Bicycle trailers and laws

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by SURV69, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. SURV69

    SURV69 New Member

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    In Ohio trailers must be licensed. Motorized motorized vehicles over a certain power,must be licensed.

    Man-powered cycles are generally 1, 2, or sometimes 3 wheeled.

    I don't know how the law(or law enforcement) views a cycle with 4 wheels ... especially if it's motorized within the allowable limits of a 2 or 3 wheeled bicycle.

    I have an interest in using my bake for longer distance commuting(about 120 miles one way), and I'm pondering a 2-wheel bike trailer for hauling things and for better protection(more visible).

    I would also like to place batteries, small(150 watt)motor with a solar panel top(home made ... not a heavy array), to help recharge the batteries during the majority of time that I'm pedaling ... a "pusher", trailer to help smooth out the hills.

    I know that lots of bicyclists use unlicensed bike trailers ... BUT, I wonder if a 2-wheel trailer, is first off legal with no license and/or if the 2 wheels of the trailer might turn the bike into a "unit", with 4 wheels, making it(the unit), a 4-wheeled motorized vehicle?
     
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  2. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Ohio Law:

    Passengers [§ 4511.53(B)] A bicycle may not be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed or equipped; an adult cyclist may carry a child in a child seat or trailer designed to carry children [§ 4511.53(B),(C)].

    http://cycle-safety.com/OH-Law-Enforcement-booklet.pdfhttp://cycle-safety.com/OH-Law-Enforcement-booklet.pdf

    I've seen all kinds of small utility/cargo trailers being pulled on our Ohio roads and I have yet to see or hear of anyone cited for that.

    Ohio Electric Assist Bicycle Law:

    Ohio[edit] As long as the electric bicycle meets three criteria it is considered a low-speed electric bicycle, or simply a "bicycle." First, it must travel less than 20 mph on flat ground without pedaling. Second, the bicycle must have functional pedals and finally the motor must be less than 750 watts. This is the same criteria as Federal Public Law 107-319.
    A low-speed electric bicycle does not require registration, insurance, license plates (tags), or a driver's license. The rules of an electric bicycle are the same as a traditional bicycle.
    There is some confusion caused by Ohio interchanging the word Moped with "motorized bicycle." If a dealer sells you a bike that follows the guidelines of Federal Public Law 107-319, then you have a bicycle. If the bike has no pedals or has a higher wattage motor than 750 watts or can travel faster than 20 mph it is classified as a moped or scooter; Ohio requires tags and registration for mopeds and scooters.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws#Ohio


    I know you stated that you wanted to power the trailer, but I would think 'pusher' motive power might lead to control issues.

    Ohio law is currently revised to change in 2017 that will include tricycles in the motorized bicycle (liquor cycle) category.

    Bicycles are legally defined as:

    (G) "Bicycle" means every device, other than a device that is designed solely for use as a play vehicle by a child, that is propelled solely by human power upon which a person may ride, and that has two or more wheels, any of which is more than fourteen inches in diameter.

    http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/4511.01
     
  3. SURV69

    SURV69 New Member

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    I have read and continue to "try", to read the laws pertaining to motorized bicycles.

    750 watts is far too many watts for 20 mph, except maybe on a hill(going up), 49cc motors are too large(more than 1hp), although something like 31cc might fit the bill.

    Keep in mind that the bicycle law(s) conflict with itself by allowing things that the same law also doesn't permit.


    from memory, so give me some latitude:

    1hp maximum(it's allowed
    no larger than 49cc(it's allowed), but wait ... 49cc is more than 1hp(it's disallowed)
    maximum speed of 20 mph(a good rider can do this with no motor), even a 31cc motor would probably cough up more than 20mph from time to time.

    750 watts ... I don't think so

    Local Police ... watch some of the youtube videos of bike riders being stopped and know that even when the cops are wrong ... you're gonna be even more wrong.

    Ohio needs more realistic, concise laws and Ohio needs to get the local authorities from making the state laws inadequate to protect the bicyclist who's trying to obey the laws.

    I don't see how anyone can read Ohio's bicycling laws without getting a headache.
     
  4. SURV69

    SURV69 New Member

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    Oh and about the pusher.

    I don't "want", a pusher ... I just don't want the police to see I've got a motor, that they can push me around about.

    What would happen if a cop stopped me with a two-wheel bicycle, with a motor and two more wheels(on a trailer)?

    For that matter, I've never heard of a law that said a bicycle could haul a trailer without a license, although anyone with common sense would figure a bicycle with a small trailer to be ... NOT a problem.
     
  5. lectraplayer

    lectraplayer Member

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    Part of the confusion may be from using motors with "heavy" utility bikes (think hot dog stands) so a bigger motor may be needed. While a 400 watt motor may push your bike at 30 MPH unaided, a full kilowatt (1000 watts) may not move my hot dog stand example 10 MPH downhill. When it comes to law, you take the most restrictive requirement (like that 49 CC motor may have to be a vintage model as newer ones are stronger). Additionally things that are not a bike to us may be legally clasified a bike.
     
  6. SURV69

    SURV69 New Member

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    lectraplayer:

    You probably hit it on the head, but that leaves the implementation of the regulations somewhat subjective.

    If the law simply said 49cc, then no one have to worry that 49cc is over 1hp and while I don't think bikes are safe at say 35-40 or more MPH, to limit the speed to something 20mph seems low.

    My brother re-geared his bike and claims over 30 mph ... often, but since he's not a horse, he's got less than 1hp. If he were considered an "engine", would the speed of 30+ on flat mean that his bike is now a moped?

    The way I see compliance in a more simple sense ... at least for me, is 100-200 watt motor, or a 31cc engine.

    What I'm trying to get is a bike that will get me about 100 miles, of which more than half is flat(pedaling) and half are hills(little less half would be pedaling, the rest of the hill might be pedal assist), while the downhill side will be pedaling/coasting ... probably above the 20 mph limit.

    What I want it very clear-cut answers that will not get me a ticket for some purposeful misunderstanding of the laws.

    Watch the video on youtube about the bike rider on a path hat had to go left of center(broken lines), to get around a police cycle parked on the path. The cop decided the bike rider would get a ticket ... for something.

    Why can't we expect clear, concise, unambiguous laws that keep all but the most contentious officers from giving un-warranted tickets to citizens trying to abide by the laws?
     
  7. lectraplayer

    lectraplayer Member

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    here's supposed to be protection from "that officer" for us, but usually it seems like it is designed to be cheaper and easier to just pay the ticket than to sting "that officer" for blocking traffic and false information, which might be warranted.
     
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