Gas Motors on Bicycles – At Last, Final Answer
GM commented: For a long time, there has been no conclusive answer to the question of the legality of bicycles equipped with gas assist motors. There are many such vehicles in use and many manufacturers of kits to so equip a bicycle.
Our position all along has been that bicycles equipped with electric assist motors are legal vehicles if they meet the definition in the statutes, and no registration or driver’s license is required.
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. The term does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of no more than 25 inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to its highest position or a scooter or similar device. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.
Our position has also been that bicycles equipped with gas assist motors are not legal vehicles and cannot be operated on Florida roadways.
That position is supported by the Florida Highway Patrol. See this summary of an email exchange with the FHP.
Ask Geo: “Can I then deduce that a bicycle equipped with a gas-assist motor which cannot be registered as a moped or motorcycle cannot legally be operated on the roadway?”
FHP: “That is correct.”
See the full email exchange here:
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles policy was also in agreement with our position. See this extract from a letter dated June 8, 2011 to one of our readers:
“There is no situation, with or without a Class-E driver license, regardless of the size of the gas powered motor, in which a bicycle propelled by a gas powered motor can or may legally be operated on the roadways.”
We were informed by one of our readers that the DHSMV has recently revised their policy guidance about gas motors on bicycles.
In their Procedure RS – 68 of May 12, 2014, the DHSMV published new guidance about bicycles with gas assist motors. In summary, they may now be operated on the roadways if they meet the statutory definition and construction and safety requirements of “moped”, are registered and licensed with the DHSMV and the driver has a valid driver’s license. A title is not required.
You can see the full Procedure RS-68 here:
You can see more information about mopeds here:
Please note that this change does not permit the operation of a bicycle with a gas assist motor kit unless all of the above requirements are met.
The operation bicycles with electric assist motors which meet the statutory definition of “bicycle” is unchanged. No registration or driver’s license is required.
We believe the DHSMV action on this new guidance was driven by the persistent communications with the FBA and some our readers with the Department on this subject. That is an example of how our readers can be empowered to seek action from our government agencies and others and how FBA can help you improve your roadway environment.