Minnesota Don't Ask/Don't Tell


Active Member
Sep 30, 2006
This popped up on my Google alerts- but we all know how I feel about it.....

Q: Can a resident of Minnesota who has had their driver's privileges revolked legally operate an electric bicycle? If so, what are the requirements? The two cities they would be operated in are Hopkins and Minnetonka. Do they have any restrictions for these bicycles? Thank you.

Minnetonka, MN


The two cities will have to be contacted and asked independently by you. However, a partner of mine recently answered this same question for someone. Here was his response (so you can see what the law says and why).

The answer is truly dependent on where your "electric bicycle" fits in the law, so we will have to determine which of the following definitions fits. Statue 171.01 sb 40 "motorcycle means every motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, including motor scooters and bicycles with motor attached, but excluding tractors and motorized bicycles." Because of the nature of your question I am pretty sure you are not talking about a motorcycle.

Subdivision 41 states a "motorized bicycle means a bicycle that is propelled by an electric or a liquid fuel motor of a piston displacement capacity of 50 cubic centimeters or less, and a maximum of two brake horsepower, which is capable of a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on a flat surface with not more than one percent grade in any direction when the motor is engaged.

Motorized bicycle includes an electric-assisted bicycle as defined in section 169.01 sb 4b." Now according to 169.01 sb 4b "electric-assisted bicycle means a motor vehicle with two or three wheels that: (1) has a saddle and fully operable pedals for human propulsion; (2) meets the requirements of federal motor vehicle safety standards in CFR 49 section 571.01; and (3) has an electric motor that (i) has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts, (ii) is incapable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of more than 20 mph, (iii) is incapable of further increasing the speed of the device when human power alone is used to propped the vehicle at a speed of more than 20 mph, and (iv) disengages or ceases to function when the vehicle's brakes are applied." I am guessing that this is the type of "electric bicycle" you are talking about.

With that in mind we go to statute 171.02 sb 3 which in part states, "A motorized bicycle may not be operated on any public roadway by any person who does not possess a valid driver's license, unless the person has obtained a motorized bicycle operator's permit or motorized bicycle instruction permit from the commissioner of public safety."
So, no...... a person whose driver privileges have been revoked may not operate an electric bicycle.

Sgt. Curt S. Mowers
Public Information Office
MN State Patrol
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Thanks for clarifications

Appreciate the time you took, Sgt. Mowers, to put this information up.

I honestly tried to find the statutes on-line and got as far as the definition of motorized "bike." After that, I eventually turned to drink. There has got to be better way... but you solved the research problem.

Interesting side light: We had one of our local dodgers who had one too many and kept crashing his pedal bike and was apprehended on third crash. Apparently, the thoughtful officers trunked the bike and took the dude home, which I thought was a a nice thing to do and a touch of the "old days." Apparently they dispensed with a citation for whatever.

Appreciate the information. l pedal in Winona, 'cept when going up my hill.


Active Member
Sep 30, 2006
"Scooters" belong in the streets.....

from Mankato, MN


Yes, scooters belong on the street
Devices not warmly welcomed by city officials

By Dan Nienaber
Free Press Staff Writer

Mark Lachmiller understands why he gets some strange looks when he's riding his motorized scooter from his pawn shop on North Riverfront Drive to the Wagon Wheel Cafe a little less than a mile away.

What he's not sure about is whether people are squinting because they think it's weird to see a middle-age man on a scooter or because they're wondering why an adult is flaunting the law by cruising down the street on the contraption.

For the record, Lachmiller knows he looks odd, but only because the trend hasn't caught on yet. And what he's doing is legal.

"I go to the post office, I go to Hy-Vee, I go everywhere," he said. "I know it looks kind of goofy, this gray-haired guy going down the alley."

A state law passed in 2005 made it legal to ride motorized foot scooters in generally the same places as bicycles. The scooters have to have a surface to stand on, although they can have seats, and their wheels can only be a maximum of 10 inches in diameter. Their top speed can't be more than 15 mph.

Mini motorcycles, such as pocket rockets, don't qualify.

The minimum age for riding the scooters is 12 years old, but anyone younger than 18 is required to wear a helmet. Neither a license for the driver or vehicle registration for the scooter is required.

Beau Tobin and Kale Drengler, both West High School freshmen, have been riding their scooters since the law was changed with prompting from Gov. Tim Pawlenty. It was pretty common a couple of years ago to get scolded by adults wondering why they were riding their scooters on the street, they said.

Their response was, to sometimes confused reactions, that the street was the only place they could legally ride them. The motorized scooters cannot be ridden on sidewalks, except when entering or exiting an adjacent property, according to the law.

Lachmiller used to sell the scooters at Quality Pawn until a change in federal pollution laws put an end to his supply source in 2006. The gas-powered scooters usually have two-stroke engines and the Chinese company that built what Lachmiller was selling no longer complies with emissions standards.

A company called Go-ped makes scooters that do meet the new exhaust requirements. The only authorized dealer in the area is John's Repair in Le Sueur. John Jones, owner of the business that also goes by Innovative Sporting Products, said he sells about 40 Go-ped scooters per year. Depending on model and engine size, the scooters generally cost between $450 and $1,400.

He said he has customers in Le Sueur who use the scooters to travel to school and work.

Commuters aren't his only customers. A few farmers take the scooters out to the field in their tractors and use them to get home at the end of the day, Jones said. Campers also like to pack scooters into their recreational vehicles and use them to get around campgrounds.

Walk-in business has slowed since he started selling Go-peds four years ago, about two years before the new state law made them road legal. Jones suspects potential buyers are concerned the law could change again, or new city ordinances will restrict their use.

That possibility has been considered. North Mankato Mayor Gary Zellmer has made his concerns about the scooters known at City Council meetings. He believes they're too loud and dangerous and has considered cracking down on the scooters through the city's noise ordinance.


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it can't last...the kids (of all ages) will ruin it...besides, it's (the scooter thingy) certainly not any kind of universal solution.

oops...the above is my opinion only.


Apr 24, 2007
they outlawed (or aggresively restricted) those in colorado, just a few short months after their arrival. kids were getting squished.

"Colorado State Law prohibits motorized scooters/motorized skateboards from being operated on public roads or on public sidewalks.

Unless the skateboard has a seat, a motorized skateboard is defined as a "skate or similar device." If the skateboard has a seat it is defined as a motorized bicycle."
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