Lengthy, but fully serious, legal quandry.

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by Grugthejust, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Grugthejust

    Grugthejust New Member

    This summer I'm taking my motorized bike cross country. From Empire State building to the Golden Gate Bridge.

    I've read through the legal information on:


    The 13 states I'm going through are.

    -New York
    -New Jersey
    -West Virginia

    Consider that the time spent in either New York, New Jersey and West Virginia will be relatively negligible. I'll be out of New Jersey at the end of day 1 even if I pedal, and West Virginia is about 5 miles wide where I'm crossing it.

    The question is; I live in New York, I cannot get it registered, or insured here, which is a major commonality on laws through a good number of these states. I intend to have headlight, tail-light, turn signals, mirror, full helmet, ect. I have a valid license in NY, should I worry too much about the lack of insurance and registration in other states?

    I mean, I'm quite good at talking my way out of situations, but I'm wondering if I should get this thing registered in another state just to have a plate on it to avoid a hassle.

    Also, has anyone on here had run in's with the law that went beyond a fine?

    If anyone has answers, or even questions feel free to ask 'em.

  2. professor

    professor Active Member

    Well, Grug. I live in NY and I bought a junk moped with a reg. , stamped the make & numbers on my bike, insured it (fifty bucks/yr.) and regisered it.
    That plate on the back is my golden pass to hassle free riding.

    If you can register it somewhere out of the Empire strikes back state - go for it. Otherwise consider doing what I did.
  3. Grugthejust

    Grugthejust New Member

    Just to make sure I'm following, if I purchase a junk moped, from this state or otherwise, I could use that info to register my bike. I understand some of the details here, but I'm just wondering if I'm filling in the right blanks mentally.

    Would I have to effectively "register" that moped and toss the info and plate on my bike, correct?
  4. wbuttry

    wbuttry Member

    hey grug when you come through mo you dont half to worry about that junk here it is completly street legal in missouri who know maybe we can meet up depends on what part you come throough weather i'll be able to meet up with you good luck man...
  5. Grugthejust

    Grugthejust New Member

    I should be coming along I-64/I-70 though that is a rough route because obviously I won't be using the actual interstate.
  6. geebt48cc

    geebt48cc Member

    Grug, what will you be riding?
  7. professor

    professor Active Member

    I want to answer your question- I essentialy made my bike into the moped by the stamped numbers, added the required lighting.
    My son, who is a policeman said the number plate I made wouldn't look too good, so I blended it into the fork head after welding with bondo. Now, this bike is a Puch, in the very unlikely event I would get stopped, it is a customized Puch.

    Went to the DMV with the reg (and insurance FS form) and licensed it. While I was there, I requested it to be made into the lowest class (20 mph max) since at the time it would only go 20. The lady looked up the model and said. twnty max?" I said yes. And she changed it from class B.

    It will be insured anyway, but that is one less legal hoop.

    Most of the mopeds sold were not class C, and the person you get at the window may not be as accomidating as this lady.
    I felt it was worth a shot, of course, I am legally limited to 20 mph and most of the time that is what I do.

    I do have the motor hidden becuse I sometimes am on the sidewalk (going slow and pedaling) and prefer to not be noticed as motorized. I wear a motorcycle helmet, I ride very sensibly.
    Half the motorcycles here are mufflerless and these morons do not get bothered, I never expect to be either on my quiet little bike.
  8. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    The good thing about getting it registered as a motor vehicle is that other states generally have reciprocity with your state concerning motor vehicle registration. So, even though you might not be able to register your bike in Ohio if you lived there, because it's registered in NY, you wouldn't get hassled.

    The down side of registering as a MV is that you typically are not allowed to legally ride in bicycle lanes or sidewalks. (actually, you can get ticketed for riding on the sidewalk on a bicycle, too...)

    In AZ, no license is required for my MB, and I can (and should) ride in bicycle lanes. But, I can't exceed 20 MPH, because, if I do, I can get slammed for riding an unregistered/uninsured moped. If I get it registered as a Moped, then I CAN go faster than 20 (but less than 35,) and am required to ride on the street - I can get ticketed for riding in the bike lane...
  9. professor

    professor Active Member

    Depends on where you are, here there are signs banning motorized vehicles from bike paths.
    And, bicycles are not allowed on sidewalks anywhere, BUT where I am, no one is ever bothered. Being there is a lot safer and less an obstruction to car drivers.
  10. Grugthejust

    Grugthejust New Member

    Right now I've got the money, just reading up on a good number of details. Frankly, for cross country I'm leaning towards a 4 stroke with attached tank. As for the bike underneath, I have a couple of options.

    Anyone know whether or not 2 stroke or 4 stroke is ultimately better for this endeavor I have read quite a number of posts on the matter, and they both have pros and cons?
  11. Grug, Pennsylvania says an assisted pedalcycle(yeah, I know) must be 50cc or less, 1.5 hp or less, not capable of exceeding 20mph on level pavement, pedalable, must meet all bicycle regulations(reflectors, bell or other sound warning device, stay off sidewalks, etc. etc.), may be used anywhere a bicycle may be used(except not allowed in State Parks or on restricted access highways with a 40mph minimum speed limit), and the rider must have a valid driver's license. I use Subaru Robin 33.5cc engines with 1.6hp and it has never been a problem, they normally don't check all that close, but an engine obviously over 50cc might cause woe. All my gas engined bikes would go over 25mph but I never got clocked on radar. In Pennsylvania only State Police may use radar, so you will need to watch your speed on the highways between towns. The Pa. State Police won't hassle you normally and the larger town cops generally know the law, but some small town cops don't know the rules and may bother you, especially if they are bored.

    Personally, I prefer a high quality 4 stroke for the quiet and smoothness, like a Honda or Subaru, but a high quality Japanese 2 stroke, like a Tanaka or Mitsubishi would be fine as well.

    I hope your trip is uneventful and as fun as it sounds. Good luck!

  12. DuctTapedGoat

    DuctTapedGoat Active Member

    So, I know you're not traveling through Idaho, but as I recall, you can't travel on the highway in a vehicle that doesn't travel 50 MPH. I wouldn't be surprised if there were any other states in those 13 listed that might have the same law.

    ...unless you've found a way to circumvent it?
  13. Slackbiker

    Slackbiker Member

    I've been MB touring for 3 years, including CO, UT, NV, and CA, not a single hassle. I use a 4-stroke, mainly because it is more pleasant in the long run. The main reason i see for using a 2-stroke would be a Need for Speed, but i'm not at all interested; also it might attract more attention from the police.
  14. WhizBangAndy

    WhizBangAndy Member

    I would look for a cheap title and frame and go that route for your state..

    its only going to raise questions if you have a license and insurance from one state and a tag from another.

    I had one person successfully do that from a trashed Safari moped and has been riding legal for the last 5 years. He cut the VIN out and brazed it to his head tube. Make sure that you permanently attach the VIN or carefully stamp it in with letter/number dies. Makes Johnny Law happy and it bypasses the legality issue.

    When I get some extra $$ again im going to do just that with a trashed kinetic moped that I got for $50 with a clean title. Probably going to use the engine too so I can actually ride it without looking over my shoulder or having to fix it every 10 miles..LOL
  15. Grugthejust

    Grugthejust New Member

    Circumvent is the operative term here. The majority of the states don't allow mopeds on interstates whatsoever, so my only option is a good, safe, viable backroad approach.

    Thank you both, after some further research the 4 stroke is winning out, more torque for hills, and towing, less speed, low profile, less noise.

    I am, been checking Craigslist everyday. Found a motobecane in western Connecticut, and a Tomos in Central New Jersey for $100 or less a piece. The problem is I'm on Long Island and don't know anyone with a pick-up willing to get me out there the get it. My next step is to call up the junk yards around here.

    Now I wish my uncle didn't scrap his Jawa years ago.
  16. professor

    professor Active Member

    Grug- a moped will fit in the trunk and back of your car if you take off some stuff.
    That is how mine came home. They are really on the small side.
    The only thing is the nasty weather.
    Just make sure the thing has a registration before you go to get it.
  17. sideshowbob

    sideshowbob Member

    registered and insured

    I got a registration,title, plate and insurance (6.25$ a month insurance, $144 for 4 yrs reg.) from progressive as a "Puch other model not listed" I got some PUCH stickers slapped them on the frame, jumped through all the DMV hoops and questions and got it registerd as an assembled moped 49cc. I do have all required lights, turns etc. Never a peep from cops with proper paperwork. They don't ever even try to look at my frame numbers just call in the plate and all is well. They also can't tell how many cc's the motor is by looking 49 and 66 look almost the same, so mine is a 49cc wink wink... The most common question I get from cops is "did you built it?" and where can I get one?" good luck, I agree that a 4 stroke will give you longer ride times in hot weather. The junk frame and title idea is great I'd try that.
  18. Dave C

    Dave C Member

    Plus side for 4 stroke; they do not require a premix of fuel/oil, they seem to last longer and last longer in sustained loads.

    Plus for two strokes; for $70 plus shipping you can carry a spare motor. Pretty cheap insurance.

    I have plans for long distance running this year, too, and a spare motor is in the plans. Won't take up much space or add too much weight to a 4 foot trailer I'm building. I'm getting a 49 cc and swapping it out for the 66cc in it now. The 66cc will go in a plastic bag and into the trailer. It's mainly due to vibration I'm getting the 49cc. The bolt-on mods I have will assure I can still climb the hills around here but not having to deal with so much vibration is a good thing.

    We have some loong uphills around here, Lucky Peak campground to Hilltop is one very long climb I'll be doing a report on, the other side of that climb is the second long climb from the Spring Shores turnoff back up the hill to Hilltop. These are very steep and long runs, mostly straight runs with very little turn. Second planned run is Boise to Bogus Basin, an 18 mile, over 3000 foot climb. Lots of switch backs on this climb.

    I figure that if I can pull those hills there's nothing I couldn't handle.
  19. Grugthejust

    Grugthejust New Member

    Good news, bought myself a frame from a 1984 Suzuki FA50 for $50. So, I'm on my way as far as registering a motorized bicycle.


    To Dave C,
    Tell me how well you do on that climb, that would be rough without the motor. Actually the Catskills are the main reason I'm going with 4 stroke for the low end torque. I'll have a trailer (Bob Yak) and I won't load myself down too badly with my lightweight camping gear. As for the spare motor, while carrying a spare if a nice option, the 4 stroke I'm getting, huasheng 49cc which is just a copy of the Honda GXH50, which from what I've seen are widely available from certain hardware stores. So I'll just pedal til I find a replacement if need be. Regardless though, have a great trek and take plenty of pictures.
  20. professor

    professor Active Member

    Nice find Grug, I put those numbers up on the left side of the steering head (like where a motorcycle would have them). Might be a good idea to put a couple of Suzuki stickesr on the bike too.