Recumbent with Motor
Bert asked: I am unclear as to the exclusion clause in FL 316.003 I am planning on electrifying my recumbent trike (with a seat about 10 inches off the ground and a speed of less than 20 mph.) “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.” What category of vehicle is this?
Apparently, the statute was passed a while back, before recumbents and trikes were popular. Regardless, your vehicle is not a bicycle since the seat height does not meet the minimum height in the statutory definition.
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 …. 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.
The operator of a recumbent has all the rights and duties of other drivers if it is human-only powered, whether the vehicle is classified as a bicycle or not.
s. 316.2065 – Bicycle 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
Adding electric power precludes the vehicle from being a bicycle, and therefore a bicycle with an electric assist motor, as described in the statute. You would not have the rights and duties due to human power as defined above, and the vehicle would now require registration, maybe as a moped (if possible?), and a driver’s license.
You would also be prohibited from riding under motor power on the sidewalk or bike path.
s. 316.1995 – Driving upon Sidewalk or Bicycle Path
(1) …. a person may not drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a bicycle path, sidewalk, or sidewalk area ….