Motorized bikes in Virginia.....

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by Joeeastman, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. Joeeastman

    Joeeastman New Member

    Hey guys and gals, I was pulled over the other day on my way to work, actually I was stopped, the lady cop was already out of the car and heard me coming down the street. She steps out into the road and puts her hand up, signaling me to stop. "You have I.D.?" "absolutely", I respond. "whats this about?", "uhh, that thing is illegal", she says. "uhh, are you sure about that?" blah blah blah, anyways, I realize that she has the badge and Im just a 33 year old maintenance guy at a hotel who knows nothing about the law. She tries to prove to me that my bike is illegal and shows me the statute on her laptop. Well in Virginia, those Pocket bikes are actually labeled as "motorized bicycles" and are not legal on the road. She tells me that I must pedal it the rest of the way to work. So, i pedal off. Outta sight, outta mind, I start it up a ways down the road and arrive at work, ****ed off no doubt. I did my research and emailed the Virginia beach police dept, explaining what had happened and get answers to my questions so that this issue could be laid to rest once and for all. Well, here is the result, scroll down to the bottom and read from bottom up:

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: "Joe Eastman" <>
    Date: Feb 7, 2012 5:29 PM
    Subject: Fwd: RE: FW: Gas powered beach cruiser bicycle

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    From: "RJ Smith" <>
    Date: Feb 7, 2012 4:48 PM
    Subject: RE: FW: Gas powered beach cruiser bicycle
    To: "Joe Eastman" <>
    Cc: "Scott E. Wichtendahl" <>


    Based on your responses and providing that you are riding on the right hand side of a city street (not Atlantic Avenue in summer), you are operating a legal moped. I have copied Sergeant Scott Wichtendahl on this e-mail in case you have any additional questions, he is a Traffic Supervisor in charge of our Crash Team.

    Lieutenant Richard J. Smith

    Executive Aide to the Chief of Police

    Virginia Beach Police Department

    Municipal Center, Building 11

    Virginia Beach, VA. 23456

    Desk (757) 385-4514

    Fax (757) 427-9163

    From: Joe Eastman []
    Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 3:35 PM
    To: RJ Smith
    Subject: Re: FW: Gas powered beach cruiser bicycle

    Lieutenant Smith,

    First off, I just want to say thank you for getting back with me so promptly on this matter. Below are the answers to your questions:

    I am 33 years of age

    The motor is a kit motor at 49cc EPA certified

    Seat height is approximately 32 inches from ground up

    I have a DOT headlight and tail light mounted and working

    My helmet is DOT approved with face shield

    Max speed of this bike is around 25 to 30 mph on a good day

    Wheel size is 26 inches

    Working brakes

    I hope this information is adequate and I look forward to hearing from you, thank you again for your help!

    Joe Eastman

    On Feb 7, 2012 2:31 PM, "RJ Smith" <> wrote:


    I need some additional information to answer the question.

    How old are you because you must be 16?

    How large is the gas powered motor because it must be less than 50 cubic centimeters?

    How tall is the seat because it must be a minimum of 24" tall?

    Are you riding between sunset and sunrise, if so you need a headlight and a tail light?

    Are you wearing a DOT approved helmet and eye protection?

    How fast are you traveling because if you exceed 35mph you are considered a motorcycle?

    Lieutenant Richard J. Smith

    Executive Aide to the Chief of Police

    Virginia Beach Police Department

    Municipal Center, Building 11

    Virginia Beach, VA. 23456

    Desk (757) 385-4514

    Fax (757) 427-9163

    From: Police Web Inquiries
    Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 9:59 AM
    To: RJ Smith
    Subject: FW: Gas powered beach cruiser bicycle

    Please see email below.

    From: Joe Eastman []
    Sent: Monday, February 06, 2012 6:53 PM
    To: Police Web Inquiries
    Subject: Gas powered beach cruiser bicycle

    Hello, I was stopped today on my way to work by an officer. She said that my gas powered beach cruiser was illegal. She stated that if I were seen by her in the future riding this bike, I would be ticketed. I have researched this prior to this encounter. DMVs site seems to indicate this as being a moped, and the city code also states that "Gas powered wheeled devices" are permitted on the road with restrictions outlined in chapters 7-59.1 through 7.59.3 in which I have not violated. I pass officers all the time with no issues. I also have other friends that use gas powered bicycles as their mode of transportation with no problems with local law enforcement officers as long as they follow the rules of the road. These gas powered bicycles are not like the toy "pocket bikes" which I believe are described as motorized bicycles in some other city ordinances in Virginia. These motor kits are sold as "street legal" in almost all states, the exception being California in which case, a kit can still be used as long as it meets CA EPA requirements. Could you please provide me with some insight pertaining to this matter. I am fairly confident that these gas powered bicycled are perfectly legal, however, I want to be able to ride this without worrying about whether or not I am breaking the law. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


    Joe Eastman

    Well, there ya have it. Hope this helps those in my area.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2015

  2. Joe Eastman
    Thank you for posting this. Have not been on the site in a while just graduated from nursing school in May 2011 passed my nursing boards in July first try. Been working. We were wanting to go to our favorite place to ride the Tampa bay area and also a new area Destin Florida. But we see they have changed the laws there so that its illegal to ride a motorized bike anywhere that is public. I think from what I have been reading is state wide in Florida.

    Does anyone know the basis for this negativity against these bikes? What has brought on these drastic changes? We are in Tennessee and still enjoy riding here.

    what exactly are the politics behind these decisions againist motorized bicycle?

    I will post this also as a seperate post because if we find the reasons behind this we maybe can solve this misjustage
    Rbenn likes this.
  3. Rbenn

    Rbenn New Member

    You answered my question to the exact location but it's 2015 now.

    golden eagle bike 002.jpg Do you have to have a helmet riding a motorized bicycle in Virginia Beach / Norfolk if it's a 35cc engine ?

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2015
  4. 2old2learn

    2old2learn Member

    Well done. You took the high road and as usual, You were rewarded with civility and professionalism. I find that is always the best way to interact with Law Enforcement.
  5. Gene

    Gene Member

    I agree wholeheartedly Job Well Done !