Pennsylvania law regarding motorized bicycles.

License Required & Registration Required

  1. There was a test case about motored bikes here in Erie some time ago. The law is that a motorized bicycle is considered an "assisted bicycle". It is not a moped nor is it a motorcycle. It requires no registration, insurance, tittle, inspection, nor anything else not required for a bicycle. It is a gray area of the law and it may (probably will) in time be changed or sorted out or classified differently, and then require some sort of registration, etc. As we all know, the laws can change at a moment's notice.

    As of this minute in Pennsylvania an assisted bicycle is a bicycle, period, with the exception that the operator must have a valid drivers license. It must conform to all bicycle laws; stop for red lights, stop signs, use hand signals for stops and turns, have front (white) and rear (red) reflectors, a bicycle may not be driven on sidewalks, etc. It can be used on any path designated for bicycles, use roadways that are legal for use by bicycles, and it must be under 50cc engine displacement with a top speed not to exceed 30 mph. Motorized bicycles may not be used in any Pennsylvania State Park (Pa. Department of Environmental Resourses rule).

    I hope this clears things up. Don't be surprised if you are stopped and ticketed however. Many local police have no idea that this is the law, and some seem to think they ARE the law, instead of enforcers of the law. Even some local magistrates may be ignorant of the law and may try to interpret the law differently. If that happens to you, your only recourse will be to hire a lawyer and fight it. Good luck, the law is quite ambiguous in this area, as it is in all gray areas.:ack2:
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
    Carl Walichnowski likes this.

  2. 210061741

    210061741 Guest

    Erie Pa Motorbiker

    I will say i have been watched closly on several occasions in erie.
    My MB looks and sounds like a Motorcycle. That was initally when i first started riding. Now the police don't seem to care about me too much.
    They know my schedule to work and i even had a bicycle cop sit at a corner and wait for me to pass. Allways on my lunch time. I have even rode my mb up and down state street. One day right next to a cop. I believe if you don't cause trouble and you ride as safly as possable things will be ok. If we end up with a bunch of teenaged skateboarders riding around doing wheelies to show off they will probably bann the MB's. In todays economey and energy crunch when i pull up to the pump and people make a comment i tell the 150mpg and fun as ****. Too bad it's getting cold out. I'm gonna ride mine till it snows. This has been my main transportation for a couple of months now.
    Not 1 ticket yet. I just wonder about Millcreek and Westlyville, sometimes there stricter than erie.
    Carl Walichnowski likes this.
  3. Shouldn't be a problem. I ride anywhere I like (except the Peninsula, now. Darnit) including Millcreek, Fairview, Wesleyville, Lawrence Park, etc. with no problem. As I said in the post, as far as Pennsylvania law is concerned you are riding a bicycle with the one exception of needing a drivers license.
  4. buck

    buck Member

    Pennsylvania laws seem to contradict themselves. I am glad to see that the Erie case came out in favor of the biker. Is there a link to any information on the case, or more information about an "assisted bicycle"? I think that many Pennsylvania riders would really appreciate any paperwork to carry with them while riding that would be in their favor. Thanks / Buck
  5. The only contradiction is requiring a drivers license to operate a bicycle. As long as a motored bike is regarded as an assisted bicycle all is well. The catch is a moped is licensed as a motor vehicle with a moped registration and tag, but is the only motor vehicle in Pa. that is not required to pass an annual vehicle inspection. Since there IS NO inspection criteria to pass, no VIN on our motored bikes, no manufacture's safety certificate issued with our vehicles, and no tittle issued at purchase, we fall through the cracks. Either they make up inspection criteria for mopeds we must pass and make us get an inspection on our "home builts" then issue us VIN numbers and titles so we can license them as mopeds, which they can do, but don't really want to do, or just let us remain as "assisted bicycles, which they seem to want to continue to do, at present. It is considered a bicycle, which suits me just fine, thank you. The problem is some scardy cats are afraid they will be stopped and can't just ride and enjoy. They jump through hoops, spend a lot of money, wait for months, take their bikes to special inspection stations (few and far between), and eventually are issued a moped registration. They are going to ruin it for the rest of us by causing the state to stop looking the other way (not wanting to notice us), and actually officially notice we exist. Once they do that we will all have to get inspected, acquire a tittle, get issued a VIN, register our rides as mopeds, buy insurance, and loose our right to ride on bike paths. The silly little scardy Nancys will ruin it for all the rest of us eventually. Fools can't just leave well enough alone.

    I will try to get some info on the case for you, Buck. It set a precident for the state, so should cover any problems you might run into.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
  6. buck

    buck Member

    I was just checking in to see if any information about the "Erie test case" has been found yet? Thanks / Buck
  7. I'm sorry buck, I came up empty. I was erroneously informed that the bike shop Wheels had helped the biker in that case. Not true, the biker was on his own and Wheels won't even go the distance to find which District Justice heard the case. I understand it was heard in Millcreek, an Erie suburb. I know the local police here have backed off bothering us about our bikes since then and most of them seem to enjoy interacting with me, waving and kidding with friendly banter. Others (the stupid ones who don't like anything different) are still giving me the evil eye when we cross paths.

    When I attend our local motorcycle rally each year I get a lot of interest from the bikers, mostly very positive, some studiously ignored my MB, with just a few youngsters making derogatory remarks.

    I haven't given up looking for the information, but I feel stymied as one outside the legal system trying to dig up this legal precedent. If I had a few lawyer friends, I'm sure doors would open for them and they would be able to find it in no time.
  8. 210061741

    210061741 Guest

    Hey Mike

    My wife has Rick Fillipi as her lawyer.
    He used to be Erie Mayor.
    My father actually rents from his father too.

    I bet if i get him involved He can help us out.

    The police don't bother me.
    Never been stoped.

    If they ever try to take my bike away i'll fight it.

    The only other thing i'm wondering is if we can get some kinda insurance coverage.
    That way worrse case senerio they could only fine you for registration.
    And i don't see how they could do that.
    The insurance fine is the big one.
  9. buck

    buck Member

    I was in a bicycle accident when i was 12 years old, and my parents homeowner insurance covered bicycle accidents at that time. 40+ years ago.
    I have read my homeowners policy and they are still covered. / Buck
  10. I was in an auto-bike accident recently and my auto insurance covered my medical injuries (up to $5,000.00 under Pa. limited no-fault law). The damages to my bike will be covered by the insurance of the motorist at fault. I'm still waiting for the $200.00 and change damage to my MB from her insurance. There were several witnesses, so there is no question that it was her fault. Even as a pedestrian hit by a car you are covered by your auto insurance for medical costs up to $5,000.00 in Pennsylvania. The motorist at fault's insurance is responsible for any medical costs over $5,000.00. If you have no auto insurance, then your homeowners insurance may cover you.

    If you can get Rick Fillipi to search pro bono (for free) for the case heard in Millcreek several years ago it would give us a copy of the ruling to carry showing a legal precedent if we are stopped by police.
  11. 210061741

    210061741 Guest

    Your'e right.

    What a great idea.

    I'll have to work on that one.

    Anyway there were several officers at you accident.

    You we Legal.

    Do you know the name of the person.....That would make it easy to find the case.
  12. No. I never heard it. Wheels might have it. I talked to a couple of lawyers on another team at trivia tonight. They said it is very unlikely there is any record of a hearing in front of a District Justice, especially one that was dismissed. They suggested we carry a copy of the vehicle code section concerning MBs. That sounds like an okay idea to me. I wish I had better news.
  13. 210061741

    210061741 Guest

    Mike and everyone

    I was pulled over in erie pa this morning.
    The officer pulled me over....
    Asked for my Drivers Licence.
    Which i gave him.
    He then asked me if it was registered.
    I told him NO.

    I will tell the wole story in a new thread.

    Anyway he didnt write any tickets and said i could peddle away.
    He said it cost $9.00 to register. and for me to register it.

    I told him about the case and that is was peddle assist he didnt really respond.
    Just said it's only 9.00 to register it.

    He never said he was giving me a break or letting me go.
    I would think he would have wrote me a ticket if it wasn't leagal.

    Now i don't know what to think.

    I need the name of the person who went to court.
    I can look up the case in the Magistrate by DJ and by Name.
    It is Public Record but i need the persons name to find out.
    In milcreek i would guess Paul Manzi was the DJ.
    He handles most of the milcreek cases.

    I don't know what to do now.
    I'm gonna try to get insurance.
    I'm gonna keep riding.
    If i get fined i guess i'll have to pay Filippi and go to court.

  14. buck

    buck Member

    I agree that the policeman would have given you a ticket if he was positive that you were breaking any law. Many policeman don't know all of the laws and are willing to "let the courts decide". Which in this case has already happened.

    Now is the time to turn a negative experience into a positive outcome for everyone. Pray for guidance then proceed:

    1. Contact the "wheels" fellow ASAP for the persons name & case information.

    2. Contact Rick Fillipi and tell him what has happened to you, and
    the "Millcreek Case". Most good lawyers don't charge for initial

    3. Contact Paul Manzi and see if he remembers the case, or the person

    4. Check your homeowners insurance, or call your agent about bicycle liability
    coverage. Copy the policy cover page and cary it with you. It may also
    help to get a letter from the agent stating that bicycles are covered for

    5. Don't give up!!!!!!! Keep everyone informed, if you need help - don't be
    afraid to ask. Many members are a long way from erie, but they will do
    what they can.

  15. The cop was acting like a jerk. He probably got out of bed on the wrong side or had a fight with his wife and felt like hassling someone and you were "it". I wouldn't worry much about insurance at this point, I think it is a moot point until we are required to get them registered and most insurance companies won't touch MBs with a ten foot pole. Keep us informed.
  16. 210061741

    210061741 Guest

    That worries me.
    And i called the notary today.
    She said first i need a re-constructed TITLE and VIN.

    Unless i have an MSO or a TITLE we know the circles this will go in.

    Darn it.

    Guess i'll be calling the news if i get fined.

    I would love to register it but i don't want run in circles.
  17. 210061741

    210061741 Guest

  18. 210061741

    210061741 Guest

    Seems like the easiest way to get legal in PA would be to Purchase a Motored Bike from another State that allready has a Title and a VIN number.

    Then it will be an easy $9.00 registration fee.
    You allready would have a title.

    Can Anyone think why this wouldn't work?
  19. I don't see why it wouldn't work, except I don't want to purchase another MB. I went through the PA DOT web site (took hours and only added to the confusion) and they seem to have deleted the assisted pedal-cycle section entirely, so I called them and the person I talked to had no idea what I was talking about. She said she will turn my questions and information over to the research dept. and I should hear back from them within 4 business days. I guess we will find out what's up then.

    It is possible to get a VIN number issued, get an inspection at a special inspection station, get a title as a special vehicle issued, and then register it as a moped in Pennsylvania, but it ain't easy. It takes a lot of time, some money, and no small effort. We might also have to install a generator or alternator and a battery to run lights, if I read the regs correctly. If I have to go through all that, I think I'd rather sell my MBs and just buy a small motorcycle. Bah, humbug! The whole thing SUX!

    Staton is working on a hybrid drive system using their chain drive gearbox with both a DC electric motor/generator and a gas engine for propulsion. As I understand it, the electric motor would drive the bike until the battery is depleted, then you would start the engine and both drive the bike and turn the motor/generator to recharge the battery. That would work as a charging system for a battery to run the required lighting, but it isn't available just yet and will be quite heavy and, I'd guess, fairly expensive. I suppose David Staton has seen the writing on the wall and is preparing for the inevitable. The extra weight and complexity will hurt performance and fuel mileage, but it would seem to be at least a solution.
  20. 210061741

    210061741 Guest

    Mike and Everoyone

    If any good comes outta this it will be we get to the bottom of it.
    This is the first i was ever stopped and i was stopped for no reason at all.

    I would be more than happy to register it and insure it.
    I'm gonna get insurance for sure irrigardless.

    Hopefully i won't have any more problems.
    I'm starting to think a police officer is monotoring these forums and waiting for a chance to strip us of our rights.

    It's just funny when you think just a few months ago we rode on state street in the Mass ride right next to a police officer and he smiled.

    This isn't right and isn't fair.

    must bee too many people stirring the pot.

    We new this would happen someday.

    I certinly have to do some homework and find that case.

    The Erie Police must want to pop this can of worms back open.

    I will fight the best that i can thats for sure.
    And if they make me fight i will become even more determined to get these MB's Titled.
    And when i do i will be starting my own Dealership on Peach Street.

    We aren't bothering anyone at all.

    They shouldn't be bothering us.

    There is plenty of serious Crime in Erie for the police to stay buisy.

    I hope they leave me alone.

    My next step will be to the MEDIA.
    I met John Rupolo of 12 news a wile back.
    He said he'd love to do a reality show about me.

    We will see how the folks of Erie take to Police Officers harassing non affending bicyclist in there spare time.

    I hope it dosen't have to go there.
    I hope they just leave me alone.

    But if it goes there so will I.