What you should know about gas powered motorized bicycles nationwide:
While the federal government has chosen to loosely define gas powered bicycles as exempt from motor vehicle code, many states have created statutes to heavily regulate or ban the operation of these effecient forms of gas powered alternative transportation. We don't know which states these are exactly, but here is what you can read about published by the Federal Government.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Department of Transportation Docket .pdf file
Scooters that are not motor vehicles:
The following scooters or scooter-like vehicles are not “motor vehicles” that must be manufactured to comply with all applicable FMVSS and be so certified to be lawfully imported into the United States:
Scooters lacking seats that are operated in a stand-up mode.
Scooters that are incapable of a top speed above 20 mph.
Electric bicycles with operable pedals, and an electric motor of 750 watts or less, whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weights 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.
What you should know about gas powered motorized bicycles by State:
To learn about the requirements for gas powered motorized bicycles for your state, please visit this Cornell University website. While conducting your own research, please remember that each state is different in their definitions for "motor (or power) assisted bicycle", "moped", "motorized bicycle", "motor driven cycle", and "motor assisted scooter". Using the right search phrase could lead to the proper definitions. At this time, many states do not yet have proper legal definitions for motorized bicycles. If you don't find what you're looking for, it could be benificial to call your state's Motor Vehicle Department or local police station to clarify the requirements for a motor assisted bicycle.
What you should know about electric powered bicycles nationwide:
15 USC Sec. 2085 01/19/04
TITLE 15 - COMMERCE AND TRADE
CHAPTER 47 - CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY
Sec. 2085. Low-speed electric bicycles
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, low-speed electric bicycles are consumer products within the meaning of section 2052(a)(1) of this title and shall be subject to the Commission regulations published at section 1500.18(a)(12) and part 1512 of title 16, Code of Federal Regulations
For the purpose of this section, the term "low-speed electric bicycle" means a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph.
(c) Promulgation of requirements
To further protect the safety of consumers who ride low-speed electric bicycles, the Commission may promulgate new or amended requirements applicable to such vehicles as necessary and appropriate.
This section shall supersede any State law or requirement with respect to low-speed electric bicycles to the extent that such State law or requirement is more stringent than the Federal law or requirements referred to in subsection (a) of this section.
(Pub. L. 92-573, Sec. 38, as added Pub. L. 107-319, Sec. 1, Dec. 4, 2002, 116 Stat. 2776.)
What you should know about gas and electric motorized bicycles in the State of Arizona:
A.R.S. 28-2516. Motorized electric or gas powered bicycles or tricycles, definition
A. Notwithstanding any other provision of this title:
1. A certificate of title is not required for a motorized electric or gas powered bicycle or tricycle.
2. Registration is not required for a motorized electric or gas powered bicycle or tricycle.
3. Vehicle license tax is not imposed on a motorized electric or gas powered bicycle or tricycle.
4. A motorized electric or gas powered bicycle or tricycle is exempt from the provisions of section 28-964 relating to required equipment on motorcycles and motor-driven cycles and from the provisions of title 49, chapter 3, article 5 relating to vehicle emissions inspections.
5. A driver license is not required to operate a motorized electric or gas powered bicycle or tricycle.
6. A motorized electric or gas powered bicycle or tricycle may use rights-of-way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles.
7. A motorized electric or gas powered bicycle or tricycle is not subject to chapter 9 of this title.
B. This section does not prohibit a local authority from adopting an ordinance that regulates or prohibits the operation of motorized electric or gas powered bicycles or tricycles, except that a local authority shall not adopt an ordinance that requires registration and licensing of motorized electric or gas powered bicycles or tricycles.
C. For the purposes of this section, "motorized electric or gas powered bicycle or tricycle" means a bicycle or tricycle that is equipped with a helper motor that has a maximum piston displacement of forty-eight cubic centimeters or less, that may also be self-propelled and that is operated at speeds of less than twenty miles per hour.
What are the requirements for operation of motorized bicycles in Tucson, AZ?
- No vehicle title, registration, insurance, emissions or driver license required as long as the motorized bicycle operates in compliance with the above definition (operated at less than 20 mph).
- An operator must be at least 16 years old to drive a motorized bicycle in the city limits. Operators and passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear a certified helmet.
- Motorized bicycles may be ridden in rights-of-way designated for the exclusive use of bicycles (bike paths) as long as the motorized bicycle operates in compliance with the speed restrictions. They cannot be operated on any public sidewalk, multi-use path, and shared-use path or on any designated pedestrian path in any public park. In addition, they may not be ridden through any underpass or at any other location where signs are posted prohibiting bicycling.
- A motorized bicycle may not carry more persons at a time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
- If used at nighttime, you must have a lamp on the front that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet and a red reflector in the rear visible 50 feet in all directions and 300 feet to the rear. A motorized bicycle may have a lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear in addition to the red reflector.
- Violations of this Tucson City Code are a civil traffic violation punishable by a mandatory minimum fine of one hundred dollars ($100) in addition to any other fines and penalties.
Below is a copy of HB2796, the Spooky Tooth Cycles sponsored Bill which led to the legalization of motorized bicycles in the State of Arizona. This Bill became law September 19, 2006. The new law can be found under A.R.S. 28-2516.
REFERENCE TITLE: motorized electric; gas powered bicycles
State of Arizona
House of Representatives
Second Regular Session
Representatives Prezelski: Biggs, Chase, Lopes, Paton, Weiers JP
amending title 28, chapter 7, article 15, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 28-2516; relating to distinctive vehicles.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 28, chapter 7, article 15, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 28-2516, to read:
START_STATUTE28-2516. Motorized electric or gas powered bicycles or tricycles; definition