain that I saw a mention somewhere else in the IL MVC that says motorized wheelchairs are limited to 12 mph or less.


Looks like Segways are sidewalk-legal in IL....

(625 ILCS 5/1‑117.7)
Sec. 1‑117.7. Electric personal assistive mobility device. A self‑balancing 2 non‑tandem wheeled device designed to transport only one person with an electric propulsion system that limits the maximum speed of the device to 15 miles per hour or less. ...​

(625 ILCS 5/11‑1412.2)
Sec. 11‑1412.2. Operating an electric personal assistive mobility device on a public sidewalk. A person may not operate an electric personal assistive mobility device upon a public sidewalk at a speed greater than 8 miles per hour. ...​