Motorized Disability Access Vehicle

Question

Shawn asked: Are motorized bicycles considered a mobility device under ADA language about other mobility devices if you are disabled?

Answer

ADA statutes are beyond the scope of this site, which is intended for discussion of laws related to bicycling. That said this is some information about motorized bicycles and disability vehicles.

An electric assist motor powered bicycle (eBike) that meets the definition of “bicycle” in the statutes may be used on the roads by anyone without vehicle registration or a drivers’ license.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(2) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which any person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels.

A motorized disability access vehicle has its own statutory definition in the registrations chapter of the Florida statutes.

Chapter 320 – Motor Vehicle Licenses

s. 320.01Definitions, General

(34) “Motorized disability access vehicle” means a vehicle designed primarily for handicapped individuals with normal upper body abilities and designed to be fueled by gasoline, travel on not more than three wheels, with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground, and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the drive system is engaged. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.

Note that a motorized disability access vehicle must be designed to be fueled by gasoline, so it cannot that it be an eBike.

Note the similarity of the design and performance characteristics to those of a moped. However, a motorized disability access vehicle is not a moped.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(77) Moped – Any vehicle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels; with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground; and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the drive system is engaged. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.

A motorized disability access vehicle is a motor vehicle for registration purposes.

Chapter 320 – Motor Vehicle Licenses

s. 320.01 Definitions, General

(1) “Motor vehicle” means:

(a) An automobile, motorcycle, truck, trailer, semitrailer, truck tractor and semitrailer combination, or any other vehicle operated on the roads of this state, used to transport persons or property, and propelled by power other than muscular power, but the term does not include traction engines, road rollers, special mobile equipment as defined in s. 316.003(48)(Construction equipment), vehicles that run only upon a track, bicycles, swamp buggies, or mopeds.

Note that motorized disability access vehicles are not excluded from the “motor vehicle” definition for registration purposes, as are bicycles and mopeds, and registration is required.

s. 320.02Registration Required; Application for Registration; Forms

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, every owner or person in charge of a motor vehicle that is operated or driven on the roads of this state shall register the vehicle in this state.

A drivers’ license is required to operate a motorized disability access vehicle since it is a motor vehicle.

s. 322.03Drivers Must be Licensed; Penalties

(1) Except as otherwise authorized in this chapter, a person may not drive any motor vehicle upon a highway in this state unless such person has a valid driver’s license issued under this chapter.

There are no special exceptions in the Chapter 316 traffic control statutes that give drivers of motorized disability access vehicles rights or duties other than those accorded drivers of other motor vehicles. For example, these are motor vehicles and no Florida statute exempts them from the prohibition of vehicles propelled by “other than human power” on sidewalks or bike paths.  Any such exceptions would require other legislation.

Posted in Ask Geo, Motorized Bicycles Tagged with: , , ,
One comment on “Motorized Disability Access Vehicle
  1. Geo says:

    Address of contributor removed as link to commercial endeavor.

    The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is directed to provide, by rule, for the regulation of motorized disability access vehicles as described in s. 320.01(34). The department shall provide that motorized disability access vehicles shall be registered in the same manner as motorcycles and shall pay the same registration fee as for a motorcycle. There shall also be assessed, in addition to the registration fee, a $2.50 surcharge for motorized disability access vehicles. This surcharge shall be paid into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund. Motorized disability access vehicles shall not be required to be titled by the department. The department shall require motorized disability access vehicles to be subject to the same safety requirements as set forth in this chapter for motorcycles.

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