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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-15-06, 06:43 AM   #1
BritneySpears
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Track bikes & the law

I have a question for all the american guys (and girls), something which is puzzling me for quite some time now.
Are track bikes (brakeless, of course) illegal in the united states? Everywhere? Does it depend on the state your living in?
I am asking, because in Germany, track bikes are completely illegal. The German law clearly states that all bikes have to have two brakes, which can be operated independently. Bikes also need:

1.) a bell
2.) lights (battery operated ones are NOT legal.),
3.) reflectors in the front and the rear
4) spoke reflectors
5.) pedal reflectors

(Of course my track bike is completely legal )

And the german police is actually enforcing it. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and the police gets a hold of you (and the officers have a bad day), your bike will be checked, you will be registerd and forced to repair/add the missing features. I know of people who where forced to add the missing reflectors on their bikes. If your caught with no brakes, you have to pay a nice fee and add brakes to your bike. If that is not possible you have to prove that you have destroyed the bike.

So let me know about the situation in the states.
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Old 05-15-06, 06:49 AM   #2
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the brake laws vary depending on state. funnily enough, a lot of places require that you be able to skid your rear wheel on level dry pavement (which, obviously, you can do with no brakes).

all the other laws you mentioned are basically the same here. it's totally up to the cops' discretion whether or not to enforce them. i'm in dc, and usually in big cities they don't mess with cyclists unless you give them reason to.
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Old 05-15-06, 06:51 AM   #3
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That what I wanted to know. Thanks a lot.
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Old 05-15-06, 07:18 AM   #4
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I looked it up. here the city law is:
Helmets if under 18.
State law:
front lights at night,
rear red reflector,
one brake that works in good condition,
two abreast is okay.
Only Ut students have to register bikes if they are used for the campus.

"A person may not operate a bicycle unless the bicycle is equipped with a brake capable of making a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. " ambigoussss

Last edited by Ready to Ruck; 05-15-06 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 05-15-06, 07:22 AM   #5
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Law regulating bikes in the United States are based on the state and city/municipality in which you live.

Illinois requires: 1) front white light visible for 500 feet, rear red reflector visible for 600 feet; 2) no siren; 3) a brake to "adequately control movement of and stop" the bike.

Take a look at Chicago and Illinois bike law

Last edited by gregg; 05-15-06 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 05-15-06, 10:08 AM   #6
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illinois requires you NOT to have a siren?
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Old 05-15-06, 10:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritneySpears

And the german police is actually enforcing it. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and the police gets a hold of you (and the officers have a bad day), your bike will be checked, you will be registerd and forced to repair/add the missing features. I know of people who where forced to add the missing reflectors on their bikes. If your caught with no brakes, you have to pay a nice fee and add brakes to your bike. If that is not possible you have to prove that you have destroyed the bike.
That reminds me of the difference between Heaven and Hell.

In heaven:

Your car is German
The police are British
Your lover is Italian
The cook is French
The Government is Swiss
Your boss is Irish
The roads are American

In Hell:

Your car is French
The Police are German
Your lover is Swiss
The cook is British
The government is Italian
Your boss is American
The roads are Irish
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Old 05-15-06, 10:16 AM   #8
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I find the law about having a light not powered by batteries to be pretty odd. Do you possibly know when those laws were enacted?

I've never been hassled here (Liverpool) nor in Illinois for bike laws, and I'm primarily in the streets.

Last edited by DonPenguino; 05-22-06 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 05-15-06, 10:19 AM   #9
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In some states you are required by law to wear a helmet. The only other law I know of is that if you get hit by a car at night w/o lights it is your fault, not the drivers. I had a friend who got denied insurance because her light wasnt bright ENOUGH. Pretty bull****.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:19 AM   #10
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Yea what's up with a battery operated light being illegal in Germany?
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Old 05-15-06, 11:25 AM   #11
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in switerland you need all that crap that you need in germany,
...unless your bike weighs less than 10 kilograms, then you only
need the brakes and lights (at night). oh, plus you need a sticker
that registers your bike for liability insurance.
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Old 05-15-06, 11:57 AM   #12
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Here in the Bay Area it depends on the cops. A couple Friday's ago a group of us (10 guys on track bikes) were on a ride in the East Bay. We had a few beers and such. I was the only one in the group with lights, a helmet, and a front brake. The rest of them were all brakeless, helmetless, and lightless. We were riding in a couple of groups, with about half of the group a hundred yards ahead of the rest of us. We were riding on a four lane street (San Pablo, two lanes each direction), but it wasn't busy since it was around midnight, so we were taking up much of the entire right lane. Anyway, a cop passes the second group that I was in (with my lights) and pulls over the first group. We all stopped. My friend, who was drunk, was trying to track stand while we waited and crashed right into me. Another cop car saw that and pulled over. I thought they were going to ticket us all with DUIs or something, but instead they just asked if my friend who crashed was ok, where we were coming from and heading, and if we had been drinking ("of course not ociffer"). Then they said that since I was the only legal one in the bunch, I just needed to make sure that we all stayed together in one group. Then they sent us on our merry ways.
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Old 05-15-06, 12:04 PM   #13
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yeah the cops are pretty strict about bicycle safety in Germany. the logic goes something like this, if youre cycling (moving, why would you be on a road and not be moving?) a generator is going to provide enough energy for the light, a battery needs to be charged and to a decent level, which it may or may not be. for what its worth the cops where i was staying only checked the lights if you were riding at night. it was for safety not fines, unlike some police...
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Old 05-15-06, 03:14 PM   #14
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He guys, thanks for sharing your insight.

@MrCjolsen

This joke is so full of prejedices and soo true. I am not too sure about the swiss goverment though.

@Travsi

We have the same 10 kg rule here in Germany, but I am not too sure, if my trackbike is light enough, although not even the german police would be nazi enough to actually weigh your bike. But I am not sure, if they would "apply" this rule, while checking you. And you have to have your battery operated lights with you, even in bright daylight.

@Don Penguino

1.) The law IS dated
2.) Batteries fail, which is actually true. A lot of people I now run battery operated lights on their bike and the batteries almost always fail when they are most needed.
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Old 05-15-06, 03:45 PM   #15
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a german acquaintence of mine told me that he once got a ticket for riding no-handed.
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Old 05-15-06, 03:51 PM   #16
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you can ride nohanded here but only if you have at least one hand free to grab the brakes if need be.
I find our state laws (and enforcement) less strict here simply because we are less of a prescence.
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Old 05-21-06, 05:04 PM   #17
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here in VA you need front and rear reflectors and a helmet if under 14. thats it. we're pretty simple on our bike laws. except that we (the glorious cyclists) have to follow the same laws as cars. good thing most cops out here dont know how to write the ticket for speeding on a bike (twice, and also pulled over for using a closed road)
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Old 05-21-06, 06:16 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BritneySpears
I am asking, because in Germany, track bikes are completely illegal. The German law clearly states that all bikes have to have two brakes, which can be operated independently. Bikes also need:

1.) a bell
2.) lights (battery operated ones are NOT legal.),
3.) reflectors in the front and the rear
4) spoke reflectors
5.) pedal reflectors

(Of course my track bike is completely legal )

And the german police is actually enforcing it. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time and the police gets a hold of you (and the officers have a bad day), your bike will be checked, you will be registerd and forced to repair/add the missing features. I know of people who where forced to add the missing reflectors on their bikes. If your caught with no brakes, you have to pay a nice fee and add brakes to your bike. If that is not possible you have to prove that you have destroyed the bike.
It's one thing to have it in writing like most if not all states do, but enforcement, at least from my exprience, is nonexsistent. Sounds like the Gestapo is back in power...

Like a lot of laws, the only time I can see these being enforced is if you're causing trouble, like riding around completely wasted or purposely blocking traffic. Kinda like the speed limit, says 65, but the only person I know who's ever been pulled over for doing under 80 was driving like an *******
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Old 05-21-06, 08:18 PM   #19
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its just a matter of time before we will have to register,insure and get anual safety inspection + licence plate.
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Old 05-21-06, 08:45 PM   #20
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^^^ The reason I doubt that is because there aren't enough of us for the registration $ to pay for the inspections & such.
And, there aren't enough of us to make enforcement profitable. In the end, it all comes to money.
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Old 05-21-06, 08:53 PM   #21
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^^^ The reason I doubt that is because there aren't enough of us for the registration $ to pay for the inspections & such.
And, there aren't enough of us to make enforcement profitable. In the end, it all comes to money.
And PollyAnna would say, "When there are enough cyclists to make taxing us profitable, there will be enough of us to have the political clout to prevent it."
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Old 05-21-06, 10:14 PM   #22
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a bike is 1 step up from a toy, why dont the cops just leave us be??
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Old 05-21-06, 11:05 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ready to Ruck
you can ride nohanded here but only if you have at least one hand free to grab the brakes if need be.
Wait, so... no biking pizza home?

I don't really get under which circumstances you could be riding a bike with both hands occupied.
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Old 05-21-06, 11:42 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by GetOutOfNJ

I don't really get under which circumstances you could be riding a bike with both hands occupied.
My friend did this carrying a wheel in each had.... on his fixed mt bike.... it started to veer into a parked car he had to make the bike turn more sharp so he could bail on someones front lawn... cut it too short and hit the sidewalk and went over the bars... HJAJAJHAHSKJHDHAA im laughing just picturing it in my head.
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Old 05-21-06, 11:43 PM   #25
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insurance for a bicycle!
thats the problem with europe (and its getting worse here)
you can't legislate every part of a person's life
thats not freedom
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