Legal to ride across state lines?

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by kengorman, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. kengorman

    kengorman New Member

    If I own a motorized bicycle that has been registered, insured, licensed, etc. in one state, am I legally allowed to ride that bicycle in another state if that state prohibits the use of motorized bicycles?


  2. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    Short answer is that it must be legal where it is ridden, so no. Longer answer would involve challenging the law as an impediment to interstate commerce...I'm not up for that.
  3. Email

    Email Member

    Serving 2 years prison sentance.

    A friend of mine legally purchased a firearm, legally registered his firearm, and legally had a permit to carry it from the State of Alabama. He went to Massachusetts, was pulled over and searched (had an outstanding warrant, so they had a right to search - but the outstanding warrant was Alabama's mistake as he already paid the fine). He pointed out that he had the gun in the glove compartment to the officer. He is now serving 2 years in prison, no possible reduction in the sentence. He is in his 20's.

  4. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    You should be ok crossing state lines as long as you don't have a minor with you.
    Here is one example I can share with you: I bought a car in a Southern state a while back. This state does not issue temporary cardboard plates. I drove the vehicle without plates 1000 miles and through many states. I got pulled over a couple of times but with my bill of sale in my glove box and explanation of the state's law I bought the car from was sufficient.
  5. TwoWalks

    TwoWalks Member

    Most states have a reciprocal agreement with other states when dealing with motor vehicles. If you have all the above, you will more than likely be good to ride. The rub would actually come from the reverse. In Arizona, the motorized bicycle is exempt from license, insurance etc and is not considered a motor vehicle. If you ride it into California it is a Moped and would need a license. More likely than not, you would be road kill.
  6. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    What you are all ignoring is that there are specific federal vehicle equipment specifications which apply to automobiles and preempt state law. In other words, in general, a car legal to operate in one state (with legal equipment, that is), is legal to operate in another state.

    These same rules do not apply to motorized bicycles because there is no federl standard which preempts state law as to the required equipment to operate on the road. As we all know, there are widely varying requirements.

    I have not even brought up licenses or registrations. Generally, one state's license and registartion will be respected by another state (and there are laws which allow for a transportation period after buying a car), but the fact that another state may respect the registration does not mean they will allow a bicycle that does not meet their equipment requirements to operate in the state. Those are two very different things.
  7. kengorman

    kengorman New Member

    I always thought that I could drive a vehicle that didn't meet California emission standards into California if it was legally registered elsewhere outside of California. The vehicle wouldn't meet the equipment requirements (i.e. catalytic converter, anti-smog devices, etc.), but I'd still be able to drive it.

    Does anyone have any references that they could cite - I'm getting conflicting answers to the initial question.

    I know that here in Pennsylvania some counties require vehicle emissions testing (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and surrounding counties), however, much of the state doesn't. A car registered in a county not requiring emissions testing can lawfully drive that car into an emissions-required county without ever having to have the car emissions tested.

  8. Email

    Email Member

    Well look at it this way. If you drove a car that was billowing jet black smoke past an officer of the law, do you honestly think he would give you a friendly warning or just let you continue to drive on past just because you came from out of state? I doubt officers would target every out of state driver (but I am sure some do), but if your ride sticks out like a sore thumb and an officer wants to fill his quota - tag you're it. I know I am just pointing out the obvious, but if you question your actions - so will an officer, and if you've ever talked to one you know they pay attention to EVERYTHING.

    If the question is whether or not you can live in a county that forbids or makes it hard on motorized bikes, register it and get it approved in another state that is easier, then come back home and ride it where it's not approved, I would have to say no. In-laws were up in the northern states when they were working up there for a few months, well they got pulled over for not having their car checked out and were given a ticket requiring them to get it looked at (yeah he was needing his quota). Apparently if you've lived there for some stint of time, they do not look the other way anymore.

    If you are just driving through town or just passing through, do you really want to have to come back to prevent getting a warrant for your arrest if you do not show up to argue it in court (and will the judge care)? If you actually live there, you're going to get a spot on your record - especially if you resist the officer by arguing with him that your ride is a bicycle not a motor vehicle and he knows otherwise, as you might just end up owing several thousand dollars. Now if it's registered as a motor vehicle in another state, and he sees it as a bicycle with an engine that is over his states legal limit, you just got busted for that. If he caught you doing 40 when the limit is 20 for bicycles with a motor, you got busted for that. Know your laws for the states you ride into, as it could save you a lot of grief later. If your aim is to ride across country, aim for the states that are friendly to your ride. If the state is not, rent a Uhaul and drop it off in the next state. If you want to change things, get political, organize rides, and petition for change; otherwise, we're all going to be reading our own laws and trying to comply with them, and educate others when they want to ride through our state.

    "Dr. I broke my arm in three places." Dr. says, "stay out of those places."
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2008
  9. HoughMade

    HoughMade Guest

    Emission standards are yet another matter because there is federal preemption, but excemptions for certain states.
  10. kengorman

    kengorman New Member

    The implication (that I'm reading from your response) is that if you draw attention, you'll get stopped regardless of legality. Am I reading it correctly?

    How about another scenario - I live very close to the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border. I frequently find myself crossing the various bridges here in Pennsylvania with my un-assisted bicycle to ride the roads on the Jersey side of the Delaware River

    note: the Delaware river is the state line that separates NJ from PA.

    I might find myself in some coffee shop in NJ on any given Sunday morning. I'm not planning on drawing undue attention to myself, however, should I get stopped in NJ, and the bike I'm riding is motorized and legally registered, insured, etc. in PA - am I breaking any laws by riding it in NJ.

    Once again - I think my intentions were mis-interpreted. I'm not looking to skirt any laws or to try to find a loop-hole. I'm finding that just registering a motorized bicycle in PA is hard enough. I just want to find out all the restrictions to help me decide whether I really want to do this. If I find that I can't legally cross into NJ - even if my bike is legal in PA - it will definitely weigh into my decision.

    Conversely, if I discover that I'm legally entitled to ride in NJ, it may be a compelling enough reason to push on with this journey.


  11. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    If one enters Calif with a - legal in another state vehicle - no problem. We have had those who wish to register said vehicles in another state while living here in Calif - to avoid smog, fees and others - PROBLEM - vistors ok - live here no.. I think that if you came through Calif on a MB which was legal in state of origin - carry some paperwork - permission to pass through - GRANTED. Ride That Thing - Mountainman