Tag Archives: motorized bicycle

Arizona e-bike model municipal law

ca-e-bike-cropped[UPDATE: be sure and see AZ State legislation SB1273, spring 2017. This bill, if passed, would address some or all of the confusion, at least for e-bikes, mentioned below. The bill’s prime sponsor, Worsley, is senate president so I’d have to assume it’s going to pass]

This is not coincidenally  similar to legislation passed in California in 2015, and pushed by People For Bikes along with the e-bike industry, so start there.

Electric bikes fall under the category of what Arizona calls a Motorized Bicycle at the state level. There are a number of gotchas involved, which have been copiously documented on these pages, e.g. start here. The main gotcha is illustrated below about unwittingly needing a drivers license, insurance and registration.

No municipality can fix these gotchas, they can only be addressed by the state legislature. I can only speculate the idea is for Tempe (or whoever; there is similar effort for MAG to recommend/adopt model regulations) to adopt rules that would in effect only kick in when the state “fixes” the state statutes. Continue reading Arizona e-bike model municipal law

Motorized Bicycle Law Reforms Proposed

The topic of motorized bicycles (henceforth referred to as MBs) always seems to be controversial. Regardless, the current set of definitions and laws seem to have been drafted in such a way that has led to some interpretations with, in my opinion, absurd results.

There are a set of proposals that seek to amend/clarify MBs positions at kcsbikes.com, and while I don’t necessarily support the specific proposals, but i do think some “reform” of the MB law is definitely needed!

Here are some thoughts off the top of my head about possible reforms:
  1. Incorporate definitions congruent with Federal / CPSC definitions of “low-speed electric bicycles” (750W), the current Arizona definition oddly doesn’t mention electric power rating.
  2. I can’t imagine the cc limit would ever get raised
  3. The mph business should be changed to an *equipment* limitation and not an operating limitation; see other state’s laws on the topic e.g. CA language CVC 406b, something to the effect of the motor “is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than xx miles per hour on level ground”. There should be no prohibition on operating speed (the usual speed laws, that apply to everybody, of course apply to MBs, as they do to bicyclists and no explicit reference is needed or desirable)
  4. somehow cities/localities should try be prevented from trying to (mis)apply local “play vehicle” ordinances to MBs
  5. While we’re at it, a good clarification would be to state explicitly that the definition of moped that the speed mentioned is an equipment definition; some have argued this is an operational restriction, though I would disagree.  I.e. 28-101(31) “Moped” means a bicycle that is equipped with a helper motor if the vehicle has a maximum piston displacement of fifty cubic centimeters or less, a brake horsepower of one and one-half or less CAPABLE OF PROPELLING AT a maximum speed of twenty-five miles per hour or less on a flat surface with less than a one per cent grade.

Apparently some places (the prime example i know of is Tucson), the police/city currently consider MBs operated at 20 or above to be mopeds (or possibly motorcycles); and that this leads to a cascade of potential criminal charges and large fines including 1) driving without a drivers license (if applicable), 2) violation of financial responsibility / no insurance, and 3) driving without registration. Continue reading Motorized Bicycle Law Reforms Proposed

Moto-cyclist killed in Tempe hit-and-run

In an update to this July 2010 story, as the City of Tempe prepares to turn off its photo-enforcement effective July 19, 2011, police mention that those very photos were instrumental in capturing the suspect, Cody Davis, who fled the scene. See Police: Photo enforcement’s impact goes well beyond traffic infractions from the EVtrib.

UPDATE: Police arrest suspect 7/17/2010 [abc15] “Tempe police say Cody Ryan Davis has been charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident in the death of Bradley Jason Scott, 32, Continue reading Moto-cyclist killed in Tempe hit-and-run

Is it illegal to ride a motorized bicycle on the sidewalk in Phoenix?

Story from the Arizona Republic; I copied the whole thing because it was only a few sentences long (my emphasis added):

Woman dies when motorized bike collides with car in Phoenix
by Jack Highberger – Jan. 20, 2011 12:26 PM The Arizona Republic-12 News Breaking News Team
A 53-year-old woman died Tuesday night (1/18/2011) when her motorized bicycle collided with a car on Dunlap and 25th avenues.
The woman was driving the motorized bicycle on a sidewalk when she entered the crosswalk and collided with the car, said Sgt. Tommy Thompson of the Phoenix Police Department.
She was not wearing a helmet at the time of the collision.
She was taken to the hospital where she later died. The driver of the car, who is also a 53-year-old woman, was not charged by Phoenix police. Authorities said it’s illegal to operate a motorized vehicle on a sidewalk.

First off, let me say that this type of collision is pretty common, and it is exactly why sidewalk cycling, motorized or not, is not recommended. But is it illegal? Continue reading Is it illegal to ride a motorized bicycle on the sidewalk in Phoenix?

Is your motorized bike a play vehicle?

First, see Moped and Motorized Bicycles in Arizona for general background on Motorized Bicycles. Sort of unfortunately, every individual city or jurisdiction can have their own codes further regulating things.

The trouble Arizona moto-bicyclists generally run into revolves around police misunderstanding (or simply not even knowing) the distinction between a moped (which requires insurance, driver license, registration) and a motorized bicycle (which requires none of that. E.g. here is such a report from Phoenix, and of course that figured prominently in the Scottsdale case.

However, a disturbing wrinkle regarding the use of motorized bicycles in Tempe has arisen. Tempe’s codes are all online; bicycles are Chapter 7, and traffic is 19. It appears that it is the official position of the City of Tempe that motorized bicycles (but only when the motor is operating!?) have severe operating restrictions. The story is one of my correspondents reports being stopped twice by Tempe police (“and almost cuffed” once!) sometime around early 2009(?) for, get this, riding in the street. The temerity! Continue reading Is your motorized bike a play vehicle?

Moped and Motorized Bicycles in Arizona

[for an update involving troubles in Tempe, see Is your motorized bicycle a play vehicle?]

Every now and then an unusual story involving bicycles, in this case motorized bicycles, and a point of law comes along. Surely, this is one of those cases. It revolves around a relatively new law enacted last year, that defines a whole new category: motorized bicycles. See HB2796, 2nd Regular legislature (2006). Continue reading Moped and Motorized Bicycles in Arizona