Old 05-26-11, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by nerys View Post
OK. I have a legal problem. I want to build an electric assist bicycle but I do not want to ask "permission" of the state and I do not want to "give up" ownership of my vehicle. (when you "title" a vehicle you really are essentially giving up full ownership of the vehicle to the state) Don't want to get into that too much as it gets a wee close to "political" but you get the idea and now understand partially why I want to do the following. Plus it would be fun.

so for fun intellectually politically and just for the heck of it here is what I want to do.


Various thoughts:

...first off, you didn't say where you lived. Laws about motorized bicycles are different in different places; in the USA for instance, every state has its own laws and they vary widely from state-to-state. You cannot assume that just because one state does it one way, that all the others are pretty much the same.

...building a HPV that is safe to use on typical road conditions AND that will allow a typical person to sustain 45-50 MPH on pedal-power alone,,,, doesn't seem to be quite as easy as you think. From the efforts of others, I would suggest that a casual cruising speed of 35 MPH (on human-power alone) for a streamlined trike is more realistic, and even that will not be easy. If you could settle for a bicycle and not a trike, the streamlining becomes much easier.

...an electric pusher-trailer for a car? I'd think there's a lot of technical issues lurking there. I also don't think "a smaller amount of batteries" will be nearly as useful as you think, considering what they will cost (and the additional weight they will involve).

...an electric pusher-trailer for a motorcycle is even more "out-there"... it combines most of the problems of the car above, with even less vehicle stability.

...If you desire a hybrid velomobile, I say, go ahead and build one, use it wherever you want, and have fun. The law is not ever any moral absolute, it is only a rule that somebody else made for their own convenience. Catching violators is their problem, not yours.

Just take steps to visually conceal the motor and batteries, and keep the speeds moderate around town. Use an electric motor that is quiet and if the trike/bike body looks streamlined, 99.99% of cops will have no idea if you could really be pedaling it that fast or not. If they stop you and ask, lie about it. If you don't tell them, they're probably never going to know.
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