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Hello from a cyclist in Huntsville, Alabama


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  • Hello from a cyclist in Huntsville, Alabama

    Thank you for allowing me to join your forum. I feel very privileged to be able to be here. I have taken up cycling to and from work on average 2 - 3 days each week weather permitting (its really no accomplishment as it's only about six miles each way). I took up this hobby more for exercise than for saving gas. I try to obey the laws, but I admit that I fail miserably when it comes to staying off the sidewalk. I have called and spoken to a local officer and he said that the only time he would ticket someone riding their bicycle on a sidewalk would be if they were endangering others. As I average only 8.5MPH, I am in no shape to be completely merged into traffic, and there are very few people if any during the times that I ride into work (between 3-6AM) and back home (between 1-3PM).

    When I first started riding, it was very difficult and I longed to get an assist engine for my bicycle, and I still have yet to get one - mainly because there are a lot of legal hurdles in Alabama one must jump through first. It did not take me long to discover one of the best sites for discussing motoredbikes. It was on their site I discovered your site, as one of the readers in the laws and legislation section pointed to here where your officers were discussing cyclists who used assist engines (I am afraid all posts that appeared were painting those who use them in a negative light). I do not doubt that these officers encountered people in bad situations, but a lot of misinformation and misunderstandings exist concerning the laws in many of the states (among those who try to abide by the laws, as well as those who try to enforce them). I wish legislation was made easier for cyclists who chose to use assist engines, and I understand the need for safety. What I would like is to understand your thoughts and opinions on bicycles with assist engines. I would also like to encourage you to visit the site and see the perspective of those who build these marvelous machines.

    For those of you who are not aware, assist engines come in all different types - gasoline powered, electrical, and other future energy transfer engines. The current gasoline engines get anywhere from 180 miles per gallon, to 250+ miles per gallon. That's about 10 times more efficient than a car, and the main reason you are seeing more and more people with them. Laws vary state to state; however, there was a federal government "guideline" for manufacturers that declared anything with an assist engine under a certain power and certain speed to be a bicycle. I doubt that guideline trumps state or local laws; however, state legislatures are behind the times and have not caught up yet. This type of technology should be encouraged, not discouraged. Anyways, I wanted to introduce myself, and state why I joined. I appreciate each of you for keeping the streets safe, and hope some of you will visit the motoredbikes forum and introduce yourselves there. The personal experiences of many motored bikers are of caution when it comes to seeing an officer (because they never know what to expect). Thankfully many of you enjoy motors, and like to just take a peak.

    Stay safe!

  • #2
    Oh, when you say Motored-bikes you MEAN motored-bikes...I thought you mean't motorcycles at first.

    Anyway, welcome to the board!
    Detention Deputy (In Process)

    Deputy Sheriff/KS State Trooper (After Detention)

    "Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other off." -Tommy Cooper


    • #3
      Motored Bikes / Bicycles

      Yes, and bicycles with assist engines can be a thing of beauty (these are some from the forums):

      The thread which introduced me to your forums was this one.

      Below is the bike I would like to one day motorize, but for now I'm enjoying redoing it (polishing, riding it around the block, etc).

      I spent labor day weekend (including Friday and Monday) shining the chrome (this picture was from the bicycle shop that sold it to me). I have yet to ride it to work, but I will once I am happy with my efforts (still got some more chrome to polish, paint to buff, and bearings to grease). Eagle's Neverdull is pulling the rust off and making the chrome new again.
      Last edited by email; 09-05-2008, 11:39 AM.


      • #4
        Are you a LEO?
        Detention Deputy (In Process)

        Deputy Sheriff/KS State Trooper (After Detention)

        "Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other off." -Tommy Cooper


        • #5
          BTW, your bikes are cool, (how much does it generally cost to motorize one)?
          Detention Deputy (In Process)

          Deputy Sheriff/KS State Trooper (After Detention)

          "Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other off." -Tommy Cooper


          • #6
            Not a LEO (lots of respect for you guys though), I'm an Engineer

            The costs vary depending on what kind of kit you want to put on a bicycle (from a couple hundred dollars, to a couple thousand), but check the laws in your state first to see what kind of kit you can put on your bicycle and what extra steps you may have to do. I only live six miles from work, but a kit would pay for itself if I rode it everyday for a year and two months, faster if I lived further away. The bicycles pictured are from the picture gallery.

            People are proud of their creations and the kits they have assembled for their bikes. Some states are more progressive, while others are holding back people from enjoying a hobby that still provides exercise, added safety by reducing the difference of speed of approaching rear traffic, reducing pollution, reducing fuel consumption - which puts us one step closer to being a fuel independent nation.

            Different places sell kits. GEBE - Golden Eagle Bike Engines - makes some awesome kits, and are very supportive to there customers (even stopped selling kits for about a month, to help out their existing customers during the last gas price crunch). I like the simplicity of them and would love to put one of these on mine.

            If you go electric, it can get expensive and you are limited to the power in your battery packs (if you go towards the light weight lithium, prices are high). Some of these kits can go faster than I would be comfortable to ride on a bicycle, and really all anyone needs is something to help give an umph when traffic is tight or when going up the occasional hill.

            Many people conserve using an assist engine for when they need it - to extend the range on an electric, or when they get older and their knees just cannot keep them enjoying cycling - and an engine helps take away the need for a lot of pedaling. I remember one person that was able to continue their hobby of outdoor photography after suffering a permanent injury to the legs. There was no way they could effectively pedal a bicycle, a motorcycle was a lot more weight than they could handle, and a wheelchair was just too restrictive, but they were able to put an engine on their bike and enjoy life again.

            What is holding me back from getting one at the moment are several things. First my knees are fine, and I am enjoying the exercise I get. Second, I only live 6 miles from work - if it was a lot further, I'd give it more effort. Lastly is all the paperwork involved. Laws in Alabama are different from some of the other states, and I do not forsee the Alabama Legislature putting forth the effort to a more modern system that exists in many of the more progressive states. I hesitate to post these, mainly because the process for registering a bike is not an easy task and there are some wonderful people out there that are not following them, either because they cannot due to the DMV in their area refusing to be cooperative, or because they have a principle belief that they have a God given right to ride a bicycle and that adding a motor does not change the fact that it is still a bicycle. Those people are dependent upon LEO's to look the other way, or let them off with a warning.

            In Alabama adding an assist motor no matter the type or size means:
            1) Must be Registered = Tag = Title = VIN (To register you have to get a tag, and to get a tag you have to get a title, and in order to get a title you have to have a VIN, bicycles do not have VINs so something has to be fabricated and I'm not sure on that process - The reason I went with my 1973 Schwinn was to avoid having to get a Title - 1974 & Earlier Vehicle Clause do not require a Title).
            2) Must have proper lighting for the hours you want to ride it, and I believe this includes only a head and tail light (something bicycles need anyways if riding from dusk to dawn).
            3) Must have insurance (plain bicycles are covered under a homeowners policy, uncertain if motored ones are as well).

            All these can add up to fines of several thousand dollars (unregistered motored vehicle, driving without insurance). Some of them would rather I not post to LEO - because it can be illegal in some circumstances, but I think both the LEOs and legislatures need to know that this hobby is a GREAT thing, something that should not be so restricted as it currently is. America needs exercise, and to ween itself off of foreign oil. We have a lot of heroes abroad and at home, I just want to get many of them on the same page concerning motored bicycles.

            The funny thing is Walmart sells them and often goes out of stock quick. Not everyone knows the laws, and the industry is meeting a need before law can keep up.

            You do not have to answer here, but would you pull someone over to:
            1) Look at it (because it's cool - has been the experience of most)
            2) Cite them (because it's the law - regrettably it happens)

            Thankfully some states are more assist motor friendly and people have made these things their main mode of transportation. It beats a car payment, and in the places where it's 100% legal there is no need for additional insurance (which is great if you do not have a large salary to live off of).
            Last edited by email; 09-05-2008, 02:10 PM.


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