Bicycle or Motorcycle?

Question

Jose asked: I’m currently undergoing a purchase of an electric bicycle from China. Specifically 5000w/motor with a 72 60AH lithium battery. I know it would be considered a motorcycle because the excessive speed but It contains a speed limiter button to not go over 20MPH, also contains pedals! They are going to put on the engine mark 500w/motor instead, because of precaution with U.S custom in the port? My question is, would this e-bike break any laws or regulations and would it be able to bypass U.S customs? Is it considered a motorcycle or Bicycle? I’ve been really scratching my head with this one. 

Answer

The definitions are not determined by wattage, just max speed under power.  My guess is that the vehicle is a motorcycle if the speed limiter can be activated by a simple push of a button.  I can’t advise about Customs laws or regulations, and can only provide traffic law definitions of bicycle, moped and motorcycle.

s. 316.003 – Definitions

(4) 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. ….

(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 system is engaged. ….

(43) Motorcycle – Any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.

Please also be aware that a driver’s license and registration are required to operate a moped or motorcycle.

Posted in Ask Geo, Motorized Bicycles

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