Louisiana Motorized Bicycle Laws

Louisiana Motorized Bike Laws

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11:51 PM
Apr 18, 2008
I had to go to the DMV office today on another errand, and while I was there I asked for (and received) a copy of the pertinent legal restrictions here:


MOTOR DRIVEN CYCLE - R.S. 32:1(39) defines as every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor not to exceed five horsepower.

MOTORIZED BICYCLE - R.S. 32:1(41) defines as a pedal bicycle which may be propelled by human power or helper motor, or by both, with a motor rated no more than one and one-half brake horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and which produces a maximum design speed at no more than twenty-five miles per hour on a flat surface."

REGISTRATION OF A VEHICLE - R.S. 47:501 requires every owner of a motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer, or any other vehicle intended to be operated upon the public highways in this state to register the vehicle before driving.


Mopeds and motorized bicycles shall be registered and titled upon presentation of the following:

1. Notarized certificate of origin or title

2. Bill of sale

3. Evidence of security interest must be filed by a UCC-1 or equivalent form or by filing of the security agreement.

4. Odometer statement


1. - A motorized bicycle shall only be operated upon the roadway of the highways of this state by a person fifteen years of age or older who possesses a valid driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement and shall not be operated upon sidewalks, interstate highways or impeded traffic flow.

2. No person may operate a moped or motorized bicycle without adhering to laws governing the operation of motorcycle including the wearing of approved eye protectors or a windshield and the wearing of a helmet.


So, engine of 50 cc or less, bhp of 1.5 or less, automatic transmission, must be registered/titled, you must have a motorcycle endorsement on your driving license, wear a helmet and/or goggles or face shield.

The final note makes me ask - if my bike doesn't meet the requirements, do I have to meet the licensing? Reading the statutes in full does not demonstrate an affirmative duty to comply with the limitations - it implies that if you do, here is what must be met, but does not say you must comply.

Louisiana Statutes: http://www.legis.state.la.us/

Specific authority

R.S. 32:1(39)
R.S. 32 (41)
R.S. 32:198
R.S. 47:501
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not sure what to make of that..

Not sure what to make of that. Since a bicycle never comes with Title or Certificate of Origin. Not only that, but to take a bicycle on a Highway? Something just does not seem right about those rules. What I would do is, when I see trouble coming, or what looks like trouble coming, I would hit my kill switch and pedal. Then it is a bicycle. Then what can they do? But that is me. What other choice would I have living there in Louisiana? I mean.. A bicycle does not come with those things required to get registration or what ever. Federal law says they are still bicycles. But you have a local law that is saying they are motorized? Check with a lawyer. With gas prices way up and going even higher, you all there will need a way to get around in order to survive. A motor assisted bicycle is the perfect way to get around and conserve . Check with a lawyer. Call your local news media. Radio and TV. Also Show the lawyer and media the federal regs and see if you can get your state law to reflect federal law. That is what Roland of Spooky Tooth did in the State of AZ. Enjoy the ride..
Here is a loop hole.. Maybe..

Here is what I think may be your loophole. It defines a motorized bicycle with an engine of less than 50cc, pedals, and auto transmission. Here may be your loop hole.. The Typical motor Assisted Bicycle has no Transmission. They are direct drive with Dry clutch. They have no transmission and allow for no gear selection that a transmission affords. Since they have no Transmission, they do not fit under that ruling of motorized bicycle. They are still motor Assisted bicycles and thus falls under the Federal Regs and makes them still a bicycle. That is..As long as they are less than 50 cc and do not exceed 25mph on level ground. That is how I see it. But then again .. I am no lawyer, but you should speak to one and point these things out to that lawyer. A lot of states have that requirement that as soon as you add a transmission that allows you to change gears, it is no longer a bicycle and is motorized bicycle. Thanks..Enjoy the ride..
Good points, all.

I have an out that is not available to most folks, but it is also a source of a serious whole other set of issues. I'm handicapped, having only one hand (the right), and due to diabetic neuropathy, no sensation in either leg below the knees, and no use of the outer two fingers on my hand. I also have a physician who is a really reasonable guy, and will sign just about any description of a trike (Louisana law says a trike is NOT a bicycle) I come up with as a handicapped access vehicle.

I have almost finalized my leaner semi-recumbent tadpole trike plans - next is to start fabrication.

In the meanwhile, I've been working on a autotrike (as defined in LA law) plan, which will technically actually be a 4-wheeler, but the rear two wheels will be 26 inch bicycle wheels with 2.25" wide road tires, the drive sprocket between them, hubs on a common axle, seperated by 2 inches. The rear end will be pivoting (, and flexing in a vertical plane, with the engine mounted on that subframe and running through a jackshaft. I intend to use a Shimano three-speed hub, and the right wheel will be free-wheeling, with disc brakes outboard on both rear wheels, inboard on both front.. Tadpole trike front end, using 20 inch wheels. Wheelbase is 36 wide by 72 long.

Been debating power options, and think I'll likely go for about 5-6 horsepower, aiming at a top speed around 55 mph. Train-light style headlights integral to each front fender, with omnidirectionally visible turn signals on the apex of each of the headlight fairings (1/2 ping-pong balls with a strong colored LED lighting them internally will suffice), twin rear taillights (again, LED illuminated) at the end of each of the major frame tubes (one inch thin wall tubing in a horizontal S-curve, set on 6.5 inch between centers, ladder crosslinked every 16 inches).

Steering is locked common pivot parallelogram, with a curving headstock. 12.5 degrees caster, 11 degrees ackerman angle on the trailing arm links to the steering, which will be a central bell crank, tie rod to the left wheel, connecting rod to the right wheel. Body will be skinned with spandex/resin over lost foam molding shapes. Basically, I'm aiming at an open single seater roadster type vehicle with a total vehicular weight in the region of 150 pounds. Properly geared and tuned, it ought to be capable of the speeds I'm looking for, with a fuel economy in the neighborhood of 120 mpg.
I want to know about this "impeded traffic flow"... so if they set up road construction you're suddenly not permitted through that stretch of road?

Horses are legally entitled to use the roads, would a horse in a road construction site force everyone to follow at 3 mph?

I was just thinking, since you built the bike, you could write your own manufacturers' certificate of origin. Shoot, if you're a manufacturer, see if you can get manufacturerer's plates-- you see michigan ones all the time on new cars they're testing out etc.
"impeded" is a typographical error on my part. It should read "impede". Sorry 'bout that.

LA code makes no provision for a manufacturers certificate of origin for a motor vehicle by a one-off maker. For custom vehicles such as I've described, you must provide documentation of purchase of all components and materials used in the construction (receipts, salvage certificates, bills of sale for donor vehicles, etc.), provide a makers affidavit, assign a vehicle identification number (which must be permanently affixed to the vehicle), and comply with all applicable vehicular standards. It is truly a monumental pain - like the old Johnny Cash song - "When they got done, the title weighed 60 pounds!"
I've emailed my state rep and state senator to no avail. I've just started riding mine and haven't really ventured off too far from home yet and haven't seen any cops while riding. I even sent the DMV an email asking about the whole registering process and was sent the same information in their reply that I sent to them in my question so that got nowhere. Once it's broke in and all of the little kinks worked out I'll start riding it around town and see what happens. I'll let you know in about a month how that works out.
I pass the police all the time and none has even batted an eyelash yet. *knock on wood* I guess as long as your MB isn't too crazy and motorcycle looking, you'll be fine. Something like an OCC chopper might get their attention, but a normal bicycle with an engine doesn't seem to attract much attention. Especially with the use of a helmet, gloves and protective glasses.
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