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  1. #1
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    Can you ride a motorized bike if you have a DUI.

    My husband and I got his father a motorized bike for Christmas. Well my father in law was riding/driving to our house like he does every day he seen one of his old friends and stop to talk while they where talking my father in laws friend told him that he got a DUI. So my dad told him to get a motorized bike. So the big QUESTION is can he turn on the motor or, not. So if some knows the answer can the tell me in detail yes or no.

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    Senior Member chandltp's Avatar
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    Probably, since most states don't require a license to operate a motorized bike. However, if the guy is going to continue to drink and drive a bike would be pretty dangerous to his well being, motorized or not. It's not hard to weave in front of a car when you're drunk on a bike.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

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    you're asking for legal advice on the internet, which is generally not a good idea.

    nobody could answer that properly without knowing, at least, what state you're in.

    in NY, for example, the vehicle and traffic law differentiates between "vehicles" and "motor vehicles"....where a "motor vehicle" is defined as one that is powered by anything other than muscular power.

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    Stealing Spokes since 82' Fizzaly's Avatar
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    Mostly its up to his probation officer, even if it is legal in the state you live in, it may be court or probation ordered that he cannot.

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    Senior Member muzpuf's Avatar
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    so if he was riding a motorized bike on the roadway could that be written up as (operating a motorized vehicle on a public roadway) if he does it would not be wise to carry his suspended license on him ...over the years i have found if you have your drivers license on you and commit a traffic offense (oh like you have never did a rolling stop on a bike ever)the officer can use it to give you a traffic citation that could add points ..but without a license on you your more likely to get a lecture and have to say that S word a few times (SORRY)

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    You must check the local laws; they differ wildly from state to state. Generally, motorized bikes fall under "moped" statutes in regard to licensing. If the actual motor is under 50cc, there are no restrictions.

    Also, be aware that many states have specific laws against operating any vehicle (including bikes) while intoxicated, and that there are also specific laws that govern the operation of bicycles....
    Check with your local prosecutor's officer or the state patrol.

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    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    i know someone who got a DUI for operating a pedal bike while intoxicated. so i'm assuming it doesn't matter if the motor is on or not, he could be in trouble if he receives another.
    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
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  8. #8
    XR2
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    I know someone who got a DWI while riding a HORSE. They can do anything they want. They have the guns remember. Instead of telling the guy how to circumvent his punishment maybe you could give him a ride to an AA meeting. There is no excuse for drunk driving.
    Last edited by XR2; 01-31-11 at 10:49 AM.
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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Dividing line on electrically assisted motorized bicycles is
    will the assist stop when you stop pedaling?

    If it runs without pedaling it's easily considered a motor vehicle.

    Assists add to your efforts , but don't replace them.

    but public drunkenness charges can be levied if you are walking ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-31-11 at 12:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilovecycles View Post
    My husband and I got his father a motorized bike for Christmas. Well my father in law was riding/driving to our house like he does every day he seen one of his old friends and stop to talk while they where talking my father in laws friend told him that he got a DUI. So my dad told him to get a motorized bike. So the big QUESTION is can he turn on the motor or, not. So if some knows the answer can the tell me in detail yes or no.
    The laws about motorized bicycles depend on where you are.
    In the USA, they are not consistent across states at all. Some states allow them with nothing, some states have registration or age restrictions, and some states ban them entirely. Some states allow electrics while not allowing gas-powered engines. In at least a couple US states the subject of motorized bicycles is a gray area not very-well defined. You would need to say what state you're in, or check up on your own state's motor vehicle laws.

    That said, police can ticket/arrest you for doing ANYTHING stupid in the street and impeding car traffic. You can get a ticket for riding a motorized bicycle, a non-motorized bicycle or just walking around in circles sh**-faced drunk.
    Last edited by Doug5150; 02-01-11 at 04:36 AM. Reason: spelling

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    In California,you can ride a motorize bike without a license if it is under 49cc.
    You can drink and ride your horse in California also,it's been through the courts and the horse was not drunk.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

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    There is no excuse for drunk driving. x2
    I think anyone who gets a DUI should be allowed to operate
    ONLY a motorcycle!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Booger1 View Post
    In California,you can ride a motorize bike without a license if it is under 49cc.
    You can drink and ride your horse in California also,it's been through the courts and the horse was not drunk.
    But, if possible, you should bring along your designated driver:
    Driver.jpg

  14. #14
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColKrenzer View Post
    There is no excuse for drunk driving. x2
    I think anyone who gets a DUI should be allowed to operate
    ONLY a motorcycle!
    I agree with you completely about driving drunk, but a motorcycle?



    Do you mean a moped?
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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Dividing line on electrically assisted motorized bicycles is
    will the assist stop when you stop pedaling?

    If it runs without pedaling it's easily considered a motor vehicle.

    Assists add to your efforts , but don't replace them.

    but public drunkenness charges can be levied if you are walking ..
    I think that varies from state to state as well. Here, ( Alberta Canada ) There is no requirement for pedaling before the assist kicks in. I am not using electric yet, but plan too. I am expecting to get pulled over at least once in the first couple of months as it is a virtual certainty that the local cops don't know the regs. I will be carrying a copy of said rules with me while riding. It's about even money I'll have to go to court to get some ticket dismissed the first year.

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    ahhaaha seems logical to me

    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    I agree with you completely about driving drunk, but a motorcycle?



    Do you mean a moped?

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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by that-guy View Post
    ahhaaha seems logical to me
    If you mean they have to stay sober or face almost certain death or maiming, then, I agree that is a logical "punishment"

    However, I would hope that the eventual collision isn't with a small car, bicycle or pedestrian. A large motorcycle at speed has a tendency to slice through things that get in the way.

  18. #18
    XR2
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    If you believe riding a motorcycle would limit the damage to the operator you failed physics. This occurred in Sweden in 2005. All involved are deceased.

    I owe-therefore I am.

  19. #19
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Here in Ontario you can operate an electric bike without a licence but you still can get nailed for a DUI on it whether it is being electrically driven or not at the time of the offence. One guy I knew had another way of getting around his DUI-suspension. He bought himself an old International Harvester Farmall Super C and drove it all over town dragging a wagon behind him. And I think he got caught at least once for a DUI charge on that thing.
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  20. #20
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    You can get a DUI on anything. This guy already has one. He can call the local DMV office, but I'd say anything that doesn't require a driver's license, tag, or insurance is fair game for a person with a DUI to use for transportation. That's why they call a moped an "alki-bike". A bike with a motor wouldn't be any different from a a moped.

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    In Illinois, any motorized vehicle requires a license plate and registration, which means it has to have lights, mirrors, etc. as well as a valid driver's license.

    I think there is an exception for electric assists but they have to be under 250 watts and go less than 15mph.

    I puttered around a bit on a 49cc bike which wasn't registered as a moped, and I see maybe one every year, but I hear (as in unreliable hearsay) that the rule is the cops won't make you register it and put safety equipment on it unless someone complains, and/or unless they perceive that you are commuting as opposed to joyriding around in a vacant lot or something.

    In some other states I think you can use it like you use a bike.

    I don't agree with giving dangerous drivers motorbikes. A motorcycle can supposedly cut a deer in half. There are videos on youtube. Plenty dangerous.

    In short, it totally depends on the state your friend is in, and on how much trouble he's in.
    Last edited by garage sale GT; 02-06-11 at 09:06 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member muzpuf's Avatar
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    you can ride anything with a dui its not getting caught that is the challenge

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    Quote Originally Posted by garage sale GT View Post
    In Illinois, any motorized vehicle requires a license plate and registration, which means it has to have lights, mirrors, etc. as well as a valid driver's license. ......
    That is incorrect. IL is one state that is a gray area.

    In Illinois (where I am) motor vehicles require registration, licensing and insurance..... but every vehicle with a motor on it, is not a motor vehicle. Nor does adding an engine to a bicycle legally make it a moped, or motorcycle,,, at all.

    Specifically: Illinois only considers the vehicle legally a "motor vehicle" if it bears a federal-format VIN on the frame. Since bicycles don't have VINs (and serial numbers do not count) bicycles are exempt from all state-level registration, licensing and insurance laws.

    The state can assign VINs to vintage motor-vehicles that did not originally come with them (pre-1930 or so) but there is no provision in the IL motor vehicle code for assigning VINs to modern commercially-built vehicles of any kind that did not receive them at the factory. Custom-built vehicles can apply for a VIN through the state, but must pass DOT requirements--which bicycles cannot pass, for multiple reasons.

    And there is no prohibition of adding motors of any kind to bicycles in the motor vehicle code as well, only the requirement that bicycles must be able to be propelled by human power.

    --------

    I rode mine on public roads for one summer and never got stopped once, passed right by police cars on a number of occasions. The longest trip I took was ~75 miles one-way. I have since gotten rid of it, but only because it was a lousy build job.

    Some people have been stopped and told they're illegal, but no-one I have heard of has pressed the matter into court, which is what would need to be done to prove there's nothing prohibiting them.

    One guy was told by a police officer that since mopeds were soon going to require class-M licenses, that motorized bicycles would be illegal without such a license too, but that is false for the reason I already pointed out--a bicycle is not legally a motor vehicle at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
    That is incorrect. IL is one state that is a gray area.

    In Illinois (where I am) motor vehicles require registration, licensing and insurance..... but every vehicle with a motor on it, is not a motor vehicle. Nor does adding an engine to a bicycle legally make it a moped, or motorcycle,,, at all.

    Specifically: Illinois only considers the vehicle legally a "motor vehicle" if it bears a federal-format VIN on the frame. Since bicycles don't have VINs (and serial numbers do not count) bicycles are exempt from all state-level registration, licensing and insurance laws.

    The state can assign VINs to vintage motor-vehicles that did not originally come with them (pre-1930 or so) but there is no provision in the IL motor vehicle code for assigning VINs to modern commercially-built vehicles of any kind that did not receive them at the factory. Custom-built vehicles can apply for a VIN through the state, but must pass DOT requirements--which bicycles cannot pass, for multiple reasons.

    And there is no prohibition of adding motors of any kind to bicycles in the motor vehicle code as well, only the requirement that bicycles must be able to be propelled by human power.

    --------

    I rode mine on public roads for one summer and never got stopped once, passed right by police cars on a number of occasions. The longest trip I took was ~75 miles one-way. I have since gotten rid of it, but only because it was a lousy build job.

    Some people have been stopped and told they're illegal, but no-one I have heard of has pressed the matter into court, which is what would need to be done to prove there's nothing prohibiting them.

    One guy was told by a police officer that since mopeds were soon going to require class-M licenses, that motorized bicycles would be illegal without such a license too, but that is false for the reason I already pointed out--a bicycle is not legally a motor vehicle at all.
    That may put them in the "segway gap"- too fast for sidewalks, too slow for public roads.

    Needing to register it is not the issue; the issue is whether you can operate it on public roadways.

    I have seen motorized bikes regularly tied up at two different grocery stores for a few weeks, then they go away. Maybe they break quickly, I don't know.

    I bet the law would be less lenient with someone who wasn't supposed to be driving vs. some hobbyist tooling around.

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    Probably but it depends on your State. When I visited NC I wondered why I've seen so many tiny buzzing scooters. I was told probably because the guy got his license suspended and needed transportation. Or, they were college kids.
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