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Old 11-16-2013, 09:29 AM
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biknut biknut is offline
Motorized Bicycle Elite Member
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Dallas
Posts: 6,280
Default Re: Custom built, legal and self-propelled 'car'

Originally Posted by Rezso View Post
I wasn't sure what forum to post this in, so I apologize if it needs to be moved.

I'm curious about building something that would legally qualify as a motor vehicle and comply with tag/inspection standards. It would be just a fun side project, but if the end result left me with a street-legal and practical commuting vehicle, that would be a really awesome bonus.

If you've created something like this, can you share you thoughts and experiences? Or if you just have some good ideas for what parts to use or information about legalities etc, I would love to hear those as well.

My only real guidelines would be budget. I would want to build something that is capable of making short commutes(30 miles or less), costs less to run daily than a normal car or truck, but can be insured and is compliant with transportation laws.

ANY advice or links is greatly appreciated!
Welcome to the forum from Dallas. Since you're on this forum I assume you're asking about a 2 wheel vehicle.

If absolute legality is your goal with license plates, and insurance, you can't get there starting with a bicycle in Texas. Texas has no means of titling a bicycle because bicycles lack a VIN, and there's no way of generating one.

However a motor bicycle generally is considered a bicycle in Texas, as long as it can be considered not self propelled. Not self propelled includes most china girl style bikes, since they need to be pedaled away from stops. If it has to be pedaled from a stop, it could be argued in court that it's not in fact self propelled. In Texas the law says all motor vehicles are self propelled. So far this defense has never been tested in court. The Texas DPS recognizes this distinction, and because of this considers motor bicycles to be riding in a gray area of the law, and leave it up to local localities to decide how to enforce the riding of motor bicycles. So far no one anywhere in the state is being harassed by law enforcement.

If you still require registration, you're going to need to start with a bike that has a VIN. That will have to be a moped, or motorcycle. I have all three.
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