CA Laws

Rockwells

New Member
Nov 1, 2009
5
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Quincy, CA
I know that this same question is probably out there some where, but maybe we can make this new thread more understandable for us all about the CA Laws for having a Gas Powered Bike.


I have a 66cc(80cc) Gas Powered Motor mounted on a Mountain Bike, here is my story. If there are any questions, please ask.


I've been stopped by Police Officers 4 times in this small town(Quincy, CA) that I live in(2 CHP, 2 Sheriffs).

The first stop(9/15/2009) was a CHP that notified me that I needed a rear light on the back, he also let me know of some other rules that I should follow for having a motor on the Bike, everything turned out good and he clearly stated that I was legal for Highway use.

The second stop(9/15/2009) was 20 minutes later by a Sheriff Officer doing his normal check abouts, he also clearly stated I was legal for on road use.

The third stop(10/21/2009) was by a different Sheriff Officer who just wanted to check out what the Mountain Bike had, he said I was good for on road use.

The forth stop was today(11/1/2009) by a CHP Officer, who probably woke up on the wrong side of the bed while him wife was in the next room with his friend. For a small town that I live in I could tell that he was new here(city cops) and didn't understand the ways of how things are here(they get bored and nick pick things). This Officer claimed that he "Thinks" that the Mountain Bike is classified as a Dirt Bike, and that it is not tended for Highway or on road use.

I'm just wondering why 3 Officers of California say that the Bike is fine and that I should have no worries, but then have this 4th Officer come along and start pulling crap out of his... well you know.

I guess for those of you reading this, the town I live in is small, up in the Northern California area, I mean, we are in the Mountains. The 2 closest cities are 80 miles to the East & West of us off of Highway 70. What I'm trying to get at is, what is legal and what is not legal. What to do when 1 Officer says something vs something that another Officer says.


.wee.
 

EsQueue

New Member
Jul 25, 2009
24
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Long Beach, CA
I forget where I got the laws but It says nothing about the cc of the engine but it should be 2 hp or less, have an automatic clutch that doesn't shift.

I know that they also said that the bike has to have 2 or 3 wheels and the driver must have a m2 license. The bike also needs a moped license.

That's all that I can think of off the top of my head. Print out the correct laws along with it's code and show it to the next cop who thinks that you are riding illegal.

The reason behind all the confusion is that I can go on the dmv site and show you one place where they say that you don't need to be registered and another where you need to be registered along with having an m2.
 

Scotchmo

New Member
Jun 23, 2009
217
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Los Osos, California
...
The first stop(9/15/2009) was a CHP that notified me that I needed a rear light on the back, he also let me know of some other rules that I should follow for having a motor on the Bike...
For daytime driving, the rear light must be a brakelight. You also need a horn and mirror. For night driving, you also need a headlight and tail light.

Here is a site that does a good job of explaining all of the equipment requirements if you can pick them out from the motorcycle requirements: CHP Form 888

Besides the equipment requirements, there are some registration requirements. But it is a one time $19 thing similar to registering a bicycle. No inspection required.

The reason behind all the confusion is that I can go on the dmv site and show you one place where they say that you don't need to be registered and another where you need to be registered along with having an m2.
Can you tell me where it says that you do not have to be registered?
 

Rockwells

New Member
Nov 1, 2009
5
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Quincy, CA
The reason behind all the confusion is that I can go on the dmv site and show you one place where they say that you don't need to be registered and another where you need to be registered along with having an m2.

Do you think I should check with DMV and see what they say and get all information on hand to confront the Officer when he stops me next, cause I'm still going to ride the thing. The Officer that stopped me today(11/1/2009) claimed that I can't ride my bike on the Highway, lucky for me though we have County Roads to and from town.
 

EsQueue

New Member
Jul 25, 2009
24
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Long Beach, CA
Can you tell me where it says that you do not have to be registered?
I'm sorry but most likely got mixed up with CVC Sec. 406 which is for an electric motor on a bicycle. Then it can be riden as long as you are 16 or older without a license or plate.

Do you think I should check with DMV and see what they say and get all information on hand to confront the Officer when he stops me next, cause I'm still going to ride the thing. The Officer that stopped me today(11/1/2009) claimed that I can't ride my bike on the Highway, lucky for me though we have County Roads to and from town.
This is all the california motorcycle handbook says about where a moped CAN NOT be ridden.
tWo-Wheel Vehicle oPeratioN. The basic rules of the road contained in the California Vehicle Code apply to alltwo-wheelvehicles which include motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, mopeds, or bicycles with a motor attached. Minibikes, tote-goats, trail bikes, and similar
vehicles may fall within the definition of motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized bicycle. If any of these vehicles are operated on a highway, they must meet applicable equipment, registration, licensing, and operation requirements, if required. Any person registering a motorcycle is required to obtain a Class M1 or M2 driver license prior to operating the vehicle. Do not ride a moped on a freeway, bicycle path or trail, equestrian (horse) trail, hiking trail, or recreational trail unless that path or trail is on or next to a road or permission to use the trail or roadway is granted by local law.
 

bairdco

a guy who makes cool bikes
Aug 18, 2009
6,549
253
63
living the dream in southern california
putting aside the motor part of your bicycle for a minute, california law says that bicycles must have a headlight and a tailight if operated at night. that's been in effect for 20 years or so.

the rest of it, i can't help you with. because you live in a hick town with sherrif roscoe p. coltraine.

i live by the beach, and haven't gotten hassled yet.

"yet" being the key word.
 

Rockwells

New Member
Nov 1, 2009
5
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Quincy, CA
Lol, hick town. Is it because we are way up in the mountains that you think I live in a Hick Town? The Sheriffs here don't really care about the bike, it's mainly the CHP Officers. Our town is a training ground for the screwed up Rookies and city cops. There's family's thats been here for ages and we get bugged by the newbs for small crap.
 

doubledice

New Member
Nov 6, 2009
130
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california
here in merced county it says as long as your 16 and over you dont need a California drivers license for a moped bike and you need a helmet and a few minor traffic rules but its common sense. i haven't had any police run ins yet knock on wood :) but then again im off to school before they are even getting there cars ready haha
 

GearNut

Active Member
Aug 19, 2009
5,104
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San Diego, Kaliforgnia
Yeah, some cities have thier own interpretations. One city near me, La Mesa, does not allow MB's at all. You can't even pedal it in a bicycle lane with the engine off and stone cold to the touch. Removing the engine's chain is about the only way to avoid a ticket or impound, and you gotta do that before the popo messes with you.
 

MotorbikeMike

Dealer
Dec 29, 2007
477
3
18
Sacramento
Hi fellow Californicans. I have ridden and sold in Sacramento for over 10 years. There are threads here on the legal issues with Motorized bicycles (some that I posted). Go here to see that you need a plate CA Department of Motor Vehicles- Special License Plates go to the Moped section.

Now DOT class helmet is required for the Moped, (the plate you are supposed to have), so this is most likely your Helmet requirement. We do know helmets are Mandatory.


Yes if you search the code an M2 or better is required by law, but not well known among officers.

One thing is clear, no matter what a local cop says, nor what a DMV worker says, nor your neighbor, or friend, or what anyone believes that they read on internet, IF you end up going before a Judge, for any reason, they will easily find the things I have told you.

DOT Helmet
Moped Plate
M2 (or better)
Ride like a bicycle, use bicycle lanes


I know most of us do not do all of these things, but clearly this is the law here in CA. Along with;

"less than 30mph on level ground."
"capable of human propulsion i.e. pedals"
"single cylinder"
"automatic transmission not more than 2-speed and incapable of being manually shifted"
"2 or 3 wheels"
"less than 2 Horsepower"
IF you ride at night front (white) and rear (red) lights and there are specs as to how bright.

ALSO something most motorbicycles either lack, or were removed, is a full set of bicycle reflectors. That is, wheel reflectors (latest versions are "white" or "Clear", earlier versions were red in rear, amber in front) White or Clear front, and red rear, also red reflectors in the pedals.



Jury still out on daytime lighting, BUT, I believe that we need brake light! (big secret, don't tell anybody!)

There are gray areas, but, much is clear, tho not widely known by officers, nor DMV, but I know I will not be wanting to risk what a Judge can figure out.

Mike
 

Scotchmo

New Member
Jun 23, 2009
217
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Los Osos, California
...

Jury still out on daytime lighting, BUT, I believe that we need brake light! (big secret, don't tell anybody!)

There are gray areas, but, much is clear, tho not widely known by officers, nor DMV, but I know I will not be wanting to risk what a Judge can figure out.

Mike
Rather than repeat your complete post, I'll just say that yours was a fairly good explanation of what is required to be legal on a gas motorized bicycle (406a) in California. You also need a horn and mirror.
 

Scotchmo

New Member
Jun 23, 2009
217
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Los Osos, California
I think horns & mirrors are only needed on mopeds & scooters...
From the California vehicle code:
24015. (a) Motorized bicycles shall comply with those federal motor vehicle safety standards established under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (15 U.S.C., Sec. 1381, et seq.) which are applicable to a motor-driven cycle, as that term is defined in such federal standards. Such standards include, but are not limited to, provisions requiring a headlamp, taillamp, stoplamp, side and rear reflex reflectors, and adequate brakes.
(b) In addition to equipment required in subdivision (a), all motorized bicycles operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a mirror as required in subdivision (a) of Section 26709, a horn as required in Section 27000, and an adequate muffler as required in subdivision (a) of Section 27150.


From CHP form 888:
Motorized Bicycle: Compliance with Federal Safety Standards (24015). Motorized bicycles shall comply with those federal motor vehicle safety standards established under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 which are applicable to a motor-driven cycle, as that term is defined in such federal standards. Such standards include, but are not limited to, provisions requiring a headlamp, taillamp, stoplamp, side and rear reflectors, and adequate brakes. In addition, all motorized bicycles operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a mirror, a horn, and an adequate muffler as required by the Vehicle Code.

Under California law, a GAS motorized bicycle IS a moped. It does not matter if one was a converted bicycle and the other is factory built with a motor. They have the exact same equipment and licensing requirements.

20mph electric bicycles are different but that is not what we are talking about.
 

thatsdax

Member
Feb 22, 2008
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www.thatsdax.com
I do not have any motorized bikes. Mine are all Motor Assisted Bicycles. I only own and ride Motor Assisted Bicycles. I see the law posted there is for Motorized bikes. You must have an engine larger than 50cc and your bike must not have any pedals. If you do not have pedals on your bicycle and or a motor larger than 50cc, then it is motorized and no longer motor Assisted. Make sure your Engine is less than 50cc, and make sure it pedals. The primary mode of propulsion for a MAB are the pedals. The motor is there only for assist or to assist the rider. That is all. Once you removed the ability to pedal or place a motor larger than 50cc on to a bicycle, it then becomes motorized and its main mode of propulsion becomes the motor and not the pedals and thus becomes motorized. At least that is the way it is here in Colorado and many other places around the country. I would hope it is the same there in CA. You can search the net and see there are classes for Motor Assisted bicycles, mopeds, Scooters, and Motorcycles. A motor Assisted bicycle is much less than a moped. When you buy a moped, it comes with a horn, Brake light, Headlight, DOT lights, DOT reflectors, and more. Mopeds are much more than a bicycle or motor assisted bicycle. Mopeds have pedals only for starting the motor and are not used for propulsion or not used for its main mode of propulsion. A moped is not even close to a bicycle or motor Assisted bicycle and are not in the same class. A bicycle is bought and typically only comes with DOT reflectors. That is it !! No headlight, no tail light, no brake light, no horn, no blinkers. When the owner places a motor less than 50cc on to his bicycle, it is motor assisted, and is still a bicycle. I have no idea why anyone would want to class a bicycle with a moped, scooter, or motorcycle as being motorized. Which it is not. Bicycle with motor assist is still just a bicycle. Motorized means that it the only mode or primary mode of propulsion is the motor. It is motorized. Not Motor Assisted. Motor Assisted means the main mode of propulsion is not any motor, electric or gas, but the motor is only to assist the rider in pedaling and is still a bicycle. The main mode of propulsion of a motor assisted bicycle are the pedals. Period ! This is not true with anything motorized, such as a goped, moped, scooter, motorcycle and the like. What I ride and what most of us own or at least most of the people I know ride bicycles. And I am sticking to it . I do not ride a motorized bike. Not even close. Thanks... And enjoy the ride....
 
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rockvoice

New Member
Apr 6, 2009
356
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glendale california
Thats all great but , It is different in Cali and what Motorbikemike stated a few replies ago is "DEAD ON" and at the same time of all the cops that ive dealt with only one asked if i had an M2 endorsement , I said yes but he never actually asked me to show it.
So mike has the law right on but 98% of cali cops dont even know the law.
 

Venice Motor Bikes

Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles
Mar 20, 2008
6,823
752
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Los Angeles, CA.
There have been a few other Ca law threads just like this, that went around & around in the same direction that this one is going...

I know that some of us live in small towns where the police have nothing better to do than mess with a honest guy on a bicycle, but for 99% of us, all we really have to do is wear a helmet, have a M1 or M2 license, have lights on the bike for night riding & just obey the local traffic laws, & you will never have any problems with the police!

Just get out there & ride, & don't let the fear of the police ruin your fun!
These bikes are perfectly legal!!
 

Scotchmo

New Member
Jun 23, 2009
217
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Los Osos, California
There have been a few other Ca law threads just like this, that went around & around in the same direction that this one is going...
There is no going around and around, but I do find it amazing that no matter how many times the exact laws are cited people still want to believe word of mouth to the contrary. I guess that they prefer denial rather than face the facts.

You can “fly under the radar”. You can ignore the equipment and licensing requirements in many parts of California and often get away with it. If you get pulled over, your only lame defense is to plead ignorance and hope for the best. If you get lucky, the officer won’t know the laws and you might get away with it. Why do that? You already spent the time and effort to build the bike. Do the rest.

Just send in the $19 one time fee for your plate and mount it on the bike. No inspection required. Just having the plate on the bike will probably prevent you from being pulled over.

Add a few more things, like a bicycle horn and mirror. The brake light is a little more trouble but it is easy to find brake levers with a switch in them. You can then legally ride out in traffic when the speed allows or in bikes lanes if desired.

Educate yourself. You might as well get an M1 or M2 license or permit while you’re at it. Then it won’t matter if you get pulled over. You have met all the requirements and they cannot stop you from legally riding. If you do get stopped by an uninformed officer, you will soon be on your merry way, probably leaving a more educated officer scratching his/her head.

I should also mention headlights and taillights for night riding and an adequate muffler.

I ride right next to patrol cars and don’t worry about it. They see the plate, helmet, etc, and go on their way.

Don’t give them an excuse to pull you over.