Motorized Recumbent

Question

John asked: The law says that an electric bike “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” which means that it must be HIGHER than 25 inches.  If it said “does not include such a vehicle with a seat height of more than 25 inches”, that would mean that higher than 25 inches is bad (and not an electric bike).  But they added a negative, and made it ‘no more than 25 inches”, so if a bike is 20 inches, for instance, it is no more than 25 inches, and “the term does not include such a vehicle”.  Seems backwards to me, that they EXCLUDE all bikes whose seat is no more than 25 inches.

Answer

The statute applies to all bicycles, including ebikes that meet the definition.  The seat height must be no less than 25 inches to be a bicycle.

s. 316.003Definitions

(3) 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.

I believe the statutory definition was written to exclude toy vehicles and was before the popularity of recumbents. Because of the seat height, those would not be bicycles, but most are exclusively human-powered vehicles. FBA is addressing that in their legislative agenda.

For exclusively human-powered bicycles, including recumbents, it is not a problem since the statute applies rights and duties to “human powered” vehicles, whether they are bicycles or not.

s. 316.2065Bicycle Regulations

(1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle ….

If you provide a recumbent below the minimum seat height with motor, it is no longer a strictly human powered vehicle and it technically is not a bicycle. The rights and duties of operators of human powered vehicles or bicycles would not apply. Bicycles do not require registration and the operator does not need a driver’s license.

It becomes a motor vehicle and probably could not be registered as a legal vehicle.

Posted in Ask Geo, Definitions, Motorized Bicycles

Leave a Reply