New rules for e-bikes in Pennsylvania.

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by motorbikemike45, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Until just a few days ago, the rules for "assisted pedalcycles"(power assisted bicycles) in Pennsylvania were the same for gas and electric powered bikes. Now some meddling boneheads have gotten new rules for electric bikes, while the rules for gas engined bikes remain unchanged. Gas continues with 50CC or less, under 1.5 horsepower, automatic transmissions only, driver's license required, and speed on a level surface with no wind of 25MPH or less. No registration or insurance required. The new rules for e-bikes has a max speed of only 20MPH. Just proves that some idiot has convinced the state assembly that new regulations were needed for e-bikes, when the old existing rules covered gas and electric bikes just fine. D**n meddling fools, when will you learn to leave well enough alone?!?

  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry to hear it. But I'll bet they're not actually 'meddling fools' as much as they are folks who know just what they're doing. Which is to help keep electric bikes from seeming like a good alternative to the auto in the minds of people. Keeping 'em kinda lame.

    I'm not sure just what makes me optimistic, but I just have a feeling that a sizeable number of people are on the verge of preferring transport that is smaller, simpler and less expensive than a car.

    And when 'big auto' starts seeing sales slipping, then they'll start twisting gov'ts arm. Then we'll see even more regulation, and even legislation, aiming to choke small alternatives to death.

    This has been going on for a long time, of course. But it feels as though a new chapter in the battle is coming.

    And these new regs in PA might be the beginning.
  3. butterbean

    butterbean Well-Known Member

    I don't know where you're getting your info, but under 50cc is still considered a moped in pa, and requires registration and insurance. I live in lebanon and ride a 98cc unregistered and uninsured. But the cops don't bother me. Any gas powered vehicle driven on a roadway in pennsylvania requires registration and insurance, regardless of displacement or top speed.
    Barnfresh likes this.
  4. You are mistaken, butterbean, though it is a widely believed error. A moped in Pennsylvania requires a VIN number and a "certificate of safety" from the manufacturer, but is the only registered motor vehicle in Pennsylvania that does not require an annual safety inspection. In fact, there are NO safety inspections guidelines or requirements for inspecting mopeds. It is possible to get a moped registration and license for a motored bicycle by getting the state to issue a VIN number for it, getting a state safety inspection from a "special" inspection station(the same ones permitted to issue a safety inspection sticker for hot rods and home built autos), etc. It is difficult and takes months and it is completely unnecessary, as we are already covered under the law.

    There is a section in the Pennsylvania motor vehicle code that covers "assisted pedalcycles". We are permitted to ride any roadways/bikeways any bicycle may ride. The law is specific; 50cc or less, 1.5 horse power or less, automatic transmission/motor engagement, max speed on the flat with no wind of 25MPH or less, a driver's license is required for the operator, and no registration or insurance is required. In all respects a legal "assisted pedalcycle" is considered to be a bicycle except for requiring a driver's license and being banned from all state parks. We must obey ALL laws, regulations, and rules for bicycles, including not riding on sidewalks unless designated as bikeways, stopping for red lights, stop signs, etc. The rule banning all unregistered motored vehicles from state parks is a rule from the Department of Environmental Resources, the department that runs state parks. They banned all unregistered motor vehicles because there has been trouble with people running unlicensed scooters, microbikes, etc, so they just banned all unregistered motor vehicles. The cops are not bothering you because there have been many court cases and cops in most areas know about the law. Should they pull you over and discover your engine does not meet the under 50cc rule, you can be arrested for operating an illegal motor vehicle and your bike can be confiscated.

    My whole point is that we really didn't need new regulations covering e-bikes, because we were already permitted, the same as gas powered bikes. I do ride in a local state park on my e-bike with the knowledge of the rangers, as long as I ride on the right side/verge of the road where bicyclists customarily ride. They won't allow me on the bike, hike, run. and skate path(multiuse trail). They threw me off the park with my gas powered motored bike.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  5. butterbean

    butterbean Well-Known Member

    To register a motorized bicycle as a moped, you must pass an enhanced vehicle inspection and apply for a title. Most people use the bike's serial number as the vin. I know several people that have registered their bikes as mopeds in PA, using this process. Once registered, it requires a driver's license and insurance. No annual inspection. The enhanced vehicle inspection is for home-built vehicles to prove they meet the DOT requirements to operate on roadways.
  6. Yeah, that's what I said above. You do NOT NEED to register a motored bicycle as a moped, but you CAN. Why bother?
  7. butterbean

    butterbean Well-Known Member

    You have your view of the law, I have mine. What I've read on the dmv site tells me that any vehicle under 50cc with two wheels being driven on the roadway is legally considered a moped. You don't believe that's what the law says, but I do. Rather than get into a pointless debate, i'll agree to disagree.
  8. Barnfresh

    Barnfresh Member

    "Pennsylvania law currently classifies electric-assist bicycles as motorized pedalcycles or mopeds and therefore requires them to be licensed, titled and insured.* However, E-Bikes do not have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and therefore cannot be registered in the Commonwealth.* I have heard from constituents who have been stopped by law enforcement and even cited because their E-Bikes are not registered.* It is clear to me that some clarification is needed."............
  9. butterbean

    butterbean Well-Known Member

    Yeah, the whole argument of not having a vin is ridiculous. When you pass the enhanced vehicle inspection, you send the form in with a title request. The title request form has a spot for a vin number, that you have to fill out. What do you put there? Perhaps the number that's ALREADY ON THE BIKE? The SERIAL NUMBER, maybe?
  10. Bzura

    Bzura Member

    I gotta agree with butterbean on this one 100%. He knows his PA laws on this matter. I looked into this extensively last year, and he is spot on.

    There was a time, not too long ago, where a motorized bicycle or scooter under 50cc fell into the same classification as a bicycle. It's different today.
  11. Barnfresh

    Barnfresh Member

    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  12. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    Well it seems there's a speed limit for ebikes, follow it or risk a ticket. Don't fed regs on ebikes over ride state regs? Fed regs say it's a bicycle and cannot be treated like a motorized vehicle.
  13. butterbean

    butterbean Well-Known Member

    State law can override federal law when the state law is stricter than the federal law, but not the other way around. Many state laws impose heavier penalties for violations than federal laws. In this case, pennsylvania classifying ebikes as mopeds is stricter than the federal law classifying them as bicycles, so it's allowed.
  14. butterbean, you ride an unregistered and uninsured motored bicycle and the cops don't bother you. Have you ever wondered why? It's because in Pennsylvania an "assisted pedalcycle" is LEGAL. Otherwise they would stop you and cite you. Young guys ride unregistered motored bikes all over Erie without being bothered by the police, BECAUSE THEY ARE LEGAL! There is a section in the Pa. motor code book that covers this and it is NOT the section covering mopeds! Believe whatever you wish, but the proof is you are not being stopped everytime the cops see you. I rest my case.
  15. butterbean

    butterbean Well-Known Member

    No, they are not legal. I have been pulled over for tags, I just don't get bothered where I live now because the cops here don't care. They let a guy ride a factory built moped with no tags. They don't know the laws on motorized bicycles. They've asked me what size my engine is, and also what the limit is because they don't know. I've researched the law extensively and I'm NOT going to debate with you over it. I've already told you I will agree to disagree. You can have the last word if you wish, but it's not going to change anything. I rested my case awhile back. You're just blowing hot air.
  16. Barnfresh

    Barnfresh Member

    Hey MBMike can you point out or direct us to a PA vehicle code, DMV, Penn DOT, State police law or stature that actually says an assisted pedalcycle is legal? I can find nothing. Thanks
  17. olivaman

    olivaman New Member

    I would like to know what section of Title 75 you are looking at. I'm a police officer and have never heard of an "assisted pedacycle". Title 75 Section 102 has all the definitions of vehicles and yours is not listed. I'd like to know what I missed. And for the reason we don't stop people on motorized bicycles is simple, we don't need to waste our time.
  18. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    Now there's a cop that deserves a raise. Also has my vote for Sheriff.
  19. mcdonrf

    mcdonrf New Member


    Hi Mike!

    I'm about ready to register a motor bike in PA. I'd like to think that it is a power assisted bicycle. The bike meets the specs of a moped (48cc gasoline engine) by what PA DMV writes as of 12/2014...

    DEFINITION: A motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals, a motor rated no more than 1.5 brake horsepower, a cylinder capacity not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and a maximum design speed of no more than 25 miles per hour, or an electric motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals and powered by an electric battery.
    CRITERIA: 1. Engine may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.
    2. Engine may not exceed 1.5 brake horsepower rating.
    3. Operable pedals required.
    4. Automatic transmission required.
    5. Design speed may not be more than 25 miles per hour.
    6. Does not require inspection.
    7. Moped plate issued.
    8. Annual registration fee is $9.
    9. No helmet or eye protection required for driver.
    10. Class C, Non-Commercial Driver's License required.
    December 2014 - over -
    A pedalcycle with an electric assist is defined as a vehicle weighing not more than 100 pounds with two or three wheels more than 11 inches in diameter, manufactured or assembled with an electric motor system rated at not more than 750 watts, and equipped with operable pedals and capable of a speed not more than 20 miles per hour on a level surface when powered by the motor source only. The term does not include a device specifically designed for use by persons with disabilities.
    Pedalcycles with electric assist are considered a bicycle and do not require titling, registration or insurance. The operator does not require a driver's license but must be at least 16 years of age.


    With this in mind can you think of a good reason not to register? Seems like a lot of trouble to have a little fun on neighborhood streets.

    Thanks, Rick


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  20. easye

    easye New Member

    I just spoke with PennDot (2/22/16). My intentions were to get my (48cc automatic clutch) bike registered and was looking for some guidance. They specifically told me that it cannot be registered as a Moped. I'm a little confused because it sounds like there are some registered bikes out.... I'm only guessing that they are registered, just not as a Moped. Assisted Pedicycles do not need to be registered or licensed according to Penndot. This information agrees with motorbikemikes explanation above.... however, I would like to get something in writing from the local or state police. If anyone has anything in print that would be great. PennDot was not even able to provide something in writing, because it was only in their "notes section". I wish something in writing could be made available.