What are the laws about riding them in a bike lane?
50 cc or smaller to be street legal. Chinese measure the displacement diffently than the English American way. 80cc Chinese= 66cc English. So all the 80cc motor bicycles you see are not street legal.
PA Title 75
section 3309c: "Lanes limited to specific use.--Official traffic-control devices may be erected to restrict the use of specified lanes to specified classes or types of traffic or vehicles, including multioccupant vehicles or car pools, and drivers of vehicles shall obey the directions of every such device."
The federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
shows standard markings, including bike lane markings. Section 9C.04 says "Pavement markings designate that portion of the roadway for preferential use by bicyclists. Markings inform all road users of the restricted nature of the bicycle lane."
explains how PA defers to the federal MUTCD for its markings, with some exceptions. Unfortunately the links that explain the exceptions are not working. But let's assume PA uses federal rules for the meaning of bike lane markings.
The state uses the term Pedalcycle for bicycles, and defines it as a "vehicle propelled solely by human-powered pedals". The feds use the term bicycle in the MUTCD, and define it as "a pedal-powered vehicle upon which the human operator sits" (no "solely").
It's clear that a gas-engine bike is not a pedalcycle under PA law. But if it's powered both by pedals and a motor, it might be considered a bicycle by the federal MUCTD. If so, it would be allowed in bike lanes, I think, despite PA using a narrower definition for its laws specific to pedalcycles. But it's possible the federal rule means "only powered by pedals" even if it doesn't say so exactly. In that case they'd be prohibited in bike lanes.
tl;dr version: It's not really clear.
Hm. Does the word "pedal" restrict things to foot-powered gear trains? What about those hand-cranked cycles that some handicapped riders use to get around?
"human-powered" seems like the right distinguishing feature... motor-assisted bikes are out. I would like to think that anything that can reach the speed limit without human power should count as a (motor) vehicle and have to stay in the car lanes. Downhills don't count.
That's a good point. Both PA and the feds specify pedals, and as neither specifically defines the term (as far as I can tell), the usual meaning of "foot-operated" has to be assumed. They both should be rewritten to accommodate handcycles. (And the federal one should be rewritten to clearly specify if it means human-powered only, or partially human-powered.)
I have built many styles, and one of the first in Pittsburgh building them in bunches with many size motors 20 years ago till 2 years ago,,,no one knows the law of the motor bicycles it seems,,call the state boys they all have a dif answer
I would never call a policeman for interpretation of the law. They are human, just like us, and aside from having some authority, are not any better informed than we are, and often less so. As we have found out from past experience in other matters, this also extends to magistrates.
Are there case histories in PA on this topic? I have the feeling that this is a little used and possible poorly covered part of vehicular law. Maybe the better question to ask is, What *should* the law be? Then let's go about getting that enacted, and the populace (and the law enforcement system) properly educated about that. Otherwise, we and countless others will be namby-pambying around on what-does-it-say-really for years to come.
No idea on case law. I don't know if that info's easily searchable (without maybe paying LexisNexis or somebody like that).
As far as what the law should say, the easy cases are if a vehicle is always 100% human-powered, or never human-powered. But what if it can be human-powered but it's got a motor too? I think that should be OK too if the motor's wimpy enough (low maximum speed, or low horsepower?).
Just sticking pedals on a motorcycle shouldn't let it use the bike lane, but a bike with some small electric assist feature for hills seems OK to me.
I passed a power-assist bike in West View tonight, going the opposite way. I had a light downhill grade, he had the uphill, and I'd guess we were going about the same speed. Tiny engine, I have no idea of the specs, but it had to be sub-50cc.
I am grudgingly OK with these, kinda. Given people's proclivity to put ignorance to the most optimum use, I think an engine displacement limit would be an easy way to limit access.
I guess your right what would a State Policeman know hes only human thought he s giving you the ticket.It would be like calling up Obama for any info about anything, hes only human and passes laws with out your vote so that's ok right, My point is if the Police don't know and Obama does not know your going to get it in the end no matter what,,,
Would an engine displacement limit only apply to gas-powered vehicles? I'd prefer a law that's not specific to a certain technology, or that uses units specific to it.
IIRC, the European standard is that the assist must produce less than 250 watts of power (roughly 1/3hp), and cut out over 15 mph.
I don't know if those are the "right" numbers for coexistence on shared paths , but defining permissible assist based on power output and maximum speed makes more sense to me than to define it based on specific technologies.
CC (cubic centimeters) are fr combustion engines. We need to limit RPMs also. Formula 1 engines are just 3 liters but could have 16,000 RPMs. GP Motorcycles have 600 CC but almost the same 13,000 RPMs. And some small engines for models (car, motorcycles) could have 25 CC and over 15,000 RPMs and provide a lot of power. So Dan is right limiting by power units watts (j/s) would be more universal.
Watts, horsepower. Same thing.
I have a few friends that are Policeman and I will see what they know but again so many laws no one knows the answer to this. I think gas engine types will not be out long as they make noise and have gas and oil leaks and such and take more work than they are worth. I see the electric bikes beating out gas types and such and are quiet easy to use and work great. I love them they are great for older people and easy to control and have lots of power. I think they are as safe as bicycles and people on bikes abuse the trail as much as people on electric bikes depends on the one using the item right ?,,,I have people fly by me on the trail going way too fast on bikes with motors or any assist ,,,anyways I think safety depends on the one using what ever type bicycle they use,,,,,so look up the laws go nuts while I ride a gas, electric or a regular bike no one ever bothered me on any bike I rode.
Plain and simple response from an electric bike rider (or was till today when mine was STOLEN)
Gas=cc there is no "under 50cc is free" in Pennsylvania.
sub 50cc is a MOPED, where moped=lights, horn, insurance, plates,
and operators licence. (no inspection or emissions)
ELECTRIC=functional pedals, and under 750watts and with a 170lb rider
not capable of more than 20mph. (on flat)
The watts tend to be "nominal rate" of motor, not peak.
746watts happens to be one horsepower, but I think is a coincidence.
50cc+ is a MOTORCYCLE, inspection, m-endorsement yadda yadda.
Most of the china bike motors are 60-80cc
Have had this discussion with many gas bike owners and their statement
is always "the cops don't care / stop me".
Cops not care is NOT == legal, and the day you piss one off, you're walking and bike is impounded.
Please keep an eye out for my red girls electric bike around North Side.
There was a guy who lived accross the street from me that had a gas-assisted bike. It was loud.
I live at Parkview and they Blvd of the Allies. One evening he went down Parkview and Swinburn to Greenfield Ave and I could tell by the sound that he made a left on Greenfield. According to Google maps, that is 0.7 miles away.
Same corner, I saw a guy coasting on a bike off the Anderson Bridge on the sidewalk. He was going about 15 mph. He went around the sharp corner left onto the Parkview sidewalk. He neither pedaled, nor slowed at all, so I'm guessing he had an electric assist bike.
His speed - and utter silence - on the sidewalk struck me as seriously unsafe.
I imainge that if I'm still around in 20 years, I'll have an electric assist bike (or even trike). I can't imagine getting up , say, Bates on my own power at 80 years old would be fun.