Joe asked: Last week I was pulled over and ticketed on my ebike for not having license and registration. There is a ton of confusing material out there, and at this point, I don’t know if I’m required to have them or not. It’s a 700 watt motor, the pedals were on Xtreme 700Li (it doesn’t look like a bike, I know). I showed the officer what I thought was the proper law for the state of Florida, pedals, human power combo, motor size, etc. Nope, tickets and a court date for me. Am I guilty?
According to the advertising material for the Xtreme 700LI here,
your ebike is a bicycle.
That is consistent with the Florida statute defining a bicycle.
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.
Bicycles are not registered with the DMV and the operator is not required to have a driver’s license.
I recommend that you retain an attorney and file a motion to dismiss prior to your court date. Presenting this statute and the material from Xtreme, including the Federal statute in a link on that site, should be satisfactory and result in a non-guilty outcome.
You can take your chances in traffic court, but bear in mind that traffic courts are rushed and you may not get full consideration. Filing a motion to dismiss requires full consideration and will result in a written answer from a judge, which will be documentation for appeal if not dismissed.
Please advise the outcome in a comment on this post. If you are successful, I also recommend sending a letter to the law enforcement agency involved asking that they educate their officers on this subject.
Thank you for your response, I will let you know! FYI, I was ticketed under FL law 322.03 (1) for no valid license, and 320.07 (3) for not having a registration.
Those statutes are applicable for mopeds, but not for bicycles. See the posts about gas assist motors on bicycles and mopeds.
Also, you should be aware that some local authorities require “registration” of bicycles. That is only a recording of the bicycle and owner and completely different from the state DMV registration as a type of motor vehicle for the purpose of the laws you quoted. That might be what your local DMV was indicating. See this post:
Joe, I got your email and sent a response.. Waiting to here back from you.
Also, I THINK the only reason the officer thought that it wasn’t an electric bicycle was two-fold…
In the fact that it does LOOK like a scooter (even thought it isn’t) AND the name of the company (written all over the bike) is extreme scooters.
Also, for everyone else out there, if you run into the same situation, you can always request the officer that pulled you over to have his supervisor come on scene as the supervisors usually have a better understanding of the law.
(That’s why they are a supervisor.).
You can also send a letter (and email) to the police chief (if it’s local law enforcement) or to the Sheriff of the county (if it was a sheriff’s deputy) explaining the situation, and see what they say.
They also have the option of contacting the State AG’s office to ask for clarification..
(On a side note, the general populace, by state law, can not contact the AG office to ask about such things but law enforcement can.)
Well, after a continuance to discuss things with the prosecutor, all charges were dismissed this morning in court. Of course, I had to endure the expense of hiring an attorney, getting a \new bike that looks more like a bike, and months of frustration. My lawyer will be sending documentation saying that the bike is legal, but until I get that, I cannot ride the xtreme, because the cycle (pardon the pun) will commence again. Thank you to this forum and the association for your help!
I’m glad it turned out to your satisfaction. Sorry to hear about the expense though.
Would it be possible to post a copy of the documentation when received?