Street legal clarification (Alabama)

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Legal Bike in the Works

I got a 1973 Schwinn Deluxe Twinn Tandem on order today. As I pointed out earlier, a 1974 & earlier model bicycle should help skip having to get a title as a motor-driven cycle. I am trying to get the seller to give me a "Bill of Sale" for it, but he is hesitant.

This is due to 32-8-30, and 32-8-31:
8-32-30
(a) Except as provided in Section 32-8-31, every owner of a motor vehicle designated a 1975 year model, and all models subsequent thereto which is in this state and which is required to be registered under the motor vehicle laws of this state and for which no certificate of title has been issued by the department, shall make application to a designated agent as herein defined for a certificate of title to the vehicle.
8-32-31
(12) A vehicle designated a 1974 year model or prior year model.

After I motorize it and obtain the necessary 50k liability insurance for it, I believe I am in my rights to get a license plate for it and drive it upon the streets.

Next I'll be debating if I should get a trailer tag for the Burley Piccolo, or if it's illegal to attach it.
 
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As I get time, I'll try to point out all the laws pertaining to us.

A Bicycle with a motor attached (engine shall not exceed 150cc, nor shall the engine exceed 5 brake horsepower, & total riderless weight shall not exceed 200-lbs) is a MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLE in the State of Alabama. Attached literally means attached, so regardless of whether it is in use, or non-functional your motorized bicycle is a MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLE - switching it off, removing a belt, or disabling an engine changes nothing. To make it not a MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLE, you must DETACH the engine completely.
(34) MOTOR-DRIVEN CYCLE. Every motorcycle, including every motor scooter, with a motor which produces not to exceed five brake horsepower nor to exceed 150 cubic centimeter engine displacement, and weighs less than 200 pounds fully equipped, and every bicycle with motor attached.

You do not have to have parking lights.

Your license can be revoked.

Parents or guardians can get in trouble.

It can not be ridden on the beach.

Must have lights to be driven in the dark. as required also here

Must be registered with public safety and you must have a license.

Must wear shoes and a helmet.

Must have adequate breaking.

$5 examination fee...
 
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Just an update

Nothing new to add to Alabama's laws; however, we do have a seat in the House Legislature that has opened up and I have made up my mind on who I would like to see fill the position. Phil Williams was quick to respond to e-mail despite being in the middle of a special election. If I get his permission, I would like to copy his response.

Here is a copy of my e-mail to him:
While in office, one of the things I hope you could change is the State's stance on obesity, fuel conservation, and cheap transport for the citizens of Alabama. One of the things that stands in the way of all of the above is Alabama's laws concerning motor assisted bicycles which defines any modification to a bicycle such that it is powered by something other than human power to be a motorcycle and thereby subject to all the laws of a motorcycle (turn signals, obtaining a VIN, DOT approved tires, license, etc). As the laws in other States can testify, there is a great difference between motorcycles and motor assisted bicycles which limit the power output on the assist engine and enforce maximum speed limits.

As you may be aware, one of the largest burdens being placed on our governments is healthcare, and the greatest concern for healthcare is that of obesity. There are studies which show that active exercise even stunts the degredation of alzheimer's and other bodily diseases. Face it God did not design us to be sloths, but to work with our bodies. The majority of individuals own at least one air conditioned vehicle and drive it to or from work every day. A rare few individuals share the same streets as cars, semi-trucks, SUVs, etc. on bicycles. They do it for a few reasons, one is to "stay" in shape, secondly it's to save on gas (when prices hit around $4 per gallon, the interest in cycling greatly increased). When I choose to begin riding my bike 7 miles into work it was to get in shape and reap the benefits of using the money I would normally spend on gas for my lunch. It was extremely difficult to reach what I would today consider a safe speed (I am no Lance Armstrong, nor are most of our citizens), and any inclines were a burden to pedal against. Being an engineer, I looked for an alternative and found that many states permit citizens to motorize their bikes; however, ours is behind the curve and currently does not. I believe that if the laws were revised, many would choose to reap the benefits of exercise, fuel conservation, and cheap transport that motor assisted bicycles promise.

The most fuel efficient car struggles to get over 50MPG; however, gasoline powered motor assisted bicycles average upwards of 225+MPG at speeds up to 30MPH (making obese citizens into Lance Armstrong performers) http://www.bikeengines.com/info.htm. These very capable small motors still need the individual to get going and climb inclines. Though in the long term it's not the gasoline powered engines that shine, it is the electric engines, and the promise of other small engines running off of alternative fuels like compressed air. Those who can afford the luxury fuel efficient cars are doing their small bit for the environment, but thankfully a motor assisted bicycle is relatively cheap to build (~1k) but get more exensive as you progress to the electric kits http://www.electric-bikes.com/bikes/performance.html. At least one individual has a business building a motorized trike (three wheeled bicycle) http://goblinmotors.com/, and there are numerous websites devoted to people who build their own as hobbies http://www.motoredbikes.com/.

As a cyclist and a citizen of Alabama, I would hope you could devote some of your time into seeing what can be done to permit use of this great technology to bring not just the benefits but the joys of cycling to those who are not physically fit in addition to creating an viable transport alternative for those who live relatively close to their jobs. It concerns me that policies of older times are blocking the way towards all citizens being able to afford a healthy fuel efficient modes of transportation.

His reply to mine (I asked for permission to post it):
I love your email and couldn't agree more with you. Fitness has been a part of my life and Lisa's life forever and I love having a check up and hearing the Doc say, "if I could buy your blood pressure I would buy it!" I THINK THIS COMES FROM EFFORT, NOT GENETICS.


Health care discussions really frustrate me too! Why do we not have more competition to BCBS in Alabama? Why doesn’t our state incentivize us to take out an HSA by making it fully state tax deductible? Also, why is it that our leadership seldom mentions this? I have so much to learn but I am up for the challenge.

I lived in Europe when I was in college and for 2 years I didnt own a car and biked everywhere. The world is different over there and it would not be practical for us to bike everywhere here unless we do see major legislative changes.

I need a few favors!

1. Please keep the ideas coming to me if I am elected. I will need lots of fresh ideas; I have many, but have encouraged everyone to email me so I can keep a living spreadsheet.
2. Please vote for me on July 14th!
3. Please tell your friends to vote for me on the 14th. We will not change our community, state, or country unless we all get out of our comfort zone. Just voting and thinking that is the end of our responsibility is not enough anymore. Now is the time we must all stand up, if we don't we are in BIG trouble. I think 2010 is a crossroads as serious as any we have faced as a country. I do not mean to be overly dramatic, but I really feel this way. If I did not I would not be running for office.
 
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Wow talk about a grand awakening! Someone at Craigslist pointed this out to me today, a loophole in the registration portion of a motored cycle! Apparently he went to court over it and won. I would love to know more! It's the underlined portion that says if you've got a AL Driver's license, you're exempt from having to register it, and the second half detailing what a motor driven cycle is (still subject to all the other things required of a motor driven cycle). Time for me to re-read all the laws I read last year and see what I still have to do to be street legal (and possibly get a kit on order!).

Thanks a ton! Blagh from Craigslist!

Section 32-12-22
Registration; operator's license generally.

Every person, except a person holding a driver's license issued under authority of Chapter 6 of this title, before operating any motor-driven cycle upon a public highway in this state, shall register it with the Director of Public Safety and procure an operator's license. Operators' licenses shall be issued under and be governed by the provisions of Chapter 6 of this title; except, that such a license shall be issued to any person 14 years of age and older if such a person can satisfy the Director of Public Safety or an examining officer that he is competent to operate a motor-driven cycle with safety to persons and to property.
(Acts 1949, No. 652, p. 1006, Sec.3.)
Note the exception in the law
"except a person holding a driver's license issued under authority of Chapter 6 of this title"
Registration and obtaining a motor-driven cycle license is only required for 14 and 15 year old persons. Having an Alabama drivers license exempts registering the motor-driven cycle or having the separate motor-driven cycle license.
Definition of a motor-driven cycle.

Section 32-12-20
Definition; parent or guardian not to authorize or permit violations.

It is unlawful for any person to do any act forbidden or to fail to perform any act required by this chapter. The parent of any child and the guardian of any ward shall not authorize or knowingly permit any such child or ward to violate any of the provisions of this chapter. As used herein, the term "motor-driven cycle" shall include every motorcycle weighing when fully equipped less than 200 pounds and every bicycle with motor attached and every motor scooter.
(Acts 1949, No. 652, p. 1006, Sec.1.)
Most but not all 50cc Scooters weigh less than 200 pounds but some do. Make sure you purchase a Scooter weighing less than 200 pounds. You do not need to register or insure it in Alabama. Bicycles with motors attached are considered motor-driven cycles. As long as you do not exceed 200 pounds in weight, 5hp or 150cc you do not need to register or insure it. Nothing in the Code of Alabama requires retaining operational pedals.bothered about not having a tag on my motor-driven cycle since.
 
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M

Matt Graves

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I called the Alabama Department of Revenue, Inspections Division in Montgomery this morning 4/5/17 @8:45am. I explained that I was putting a small assist motor on my bicycle and was wondering if I needed to apply for an Assigned VIN to register it. I was met with laughter and told that it was not necessary and it's still just a bicycle. She told me to just ride that bicycle!
 
T

Ticketed in Alabama

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I called the Alabama Department of Revenue, Inspections Division in Montgomery this morning 4/5/17 @8:45am. I explained that I was putting a small assist motor on my bicycle and was wondering if I needed to apply for an Assigned VIN to register it. I was met with laughter and told that it was not necessary and it's still just a bicycle. She told me to just ride that bicycle!
Good luck with that. Maybe things are different in Montgomery, but I got a ticket for riding an unregistered vehicle. The police told me it was no longer a bicycle once I put an engine on it, but a motor driven cycle and all the laws regarding lighting, registration, etc. that applied to any other vehicle on the road would apply to it.
 

Barnfresh

Active Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2011
Messages
250
Wow talk about a grand awakening! Someone at Craigslist pointed this out to me today, a loophole in the registration portion of a motored cycle! Apparently he went to court over it and won. I would love to know more! It's the underlined portion that says if you've got a AL Driver's license, you're exempt from having to register it, and the second half detailing what a motor driven cycle is (still subject to all the other things required of a motor driven cycle). Time for me to re-read all the laws I read last year and see what I still have to do to be street legal (and possibly get a kit on order!).

Thanks a ton! Blagh from Craigslist!

Section 32-12-22
Registration; operator's license generally.

Every person, except a person holding a driver's license issued under authority of Chapter 6 of this title, before operating any motor-driven cycle upon a public highway in this state, shall register it with the Director of Public Safety and procure an operator's license. Operators' licenses shall be issued under and be governed by the provisions of Chapter 6 of this title; except, that such a license shall be issued to any person 14 years of age and older if such a person can satisfy the Director of Public Safety or an examining officer that he is competent to operate a motor-driven cycle with safety to persons and to property.
(Acts 1949, No. 652, p. 1006, Sec.3.)
Note the exception in the law
"except a person holding a driver's license issued under authority of Chapter 6 of this title"
Registration and obtaining a motor-driven cycle license is only required for 14 and 15 year old persons. Having an Alabama drivers license exempts registering the motor-driven cycle or having the separate motor-driven cycle license.
It appears the loophole may have been closed: https://www.billtrack50.com/BillDetail/614304
Click on "Bill Text" to see changes.
 
G

Guest-32704

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

http://www.4strokes.com/tech/EquipmentChart2006.pdf

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!
Hay i recomend talking to a person fron dirt legal they register things basicly in difint states were it is legal and the ylu can use it in your state
 

Herman Klutz

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Dec 25, 2016
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Hay i recomend talking to a person fron dirt legal they register things basicly in difint states were it is legal and the ylu can use it in your state
When you fill out the paperwork, in most states you also sign it under oath. In most states a false statement under oath is a felony.
 
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