Street legal clarification (Alabama)

Discussion in 'Laws, Legislation & Emissions' started by Trixer, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. Trixer

    Trixer New Member

    Alright so I was doing some searching and I found this form..

    I live in alabama and if I am understanding what I am reading correctly to make my bike street legal (Aka a moped or scooter) all I need to have on it is a review mirror, front, and back breaks...

    I have this funny feeling deep down in side, that normal bike breaks aren't going to pass.

    Of course if I want to ride at night I need proper lighting, but I dont plan on doing that...

    Anyways, if anyone has went through the trouble of making one of these beasts street legal for alabama, please tell me your experiences!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2008

  2. kerf

    kerf Guest

    Hello Trixer,
    Always glad to find another Al rider in the fold. You understand the problem pretty well. In Al, if its got two wheels and peddles, it's a bicycle, add a motor, it's a motorcycle. Bicycles are not motorcycles and they can't be made into motorcycles. It's not just brakes, lights, mirrors (you need that anyway) or turn signals, the main issue is registration. To register a motor vehicle, you need a title, which requires a VIN and bicycles "don't got e'm".

    I'm currently trying to get the law amended in Al, to allow a motorized bicycle to be treated as a bicycle (see "Whats Needed?" - this forum). I would welcome your support, PM me if you're interested.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2008
  3. Trixer

    Trixer New Member

    Well, I know you can apply for a custom vechile ven number, and then they give it one...

    I have seen it done with cars and other things of course I have never seen it done with a bike.. well with a motorcycle I have..

    Honestly, if I were you, I would just say its a custome built moped... and apply for a vin.. I know thats possible.

    What I posted you was what the inspector looks for on the vechile before issueing it a vin number
  4. kerf

    kerf Guest

    If you go that route, don't forget liability insurance, complying with EPA standards as well as all other motor vehicle regulations and requirements. If I'm going to jump through those hoops, I'll buy a motorcycle.
  5. Dockspa1

    Dockspa1 Guest

    It's just plain Motor assisted bicycle. Find the local laws on that.
  6. kerf

    kerf Guest

    I wish it were that easy. Unfortunately, Alabama doesn't recognize a motor assisted bicycle. If it is peddle powered only, it's a bicycle, if it has any other power source, it's a motor vehicle. Even if you're under peddle power with the engine turned off, you're on a MV. The police, to their credit, have ignored me so far but you never know about the next one.
  7. Trixer

    Trixer New Member

    ya for the most part the police will ignore me too I think, noone down here really cares..

    however to get your "custom moped" with a vin, title, and tagged it wont cost you more then $100 or so, and 2-3 weeks. If a cop pulls you over just tell him your waiting on the paper work to go through to get it a vin

    RONNY_ODELL New Member

    Alabama Laws.....

  9. aaabluezer

    aaabluezer New Member

    Interesting- I'm outside of Fort Payne, Al. ( Hammondville) Will keep posted- I'm just looking into this and weighing options still.
  10. Email

    Email Member

    In 2001 Bill, to To Amend Sections 32-8-2 and 32-8-31, Code of Alabama 1975

    Check this out.

    Back in 2001 there was a Bill that was going to amend the laws for motorized bikes; however, I have no clue what happened. I am going to begin to gather what info I can to send to our legislature to see what we can do to get this amended, or at least some sort of update. Take a look at it and see what you think of the Amendment?

    The parts from the 2001 amendment were <50CC and a 25MPH speed limit.
    (10) MOTORIZED BICYCLE. A two or three wheeled vehicle equipped with foot pedals to permit propulsion by human power, with an engine rated at less than or equal to two brake horsepower, with a cylinder capacity of less than or equal to 50 cubic centimeters, and capable of a maximum powered speed of 25 miles per hour on level ground while transporting an operator weighing 175 pounds.
    "No certificate of title need be obtained for any of the following:
    "(10) A motorized bicycle."
    Section 2. (a) This act shall be known as and may be cited as the Motorized Bicycle Act.

    (b) As used in this act, the following words shall have the following meanings:

    (1) LIMITED ACCESS HIGHWAY. A roadway upon which ingress and egress are controlled solely by a system of entrance and exit ramps and not by traffic-control signals.

    (2) MOTORIZED BICYCLE. The meaning ascribed in Section 32-8-2 of the Code of Alabama 1975.

    (3) OPERATOR. A person who travels on a motorized bicycle seated on a saddle seat from which that person is intended to and can pedal and operate the controls of the motorized bicycle.

    (4) POWERED SPEED. The speed in miles per hour of a motorized bicycle during propulsion by its engine.

    (c) A motorized bicycle shall be treated as a bicycle under Title 32, Code of Alabama of 1975, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of Title 32, Code of Alabama 1975, which by their nature can have no application. Motorized bicycles are excepted from the definition of a "motor-driven cycle" as provided in Chapter 12 of Title 32, Code of Alabama 1975, and shall not be governed thereby.

    (d) Every operator of a motorized bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the operator of a bicycle under Title 32, Code of Alabama 1975, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of Title 32, Code of Alabama 1975, which by their nature can have no application.

    (e) The operation of a motorized bicycle shall be subject to the conditions stated in Section 32-5A-283, Code of Alabama 1975, relating to the use of protective bicycle helmets for operators 16 years of age and under and the use of restraining seats for passengers who weigh less than 40 pounds.

    (f) The operator of a motorized bicycle shall possess an operator's license pursuant to Section 32-12-22, Code of Alabama 1975, or a driver's license pursuant to Section 32-6-1, Code of Alabama 1975, in order to operate a motorized bicycle upon a roadway.

    (g) A motorized bicycle may not be operated on a limited access highway or other roadway where the minimum speed limit is above 35 miles per hour.

    Section 3. All laws or parts of laws which conflict with this act are repealed.

    Section 4. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.
  11. kerf

    kerf Guest

    The bill passed the House and died in the Senate. Micky and I both wrote our respective State Senators to request the bill be taken back up and received no response.
  12. Email

    Email Member

    Ok now I read that earlier this year others from MB found the link as well and have been talking about how we might get the laws changed over here. Do you think we should focus on the Senate to adopt the old bill or push the House into drafting a new one without the license requirement?

    Current Laws
    Motorcycle Tag $15 / $50 for Custom

    When registering, you'll apply for a motorcycle tag, which carries a fee of $15. You can instead get a personalized license plate for an additional $50.
    To tag and register your scooter or moped, you'll need to visit your local tag office with the following:
    * Original or current title or certificate of origin showing you as the new owner.
    * Your driver's license or photo ID.
    * Bill of sale.
    * Current registration papers, if there are any.
    * $15 registration fee, plus local fees of $1 to $5.
    * Sales tax, based on purchase price.

    One exception to getting a "title" is to get an older bicycle.
    (12) A vehicle designated a 1974 year model or prior year model.

    Also check with your insurance agent to see if your Homeowner's or Renter's Insurance covers your liability. I think Alabama law requires at least $50k of personal liablity. I know I keep an umbrella policy as well. Ah here's some of the numbers.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2008
  13. kerf

    kerf Guest

    Governor Riley has called the Legislature into special secession because they failed to pass the state operational budget. If they can't get that right, this is going nowhere without ten thousand people, across the state, raising he11 about it. I'm not trying to be negative but realistically, these people won't do their job and need to be FIRED. If the voters took the time to find out what goes on in Montgomery, they would probably be down there with torches and pitchforks.

    I'm not going to register as a motor vehicle because it's not, its a BICYCLE!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2008
  14. Email

    Email Member


    I am going to try my first trip to work pedaling tomorrow. I really wish I could add a motor and be street legal, but being in Huntsville - I'm not sure I want to risk adding an engine without ensuring I am legal. I have a good job and a family to take care of (and I am insured in case I am killed by a bad driver). I can not afford to risk my job by tarnishing my record for bucking the system, just because I did not agree with it.

    I am going to give pedaling a shot before I start spending any real money towards this hobby. If I could legally stick an engine on it and have it retain it's bicycle status, I would already have it on order. I may visit the local police precinct and talk to someone there and ask them what they permit or what I would have to do to be legal and enjoy this hobby. If I can get something in writing from them that would cover me for the small trip I would be making from home to work and back (legally it's a defined bicycle route - but try telling those driving environmentally tagged Hummers & individual SUV driver's that), I may pursue getting an engine. If they tell me they actively enforce the letter of the law, and I would be fined for adding an assist engine without doing "yadda yadda yadda" then I may either suck it up and pedal when days permit, or jump through the hoops they require. I want this more for health, than for "saving the planet" and my pocketbook.

    Pros: Encourages Exercise, Saves Wear & Tear on Car, Saves a few bucks each week on gas (at $4/gallon, and 14 miles round trip, 5 days per week, it would take me a little over a year to make the $$ back from the gas savings for the engine cost - 59wks - so it would be ridiculous to suggest a BIG money savings was a factor).
    Cons: Jumping through Alabama's backwards legal stance if a cop wanted to press the issue, I know of two decapitations from the last 8 years near my house (one a drunk walking to get beer, the other I think was a cyclist).

    I had a friend put in prison in Massachusetts for 18 months. He had a pistol in his glove compartment that he "legally purchased", "legally registered", and had a "legal permit to carry it in Alabama." His crime was not knowing the laws in Massachusetts, not knowing it was a felony there, and not knowing MA did not respect the rights AL had granted him (or his constitutional rights). When he was pulled over, he told the cop he had it in his glove compartment. Had he known the laws, I doubt he would have carried it with him on his trip in the state.

    One of my co-workers often rides his bicycle to work and gave me a lot of pointers (he rides 28miles round trip - no assist engine).
    1) Get up early, leave the house 2hrs prior to 8AM
    2) Have Clothes at Work to change into (on days you do drive, & we have a shower down by the weight room)
    3) Keep a lunch in the fridge (on days you do drive)
    3) Leave Early in the Evening - (Worst thing about riding a bike is other drivers at this time)
    4) A strobing front and rear light will get you more respect from traffic (as well as a strobing light on your helmet, the point is to be noticed and seen, and a light on your head helps ensure others know your intention of moving one way or the other)
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008
  15. kerf

    kerf Guest

    For what it's worth, I've passed Jefferson County, Marshal County, Birmingham, Trussville and State Troupers. The only stops have been mine to show off my bike and chew the fat. I don't think they even noticed me. Go ask if you wish but you won't get the answer you want and then they will be looking for you. You can't get a tag because of no VIN, that's what you tell them if anyone ask. Any officer that pulls your chain over a bicycle, isn't doing his job, just look at the drugs, murders, robberies and drunk drivers in your area. Now if you're speeding, all bets are off.
  16. Email

    Email Member

    The ride in today...

    made me see how much you all love your assist motors. The weakest part of my bicycle is me. A tired bicycler is a lot more dangerous than an assist motor, because you can easily fall down in the road if you get too weak. I had to pull off the road and rest four times on my seven mile ride into work today (took me ~50minutes to get here - 5.8MPH would be the average speed stopping and going). It was the inclines that killed me each time, and they were not that steep. The first time I pulled over, I was tired of peddaling. The second time I remembered I needed to breath while riding, and I had not felt that bad since my first day of track (when you throw up near the fence, thankfully I did not but boy did I feel like it). The third time I pulled off and road on the sidewalk, felt like I was going to pass out - then my head cleared. I then made it to the traffic lights and where the highway comes onto the road I was on - thankfully I had all green lights and a long downhill trail. The fourth time was at the long end of it and I pulled off the road and climbed up to the sidewalk and sat with my bike for a few minutes - cause I was hurting. I limped the rest of the way into work on low speed just focusing on the furthest thing I could see in the distance.

    Moral of the story, is I that I made it - and I am not stopping. I am going to ride in on Mondays & Thursdays as that gives me two to three days to rest up. I am dreading the ride home today due to traffic, heat, and uphill battles, but if I did not start riding now (age 31, about 20-lbs overweight for my height) I do not think I would be able to later. I hate being this out of shape, and I am tempted to go electric - since the hub motor is not too noticeable. My greatest wish right now is for our Governor, State Senators, and State Representatives to make this a legal mode of transportation. If they did that, I'm sure a lot more folks would be riding with assist motors. Not many people would go through the punishment I went through today a second time (or brave enough to try it a first time without an assist motor).
  17. kerf

    kerf Guest

    Forget the electrics, forget the police, go Staton chain with a TLE43, one of the quietest, cleanest motors on the planet. At 140 MPG, you're not only saving YOUR MONEY but SAVING THE PLANET. I through that last one in for the tree hugging fools on this forum. Point is, it makes good since and living where you do, you could commute to work 300 days a year by bike. If 20% of Americans could do that, OPEC would be in a bad way.

    If you spend your life waiting for politicians to do the right thing, you're in for a long wait.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2008
  18. Email

    Email Member


    I will look into it. Before legality entered the picture I was wanting the EHO35 from GEBE (they suspended ordering - due to high demand - literally minutes away from pulling the trigger before I decided to look into the laws). It's a 4 stroke engine, less upkeep, and has decent power. I know wavy built a tandem with it, and I thought I could mount it to my bike until I lucked up on a good deal for a tandem bike (so I could get the Mrs riding with me). Truth be known, I'd prefer riding a tandem with an assist motor even if I was by myself. It gives you just a little of a barrier if someone decides to run over you - though I guess at that point it's too late. I stand a better chance of being run over without an assist motor than if I was going closer to the speed of traffic flow.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  19. kerf

    kerf Guest

    Good, but I offer some info:

    GEBE Robin $594

    Staton TLE43 $629

    For the extra $35 you get:

    A chain drive that is bullet proof, 95% of the reduction occurs inside the gear box so the chain is running at low speed.

    A freewheel on the rear hub that allows coasting or pedaling with zero drag, no broken spokes, off center drive rings or belt issues.

    Lifetime gearbox warranty.

    37.5% more power with no oil changes, or valve adjustments.

    A ride so quiet, that you can hear the wind as you go down the road.
  20. Email

    Email Member

    Weighing my options...

    I looked at the chain drives, and they make the 35 with one. The TLE43 is still a 2-cycle and I do not want to have to mix the oil (rather just pull up to a pump and go). Maybe it's a stigma thing, but 2-cycles normally have a bad rap for being noisy (sounds like this ones diff or maybe it's just quite for a two cycle). Granted the price for the 4 cycle and chain drive is $859, it's still fairly visible - but at least it could be used year round (unlike an electric), especially if the weather crew did not get the forecast correct.

    For me I want a stealthy look, it's hard to beat the Crystalyte hubs. The advantage is it does not look like a power assist, it's silent, goes faster than a gas engine, does not require an additional chain or belt drive, and uses no gas - therefore I can bring it into the stairwell at work and charge it up (and an outlet exists there, just checked). I can add another outlet at the house to keep a charge there as well, but I bet I could keep it charged at work with no issues the next day (less than 7 miles from here). The only cost would be battery replacement, and electricity to keep it charged (free to me at work). Plus later on, I could always add in a gas engine and make it a tribrid (gas, electric, pedal). Plus I'm an E.E. not a M.E. so I should be able to design my own electronics. So many options, so little time. I'd love to build a Tesla Turbine for a bike (works off of adhesion & viscosity). Tesla figured you could get 25HP per 1-lb of engine (superb ratio there), and it's super efficient. Back in his day most engines were steam powered, so you had a boiler provide the pressure. If your engine parts could handle the heat and pressure a continuous diesel would provide a very efficient, exuberant mileage per gallon - cars would see a big boost as well.

    Has everyone seen the 376.59 MPG car? They built it back in 1973 out of a 1959 Opal.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008