Okay, how about this....

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by umeboshi, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. umeboshi

    umeboshi New Member

    The legal struggles of you guys have pretty much scared me away from gas bikes. However, I am looking at a cool Spookytooth electric cruiser. I really like it...it has no visible motor as far as I can tell. Seems to me only a cop who's a psychotic nightmare would pull you over on something like this.

    Sooo... any horror stories here about cops and electric bikes?? :) :) If so, I might as well buy a Yamaha and go all legal!

    Comments appreciated.


  2. darwin

    darwin Well-Known Member

    The cool thing about electrics is theyre perfectly legal if under 750 watts. If there was an electric that could do about 50 miles on a charge for under a 1000$ id be in the market for one but they dont exist yet.
  3. JinbaIttai

    JinbaIttai Member

    You live in a state that has vague, obscure laws about motorized bicycles, like most of the rest of us. I'm assuming you live in Mississippi. This is what I dug up on the state laws:

    Sec. 63-7-51. General vehicle brake equipment requirements:

    If you look at part (2) it says:

    (2) Every motorcycle, and bicycle with motor attached, when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with at least one brake, which may be operated by hand or foot.

    This is just some random law, but there is hope, at least the phrase exists in the laws. Another good sign is that the laws never define what a bicycle is supposed to be or not supposed to be. What I mean, for example, look at how Hawaii law defines a bike:

    ..."Bicycle" means any vehicle propelled solely by human power, upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels...

    Since they spelled out what a bike is supposed to be, and that it must be powered solely by human power, Hawaii MBikers are screwed (there is more story than this for Hawaii bike laws, but it serves as a good example).

    You are lucky that your state laws don't get particular. If you decide to take the plunge, if I were you I'd print Sec. 63-7-51 out, maybe half-print size and laminate it in plastic and keep it on the bike at all times.

    Perhaps this news article will cheer you up:

    Why not simply email the college professor in the above article and ask him? His contact info is at the bottom of this link:
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2015
  4. umeboshi

    umeboshi New Member


    Thank you. That was a tremendously helpful post and article. Thanks for your research.
    I just emailed Rob. Maybe he can tell me how he's getting along with Madison, MS police!

    Yes, I am in Mississippi.

    Thanks again,

    Umeboshi うめぼし
  5. DougC

    DougC Guest

    You need to email the motor vehicle dept in your own state and ask them about the legality of putting an engine on a bicycle.

    Don't assume anything, different states use different terminology and have different laws. Some allow everything, some prohibit, some have requirements or restrictions. Asking the one place whose job it is to know is the only way you can get the correct answer.
  6. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    Thing is.... people at the motor vehicle dept in Mississippi don't know a thing about motorized bicycles. I got one guy telling me that I couldn't ride a regular bicycle on the roads!! The next says it's ok... the next says it's impossible to register... and the next says it sounds like a good idea!

    In MS, the law defines a motorcycle as anything self-propelled by any motor, gasoline or electric (if it moves when you're not pedaling, it's a motor vehicle). So a city or state cop would give you a problem, but then you'd have to go to court and argue your side.... which has already federally declared an e-bike as a consumer product, and not a vehicle, so long as you're traveling at 20mph or less.
  7. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Thing is, that federal definition is for civil code purposes only, and was mainly enacted to end the turf fight between the DoT and the DoC. Commerce won, sort of. It has zero bearing on state code criminal or traffic code infractions.
  8. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    Just sayin'... based on the way the federal and state laws are written, I would pretty easily be able to argue my case to a judge. There should be no reason to fear an e-bike in any state, because somewhere in front of a judge or jury... you will win. It might take you an appeal or two, but I feel like it'd be worth it.