Idaho changed a law...

Discussion in 'Laws and Legislation for Motorized Bicycles' started by jburr36, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. jburr36

    jburr36 Member

    Jul 17, 2008
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    Was waiting at the DMV yesterday for my turn to do some business so I decided to pick up the motorcycle handbook to glance at the definitions of Moped. I noticed that the law was changed to require a valid Drivers License to operate a motorized bicycle on the public roadways now.

    So when I got back home I pulled the state statutes and sure enough it was changed.

    Definition of Vehicle:

    "(2) "Vehicle" means:
    (a) General. Every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. "

    Definition of Moped:

    "(9) "Moped" means a limited-speed motor-driven cycle having:
    (a) Both motorized and pedal propulsion that is not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed in excess of thirty (30) miles per hour on level ground, whether two (2) or three (3) wheels are in contact with the ground during operation. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement shall not exceed fifty (50) cubic centimeters and the moped shall have a power drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged; or
    (b) Two (2) wheels or three (3) wheels with no pedals, which is powered solely by electrical energy, has an automatic transmission, a motor which produces less than two (2) gross brake horsepower, is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour on level ground and as originally manufactured, meets federal motor vehicle safety standards for motor-driven cycles. A moped is not required to be titled and no motorcycle endorsement is required for its operator."

    This is not formatted correctly but the final sentence, "A moped is not required to be titled and no motorcycle endorsement is required for its operator" applies to part (a) and (b). It means that a valid DL is required but the operator of the moped does not need to have the motorcycle endorsement.

    The state statute still does not classify a motorized bicycle as a motor vehicle by definition however it no longer specifically excludes the operator to have a valid DL to use them on public roadways.

    Relevant statue here:

    "(h) Motor vehicle. Every vehicle which is self-propelled, and for the purpose of titling and registration meets federal motor vehicle safety standards as defined in section 49-107, Idaho Code. Motor vehicle does not include vehicles moved solely by human power, electric personal assistive mobility devices and motorized wheelchairs or other such vehicles that are specifically exempt from titling or registration requirements under title 49, Idaho Code."

    This is important because since they are not a motor vehicle they are not required to be insured.

    The subtle change is the clarification of a vehicle is a device used for transportation of persons or property upon a highway. (and LOL this is a broad definition which included horses). It is a clarification because as stated it no longer specifically exempts Mopeds from the DL requirement because Mopeds are vehicles that transport people and property on a public roadway but they are not classified as a motor vehicle thus making them exempt from title, registration, and insurance.

    Driver's license is not exclusive to only motor vehicles. It is more accurately a vehicle operator's license to permit use of a vehicle on a public roadway.

    Personal feelings about this are:

    I'm thrilled they made this change because

    1) Safety for the kids. They way the law was written it allowed any kid who can ride a bicycle on a road to ride a motorized bicycle on a road in traffic at 30 MPH. Young kids do not have the judgement to to do this and it would have created a hazard for themselves and for other motorists. Now I know that legally only riders 16 or older can ride motorized bicycles on a public road.

    2) If someone had their DL suspended for a drunk driving conviction it was because a court determined they are a danger to everyone including themselves operating a car on a public road. It would be no different with a motorized bicycle going 30 MPH in traffic on a public road. To me they are just as bad on a motorized bicycle as they are in a car on a city street and the last thing the rest of us who love to ride these things need are people out there cause problems that will reflect badly on the rest of us.

    As far as a suspended license due to non-payment of child support I'm somewhat indifferent on that issue. Those should be taken into consideration on a case by case basis. I think the idea of a person losing the ability to earn money is not going to help them repay what they owe. Seems stupid.

    However I'm glad Idaho made this subtle change.

    Oh, And PS: I noticed the addition of "autocycle" (ID [49-102(21)] means a motor vehicle designed to travel on not more than (3) wheels in contact with the ground that has a steering wheel and seating that does not require the operator to straddle or sit astride.

    I've seen these around. I call them mid-life crisis machines because the guy driving it looks like he's going through a severe case of mid life crisis.
  2. KCvale

    KCvale Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2010
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    I venomously disagree with that sentiment!

    Ever try to ride a motorized bicycle drunk?
    I have and failed.

    Ever been in a wreck on an MB with a motor vehicle?
    I have and it barely dented the car but it beat me up pretty bad.

    I whole heartily agree with keeping drunks from being on the roadway with easy to operate 2 ton vehicles, but it's really silly to compare that with a drunk on an MB, heck, the MB itself is a sobriety test, and even if they mange to get going and get in a wreck the only real damage done is to the idiot MB'er.
  3. jburr36

    jburr36 Member

    Jul 17, 2008
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    It's not just how much damage a drunk motorized bicycle operator can do to his/her bicycle or self. It's about the hazard they pose to others on a roadway such as swerving in and out of traffic causing other drivers to react to avoid them. Imagine a a car with 2 adults and 3 little kids doing 45 on a 2 lane road and a drunk motorized bicyclist swerved into their lane. The driver of the car tried to avoid a collision and loses control and hits a tree killing one of his kids.

    See my point? A drunk bicyclist can cause a fatal car accident just as easily as a drunk car driver. That's why most states have DUI DWI laws which allow police to arrest drunk people riding bicycles, riding lawn mowers, even horses.

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