Citation for Motorized Bicycle

Question

Sherman asked: I ride a 2013 gio zetta. An electric moped. It has pedals. Doesn’t go faster than 19.8mph. Has a 500 watt brushless motor. With all working blinkers. Headlight etc. I got a ticket for driving while license suspended by the sheriff’s office one month after the Leesburg pd inspected my vehicle and said it’s an electric bicycle. No license required. Please help me figure this out. I feel like I am being falsely charged for a crime I did not commit.

Answer

It appears that your vehicle is as the Leesburg police stated, a motorized bicycle that does not have to be registered and does not require the operator to have a driver’s license. It is a bicycle. A driver’s license is only required for the operator of a motor vehicle.

s. 316.003Definitions

(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.

I recommend writing to the Sheriff’s Office with this information and asking them to delete the citation. If you do so, make sure you get their answer in writing.

You may also want to file a motion to dismiss before traffic court or present this information to the traffic court.

In any event, we recommend writing to the Sheriff’s Office and asking them to educate their deputies about bicycle laws using the information on this site.

Also, see the posts under “motorized bicycles” for more information.

13 comments on “Citation for Motorized Bicycle
  1. Howard says:

    Cannot drive ANY motorized transporation when licrnse is suspended.

  2. A person may not drive any motor vehicle for which a driver license is required if their driver license is suspended.

    In s. 322.01(27), “motorized bicycles as defined in s. 316.003” are specifically excluded from the definition of “motor vehicle”, and therefore from the driver license requirement set forth in s 322.03. As advertised, a GIO Zetta 500w+ Electric Scooter comes with foldable pedals and has a maximum speed of 32 km/h, which is 19.9 mph. Although it has built-in blinkers and a headlight and looks like what most people would call a motor scooter or moped (and is sold as an “electric scooter”), it would satisfy the legal definition of “motorized bicycle” in s. 316.003(2).

    Thus, the Leesburg PD was correct. It’s an electric bicycle. No driver license required.

  3. Geo says:

    Thanks Dwight,

    That is the definition of “suspension.”

    s. 322.01 – Definitions
    (40) “Suspension” means the temporary withdrawal of a licensee’s privilege to drive a motor vehicle.

  4. Howard says:

    Regardless of whether or not a license is required, a person whose licence has been suspended cannot operate any vehicle with a motor, electric or gas, including bicycles and golf carts. I have seen this same situation many times in The Villages regarding golf carts, which require no drivers license. People whose licences have been suspended have been arrested for driving golf carts. Throw yourself on the mercy of the court and plead ignorance.

  5. In fact, many people with suspended licenses operate electric bicycles in Florida; it’s probably the most popular option for those who choose to comply with the law rather than simply continuing to drive with suspended licenses. The problem is that, with a proliferation of small vehicles and devices for travel (mopeds, motorized scooters, electric-assist bicycles, motorized wheelchairs, mobility scooters, golf carts, ATVs, Segways, “hoverboards”, etc.), an increasingly cluttered and not very well organized tangle of regulations in the Motor Vehicles Title, and generally scant training and software tools for law enforcement officers in this area, local LE agencies have been challenged to keep track of current regulations and to enforce them uniformly. So operating something that is not ticketed by city police may be occasion for a citation in unincorporated areas of the same county.

  6. Geo says:

    Howard,

    Although a driver’s license is not required to operate a golf cart,

    s. 322.04 – Persons Exempt from Obtaining Driver License
    (1) The following persons are exempt from obtaining a driver license:
    (e) Any person operating a golf cart, ….

    it is still a motor vehicle,

    s. 316.003 – Definitions
    (68) Golf Cart – A motor vehicle designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes.

    and not exempted by the driver’s license statute as is the motorized bicycle.

    s. 322.01 – Definitions
    (27) “Motor vehicle” means any self-propelled vehicle, including a motor vehicle combination, not operated upon rails or guideway, excluding vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs, and motorized bicycles as defined in s. 316.003.

    • Good example of the hair-pulling complexity of the regulations in the Motor Vehicles Title as they have been augmented and amended. The definition of “golf cart” in the motor vehicle licenses chapter (chapter 320) is different from the definition in chapter 316 (the “Florida Uniform Traffic Control Law”). The former definition reads:

      “(22) “Golf cart” means a motor vehicle that is designed and manufactured for operation on a golf course for sporting or recreational purposes and that is not capable of exceeding speeds of 20 miles per hour”
      (s. 320.01(1))

      The exemption from the driver license requirement for a golf cart operator provided in s. 322.04(1) specifically states that it applies to a person operating a golf cart “as defined in s. 320.01”. Thus, if a private citizen operated, on a county road or municipal street designated for golf cart use, a golf cart that had been manufactured to go up to 25 mph, the exception to the driver license requirement would not apply.

      If this operator did have a driver license, though, could they operate the golf cart on such roads as long as they complied with any applicable chapter 316 rules, and in particular with s. 316.212 (“Operation of golf carts on certain roadways”)? Nothing in chapter 316 says they may not.

      However, the exception to the MV registration requirement for a golf cart provided in the motor vehicles licenses chapter (s. 320.105) would not apply to a golf cart that went 25 mph, because this would exceed the 20 mph speed capability mentioned in that chapter’s definition in s. 320.01. Whether and how the DHSMV might register a golf cart that went 25 mph (a golf cart speed capability allowed in some states’ codes), I do not know.

  7. Tony says:

    In The Villages, golf carts are not used exclusively “on a golf course for sporting and recreational purposes” as stated above, but are also commonly driven along public roads to run errands and for general transportation. This is likely the reason for golf cart drivers with suspended licenses being prosecuted there…

  8. phillip smith says:

    All this information is seriously nice to know ..but ..with all the so called legal talk in the paragraphs leading to this question that still has not been directly adressed is. ….Are bicycles with 49cc motor kits on them legal to drive on public streets in the STATE OF FLORIDA. Or not.that is all I need to know not all that other legal statements that sound misleading an not really adress the question directly.thankyou for any direct answers to this question

  9. Geo says:

    Phillip,

    Short answer, no! However, if you outfit it as a moped, register it and have a driver’s license, it would be legal. See this post:

    http://flbikelaw.org/2015/11/gas-powered-bicycles/

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