Sent the following to the Illinois DMV

Warner

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I sent the following inquiry to the Illinois DMV on their web-form. In the past I have gotten fairly quick replies to such inquiries. I sent this on Friday and as of now (Tuesday morning) I have not gotten a response yet. I'm very interested to see what they say. I saw several cops (including a state cop) on my way home from work yesterday. Usually if I see them first, I let off the throttle, idle, and pedal until I'm clear from them....just to avoid any unneccessary hassle. There have been times where they passed me from behind (when I've been going 30+ and not pedaling) and so far I haven't had a problem. I do obey all the traffic laws, wear a helmet/gloves, and have a flashing tail light (and headlight that I use when it's dark or kind of dark). Anyway, here's my letter:

"I have a question regarding motor-assisted bicycles. I want to make sure that I’m legal, and thought that registering it as a moped would be the correct way. I was told by a fellow rider who contacted you (the IL DMV) that he was told the following:

You cannot register a bicycle as a moped at all in Illinois, because Illinois will only register vehicles that have a (standard-format 17-digit) VIN. Bicycles don't have VINs, and you can't make one up--the prefix has to be one assigned to a vehicle manufacturer registered with the federal Dept. of Transportation.

Also, the bearing of a VIN indicates that the motor vehicle qualifies as some current federal classification of motor vehicle (this is the only way it can legally be applied to any vehicle) and a bicycle won't qualify in any federal classifications of motor vehicles. This is why bicycle manufacturing standards are regulated by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, and not the Department of Transportation.

To register a vehicle you either need an existing title, a title record (in the case of applying for a lost title) or a MCO (Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, in the case of a new vehicle). To get a title your bicycle would need a VIN (which you can't get for it) and to get an MCO it would have had to qualify into some federal motor vehicle specification (and bicycles won't qualify in any federal motor vehicle class).

There is a provision in the motorcycle codes that says that "any vehicle which does not have a VIN shall be issued one by the state", but if you ask about this (as I did) the DMV will tell you that they will only do this for vintage and antique vehicles that qualified as motor vehicles at the time of their manufacture.

A motorized bicycle with an engine that falls under the moped restrictions (2 hp or <50cc or 30 mph level top speed) is still considered a bicycle, and as far as the state is concerned doesn't require that you hold any license, or maintain registration or insurance.

Furthermore, Motor vehicle insurance in IL won't cover a motorized bicycle at all, because in IL, auto insurance policies are not required to cover vehicles that are not titled or registered, and you cannot title or register a bicycle.

Please confirm that this is correct – thank you!

Warner
"
 
Well Warner -- I think that it's a GOOD LETTER. Waiting to see some other replys here on up coming posts. I think that some MB riders may say - why rock the boat ? Maybe the boat NEEDS SOME ROCKING in the states such as yours - that seem to leave the MB rider - just kind of hanging - not knowing what to expect - if pulled over.. I was talking with another MB rider here in my small town the other day - he said "that while riding in the next town over the pooolice not only gave him a ticket but also impounded his MB" - THIS CAME AS SAD NEWS !! Just think - maybe your reply back from the DMV will be a positive one - then you can carry a copy with you. Let us know. Happy Riding from - Mountainman
 
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I'm done trying....just going to RIDE now!

Okay...that was my LAST attempt to contact anyone at the DMV downstate. All they ever do is give me the run-around, quote pieces of laws (that I already KNOW, that are NOT applicable to motor assisted bicycles), or direct me to another "division" since they don't really know the answer. I got the following e-mail from the DMV yesterday in response to my questions in the post above:

"Thank you for directing your questions to the Office of the Secretary of State via the Internet.

(625 ILCS 5/1-148.2) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 1-148.2)
Sec. 1-148.2. Motorized Pedalcycle. A motorized pedalcycle is a motor-driven cycle whose speed attainable in one mile is 30 mph or less, which is equipped with a motor that produces 2 brake horsepower or less. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement shall not exceed 50 cubic centimeter displacement and the power drive system shall not require the operator to shift gears.

Motorized Pedalcycles (Mopeds)

A motorized pedalcycle (moped) is a motor-driven cycle. It produces two-brake horsepower or less and has a maximum speed of 30 mph. If the moped has an internal combustion engine, the displacement shall not exceed 50 cubic centimeters, and the power drive system shall not require the driver to shift gears.

A moped driver must have a current, valid driver's license of any classification. A person without a driver's license who wishes to operate only a moped must obtain a Class L license. The owner must have a Certificate of Title and a registration plate must be attached on the rear of the moped.

A moped driver may not carry a passenger unless the moped is equipped with a passenger seat and passenger footrests. If the moped is to be driven at night, it must be equipped with a white light on the front that is visible for 500 ft. and a red reflector on the rear that is visible from 100 to 600 ft. when in front of a vehicle's headlights. A red light visible for 500 ft. also may be used in addition to the reflector.

http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/d...e_plate_guide/standard_plates/motorcycle.html

Should you have additional questions regarding this situation, please contact the Public Inquiry Division at (217) 785-3000. They will be happy to assist you."



Useless carp! So I called the number that is listed there and talked to a guy who genuinely seemed like he understood and wanted to help. When I pressed him, he told me that he was going to have to put me on hold to talk with his supervisor. I was on hold for a SOLID 5 minutes (if not longer) before he came back and apologized for the wait. He basically went back to the same old "moped" and/or "motorcycle" babble. I told him that I'd be HAPPY to register it as a moped, as long as he could tell me HOW to do that without a title or proper VIN to GET a title. He had no answers and finally just said, "We have to go by what the state police say...let me give you their phone number". I told him that I had already spoken with someone from the state police, who quickly blew me off as well (didn't even know the moped laws...I was telling HIM what they were). He tried to send me to the "Specially Constructed Vehicles Division" (which turns out is only ONE woman). I did call and leave a message for her...A MONTH AGO, and haven't heard back to date. So guess what folks? I'm DONE with them. They lead to nowhere and don't have any answers. If pressed, I'm sure their simple answer will be "No". So I'm just going to ride it until I get pulled over and then see what happens. I rode in today.....made it to work in 44 minutes (40 of them were moving, the other 4 were stopped at lights). Not bad for a 18 mile trip. 27mph average speed, 37mph top speed.

Warner
 
Warner - I think that I would just carry a copy of the paper that you received from DMV. Maybe I am wrong here - but what are you lacking - just the title and registration ? Well - glad that you are riding -- Mountainman
 
Illinois Laws

hey warner what part of illinois are you from im from franklin county souther parts. every cop i have talked to mostly county sherrif's around here have all looked at me confused . stating the state will have to issue a vin (but cant) and that id have to put turn signals and brake lights on . so i asked him "if you saw me riding a bike with a motor on it would you pull me over?" he replied "if i did it would only be because i was curious what it was and where i could get one." so im just gonna ride it and if pulled over dont fail the attitude test and i think ill be ok. its not like where baja'n thru peoples back yards ( well im not at least)
 
Warner - I think that I would just carry a copy of the paper that you received from DMV. Maybe I am wrong here - but what are you lacking - just the title and registration ? Well - glad that you are riding -- Mountainman

Hahahaha...yeah, JUST that stuff...title, registration, plates...Hehehehe....nothing MAJOR! Hehe. I'm just gonna' RIDE it.

Warner
 
hey warner what part of illinois are you from im from franklin county souther parts. every cop i have talked to mostly county sherrif's around here have all looked at me confused . stating the state will have to issue a vin (but cant) and that id have to put turn signals and brake lights on . so i asked him "if you saw me riding a bike with a motor on it would you pull me over?" he replied "if i did it would only be because i was curious what it was and where i could get one." so im just gonna ride it and if pulled over dont fail the attitude test and i think ill be ok. its not like where baja'n thru peoples back yards ( well im not at least)

I'm tending to agree. I'm in the northwest suburbs. My commute is from Elgin to Arlington Heights (about 20 miles each way). About 1/3 of my total miles are done right down Route 72, from Elgin into Schaumburg. It only takes one cop with an attitude to ruin the whole thing, though. I was REALLY trying to be legal, but the state apparently doesn't give you any options for that. If I DO get pulled over, it'll be interesting to see what type of ticket they write or what law exactly I'm breaking...


Warner
 
Government and you!

8-27-08
Hi, Warner
Thanks for all the great updates!
Your story is EXACTLY what I'd expect from governmental and quasi-governmental institutions. Sadly, you're stuck with a bunch of incompetent losers running your governmental affairs. Even more sadly, we are ALL stuck with that fact at every level, everywhere! While there are exceptions, the rule is that public "servants" aren't there to serve you; they are there to get a paycheck.
It's apparent to me that your state's officials (and mine in Oregon) simply have not considered the question you're asking. No one can answer you because there is no answer. The "answer" you seek is just some law that has yet to be written by some guy or gal whom you and your fellow citizens elected.
The incompetence and laziness demonstrated by your state's employees is typical, in my experience. Sadly, the dishonesty of not simply telling you they have no idea what to tell you and they don't intend to do any research either, is also typical. As I said long ago on this issue, they will always pass the buck or say "NO" when pushed because there's nothing in it for them to say "YES" or even "MAYBE."
You, like many of us here in this forum, are blazing a new trail and you are, therefore, sticking your neck out a bit.
In Oregon, our legislators specifically addressed the issue of ELECTRIC assisted bicycles. Typically, they missed that opportunity to address the more fundamental issue of a bicycle that is assisted by ANY kind of mechancial device, regardless of the power source. Governments REACT to 'problems' rather than anticipating them. MBs weren't common when they wrote the electric bike laws so they didn't think of it.
If you go through the lengthy list of laws in Oregon relating to bicycles, you have to shake your head in amazement at the utter waste of time, money and resources revealed therein. No one ever stopped to look at the big picture or ever tried to come up with an overall approach that made some sense - or even what in the world they were TRYING to accomplish.
It's just a patchwork of conflicting junk that some legislator dreamed up in response to some issue s/he was fired up about at the moment.
There are laws about scooters, 'pocket' bikes, electric bikes, bikes, mopeds, motorcycles, Segways (Yes, there are specific laws about that!) etc. The laws aren't consistent and don't make any sense if you're trying to see an overall pattern.
For example, there's no speed limit on a bicycle and adults don't have to wear a helmet but on an electric bicycle, you can't exceed 15 mph and everyone must wear a helmet. Why? The only reason I can think of to require someone to wear a helmet is to force them to try to protect themselves from injury. If that's the reasoning, then why does it only apply if you're going slowly on an electric bike and not when you're hauling tail on a regular bike? It doesn't make any sense.
The simple fact is this: There is no good reason. Someone got fired up about electric bikes one day and wrote a new law about them that failed to consider the existing laws about regular bikes. Everyone else in the legislature went along with it because they're all too lazy, incompetent and stupid to actually look carefully at what they were voting on that day!
A rational person would have looked at all the laws relating to bicycles and re-written the entire mess for a consistent approach. But, the motivation probably wasn't to produce a consistent, logical approach. Instead, the motivation was most likely to satisfy some constitutent who was pressing the issue.
That's the way the laws are. Since they're written by people and people are flawed, the laws are flawed. You can do this stuff all day long with any issue you want. Try the Federal tax code, for example. Sadly, the list is endless.
I looked at Arizona law recently and it was the best I had seen about MB. It basically tells you what a motorized bicycle is NOT.

http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/28/02516.htm

(Even then, it fails to consider the possibility that a bike will be powered by something other than gas or electricity.)
You might want to copy it and send it to your local representative or senator and ask them to introduce the same thing in your state. Other than that, you're just out there on your own and you may well end up getting a ticket, losing your bike, etc.
Also, FWIW, IMHO, my guess is that the faster you ride, the more likely you are to have a problem with a cop. In other words, SLOW DOWN!

Good luck and thanks for sharing!
Steve G.
Grants Pass, Oregon
 
I look at it this way. We have this controversial law.
This gives cops reason for anything.
Out here Mopeds and Scooters can be ridden without a plate so it's cool.
But I cannot ride the trails.
When I see a cop I look genuinely tired.
I usually see a cop around Cherry Creek area and I half pedaled my 26 mile trip over there so I actually AM genuinely tired.
Cops leave me alone because they see me as a bicycle rider with a helper engine.
They see that I'm not depending SOLELY on my engine.
I also ride my quiet Titan Cronus over MOOP2 on the trails so that helps a lot.
Yes there are exceptions but if you give a cop a reason to pull you over,if he thinks for even a moment you are doing something dangerous then you may get heat.
Me? My engine REALLY IS used to help me pedal. Sometimes when I'm not too tired I'll shut her down and pedal some.
I get my excersize that way.
If a cop see's you tearing down the trail without pedaling and you look fit enough to pedal then your gonna get heat.
Just don't give them a reason,ride responsibly,ride slow and respect everyone.
 
A question: I read somewhere that Elgin's ban is specific to 'Motor-driven cycles.' Since Illinois has a separate, specific classification for 'Motorized Pedalcycles,' (and, a motorized bike should fit that classification,) wouldn't this be an 'out' for anyone riding them in Elgin, were you able to get your bike registered as such?
 
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