Legal Issues



I am set on getting a engine kit for my beach cruiser (a Del La Cruz) and have been running in circles as to whether it is legal or not and how to go about making it legal (if it can be done). I live in California and I have spent the last three days just getting confused and frustrated about the whole issue.

I have conflicting stories as to whether it would be a bicycle, a motorized bicyce, a motorcycle, or a vehicle.

I don't mind registering the thing, I am just having a hard time finding out how to even go about the process of getting it done. The only thing I have been able to find is this form:

For the most part the cops are pretty lax when it comes to mopeds and motorized bikes but it just takes one bum pumper cop to start stacking up the charges and depleating my pocketbook.

I am all for wearing a helmet (I work in a hospital and have seen what not wearing a helmet in MVA's can do to a person skull), putting on a headlight and taillight, getting a M-2 license, and all that kind of is just the registration issues that I am having a hard time with.

Anyone with experience in the issue please let me know.
IIRC, a motorized bicycle that does not have all of the following is a moped(instead of just a bicycle) and should be registered as such:

1. Has an electric motor(if it doesnt, its considered a moepd)
2. Less than 1000 kw energy output
3. Maximum unassisted speed of less than 20 mph
4. Engine/motor should stop when you let go of the throttle

Ok guys I found a place that has all the laws for every state except MS.

For the laws with CA

a) A "motorized bicycle" or "moped" is any two-wheeled or
three-wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by
human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical
energy, and an automatic transmission and a motor which produces less
than 2 gross brake horsepower and is capable of propelling the
device at a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on level
(b) A "motorized bicycle" is also a device that has fully
operative pedals for propulsion by human power and has an electric
motor that meets all of the following requirements:
(1) Has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts.
(2) Is incapable of propelling the device at a speed of more than
20 miles per hour on ground level.
(3) Is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device
when human power is used to propel the motorized bicycle faster than
20 miles per hour.
(4) Every manufacturer of motorized bicycles, as defined in this
subdivision, shall provide a disclosure to buyers that advises buyers
that their existing insurance policies may not provide coverage for
these bicycles and that they should contact their insurance company
or insurance agent to determine if coverage is provided.
(c) The disclosure required under paragraph (4) of subdivision (b)
shall meet both of the following requirements:
(1) The disclosure shall be printed in not less than 14-point
boldface type on a single sheet of paper that contains no information
other than the disclosure.
(2) The disclosure shall include the following language in capital

look at the site to get mor info.

the site for the laws is ....

i believe our laws here in mississippi are still wriiten on animal skins! besides, we all just 'play dumb redneck' when the laws are in question: 'well golly of'cer, i didn't know that this here bike weren't legal for the street'. :devilish:
you could always go that route but i think it probably only works here :D
Ok, well it looks like I should be able to use the page from the DMV link to get the thing at least registered. I can go down and get my M-1 permit once that has been taken care of.

As a side note, has anyone had any experience with the engine kits sold at
I contacted the dmv for the state of Alabama as i had the same concerns they told me steet legal if it met 3 criteria:
1 less than 50 cc
2 must still be able to petal the bicycle( its still a bicycle)
3 must not exceed 30 mph
Trying to figure it out

I am in the same boat. I am getting a kit soon and plan to build on for me and my wife. I talked to out local police (I work for the City) and explained what I plan on doing, He felt that as long as I had peddels, the motor was under 49cc's and I wore a DOT helmet there should be know problem. I also went to the Cal DMV site and looked up what I could.
The best I could tell was section 406 was the description of a "motorized bicycle" and section 27802 explained you needed a helmet that was DOT approved. They were a little confusing but I intend to go to thre PD with my completed bike and make sure it's legal. That will be a while but I'll let you know when I have it done

The - pay one time reg in Calif ask some simple questions -- which will tell you if what you have is a motorized bicycle or a mophead.... 1. Two wheel or three wheel device ? 2. Fully operative pedals for human power or powered solely by elect engergy ? 3. Automatic transmission and a motor with less than 2 gross brake hp ? 4. Maximun speed of 30 mph on level ? If you answered YES to all of these questions -- you have in the state of Calif a MOTORIZED BICYCLE -- Happy Riding from - Mountainman