Texas laws???

Discussion in 'Laws and Legislation for Motorized Bicycles' started by pastorjay, Apr 4, 2012.

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  1. pastorjay

    pastorjay New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm new to the forum but hope to get some help here. At almost 64, I'm an old biker (motorcycle) but, in retirement have gotten the bug to build some motorized bicycles. Cause I can. My dilemma is, as many different people I talk to in Texas, including DOT, I get different answers. Anybody here actually own and ride one...legally in TEXAS??? Thanks, pastorjay
     
  2. jerrybrowne

    jerrybrowne New Member

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  3. obesepolice

    obesepolice New Member

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    basically from what i have gathered is no one knows how to classify MB's really. Its a grey area. My plan is to print out and carry the current legislation of scooter and the like plus a letter from my lawyer. So when i do get pulled over I have factual proof to back up my arguments.
     
  4. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate New Member

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    After my post 2 or 3 cranks will post about 10 pages of DOT legalese and claim motor bicycles are illegal in Texas, but here:

    As far as I know, if it's under 49 cc, and doesn't go over 30mph, and you ride it like a bicycle (where required, such as paved shoulders when clean, right lane on municipal hwys, etc), it's good.

    If you ride a motorized bicycle in Texas, you might be targeted by cagers with cell phones ("some crazy guy is riding an illegal moped and looks suspicious") , nimby homeowners and dog owners (noise complaints), farm owners (claim you're trespassing even if you are on public dirt roads), and local cops (better completely stop and follow stop/turn signals. You're easy money.)

    Even with all that, most people seem relieved you're moving faster than a lot of casual cyclists, and some are entertained by the machines. I've been stopped and given warnings or license checks, but luckily have not gotten any tickets.
     
  5. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

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    I live oustide of Houston in the burbs. The law men don't pull you over unless you are doing something stupid. The law men on college campuses will pull motorbikes over sometimes. If I get pulled over, I will claim my bike is legal under the GoPed stature (under 40cc, two wheels, stay on roads with speed limit of 35 mph or less, can be propelled by human power alone). Good luck.
     
  6. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate New Member

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    That must be where the argumentative people in several similar threads (not calling you) are getting the "it has to be 40cc" from. (some law on gopeds. Bikes aren't gopeds, but if you want to call your bike a goped, I don't know what the cops will make of it.) I call mine a motor assisted bicycle. I ride it on farm roads, county roads, residential streets, municipal roads and highways, freeway service roads, and tollway service roads. I would hate to be told I couldn't ride on a farm road (which I've bicycled on for 20 years) because I was on a "go ped".
     
  7. biknut

    biknut Well-Known Member

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    This is the straight skinny, and I know everything, so forget what everyone else says because none of them know squat compared to me. I even tell the local police what the law says.

    In Texas all motor vehicles are considered self propelled. Read that again, and understand it. Self propelled means, that with the motor running, you can just ride it off totally under it's own power from a stop. If you can't do that, it's not self propelled, so it's not a motor vehicle. If it's not considered a motor vehicle, you don't need a license for it. It doesn't make any difference what size the motor is.

    A car is self propelled. A motorcycle is self propelled. A moped is self propelled. A motor bicycle is ???????? maybe, maybe not self propelled. That's why it's a gray area.

    Texas law makes no specific mention of gas powered motor bicycles. A typical china girl style motor bicycle, cannot ride off from a dead stop totally under it's own power. They must be peddled up to at least a few mph before letting the clutch out. That's what makes them legal. I talked this point over with the head of the, TDOT motorcycle safety division in Austin, and they told me that's what makes it a gray area in Texas law. They said as far as they're concerned it's up to each locality to decide what to do about enforcement.

    The reality is we ride free all over the state without harassment. I live in Dallas, and ride in 7 local cities with no problems in 2 years. If you should get a ticket it will probably be for riding an unregistered moped. If you pay the ticket they will take your money. If you challenge the ticket it will most likely be dismissed without comment. No prosecutor wants to take a chance on losing a court action, and setting precedent for the entire state. At the time I talked to the TDOT they told me there had never been a conviction in Texas for riding a MB.

    Some people will tell you about a moped under 50cc is legal, but that law was changed last January, and never applied to us anyway.

    You might like to browse my Texas thread.

    http://motorbicycling.com/showthread.php?t=26328
     
  8. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate New Member

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    Thanks for the info, Biknut. I think as long as you have standard bicycle cranks, so the bike pedals, and you have standard reflectors or at least running lights (even battery), stop at stop signals, turn correctly, and do not do stupid stuff (flying on sidewalks or weaving through cars), you are ok. If you get pulled over, give a friendly wave, use your hand signal or brake signal and stop, put your feet down, kill your motor, and wait with your hands on the bars. The officer will approach you and tell you what he wants. Don't just go reachin' for stuff. If he asks you what your bike is, you can say a motorized bicycle or motor assisted bicycle, and just listen to the cop tell you what he wants to say. He might ask your id, or some questions, or might just tell you what to do like don't speed, need to get some lights etc. If you argue, probably you will get trouble. If you just answer the questions, probably you will be on your way in 5 minutes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyIXgH4qTT4 Motorcyclist pulled over after continuing or fleeing cops, shot in back when reaches into waistband or pocket.
     
  9. biknut

    biknut Well-Known Member

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    I think it's important for cops to see us peddling away from stops. In my case that's never a problem because I have too.

    As long as the cop can't say he saw you take off without peddling, you should be able to win any court challenge for unregistered moped.
     
  10. LR Jerry

    LR Jerry Active Member

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    I looked this up awhile back. The Texas DOT considers under a certain electric watt rating as a motor assisted bicycle. Gas powered under 50 cc is considered a moped.
     
  11. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate New Member

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    Nah, it's a motor assisted bicycle.
     
  12. oldskoolsoldier

    oldskoolsoldier New Member

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    Old thread, but here is the official Texas law concerning motor assisted bicycles/scooters:
    http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/docs/tn/htm/tn.551.htm

    SUBCHAPTER E. MOTOR-ASSISTED SCOOTERS



    Sec. 551.351. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

    (1) "Motor-assisted scooter":

    (A) means a self-propelled device with:

    (i) at least two wheels in contact with the ground during operation;

    (ii) a braking system capable of stopping the device under typical operating conditions;

    (iii) a gas or electric motor not exceeding 40 cubic centimeters;

    (iv) a deck designed to allow a person to stand or sit while operating the device; and

    (v) the ability to be propelled by human power alone; and

    (B) does not include a pocket bike or a minimotorbike.

    (2) "Pocket bike or minimotorbike" means a self-propelled vehicle that is equipped with an electric motor or internal combustion engine having a piston displacement of less than 50 cubic centimeters, is designed to propel itself with not more than two wheels in contact with the ground, has a seat or saddle for the use of the operator, is not designed for use on a highway, and is ineligible for a certificate of title under Chapter 501. The term does not include:

    (A) a moped or motorcycle;

    (B) an electric bicycle or motor-driven cycle, as defined by Section 541.201;

    (C) a motorized mobility device, as defined by Section 542.009;

    (D) an electric personal assistive mobility device, as defined by Section 551.201; or

    (E) a neighborhood electric vehicle, as defined by Section 551.301.


    Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1242, Sec. 3, eff. June 18, 2005.

    Amended by:

    Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 91, Sec. 24.015, eff. September 1, 2011.



    Sec. 551.352. OPERATION ON ROADWAYS OR SIDEWALKS. (a) A motor-assisted scooter may be operated only on a street or highway for which the posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less. The motor-assisted scooter may cross a road or street at an intersection where the road or street has a posted speed limit of more than 35 miles per hour.

    (b) A county or municipality may prohibit the operation of a motor-assisted scooter on a street, highway, or sidewalk if the governing body of the county or municipality determines that the prohibition is necessary in the interest of safety.

    (c) The department may prohibit the operation of a motor-assisted scooter on a highway if it determines that the prohibition is necessary in the interest of safety.

    (d) A person may operate a motor-assisted scooter on a path set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles or on a sidewalk. Except as otherwise provided by this section, a provision of this title applicable to the operation of a bicycle applies to the operation of a motor-assisted scooter.

    (e) A provision of this title applicable to a motor vehicle does not apply to a motor-assisted scooter.
     
  13. placidscene

    placidscene New Member

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    There are a couple of reasons that that doesn't apply to Motor Assisted Bicycles.
    Reason 1, as Biknut stated We are not "Self Propelled" We have to pedal to start moving.
    A) means a self-propelled device with:

    Reason 2; (iv) a deck designed to allow a person to stand or sit while operating the device;
    Our bikes dont have a "Deck"
     
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  14. LR Jerry

    LR Jerry Active Member

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    What defines a deck can be debated. Here is the part of Texas law you didn't mention.


    (v) the ability to be propelled by human power alone;

    In order to be powered by human power alone in a seated postion you would need peddles. States define what vehicles they'll allow on their public roadways. If a vehicle doesn't fall with in the parameters of what is allowed on their public roadways then its considered an off road/private property vehicle. (ATV, dirt bike motorcycle, civilian riding lawn mower, motorized skateboard etc).

    I'm fully aware Texas is like many states if you obey the traffic laws the cops won't bother you. Where a problem can occur is in the event of a multiple vehicle accident. Texas clearly defines what a bicycle is so what would you tell a cop your vehicle is? Mopeds are required to be made by a certified manufacture. Chances are you'll be charged with operating an improper vehicle on the public roadways especially if the accident was your fault.

    If you meet the requirements of what Texas defines as a motorized scooter you have a right to be on the public roadways.
     
    #14 LR Jerry, Nov 30, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  15. biknut

    biknut Well-Known Member

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    This is true, but it also means a motorized scooter would have to be registered, and licensed.

    It's not possible with a motor bicycle because Texas doesn't have a process to register a bicycle.
     
  16. xseler

    xseler Well-Known Member

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    I certainly wished that my paycheck lasted as long as some of these 'discussions'.......:D
     
  17. biknut

    biknut Well-Known Member

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    Money doesn't last as long now, but as least it goes faster lol.
     
  18. oldskoolsoldier

    oldskoolsoldier New Member

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    But it says "stand OR sit." So maybe it means you don't have to have both, just one or the other? Could my bike saddle be considered a "deck" because I can sit on it? Maybe they wrote it this way so people couldn't create a "scooter" that someone can lay down on and operate (because that probably wouldn't be a good idea).
     
  19. biknut

    biknut Well-Known Member

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    Seems like a kind of moot point since no one ever gets pulled over on a motor bicycle in Texas.
     
  20. oldskoolsoldier

    oldskoolsoldier New Member

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    Well, I'm new to this and I'm just wanting to get as many opinions as I can. Main goal is to avoid getting a ticket. I'm going to be using it to commute to work, not just for fun.
     

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