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How to ensure that your mini bike is street legal

Over the past few years, pocket bikes have received a lot of attention from enthusiasts and lawmakers alike. From new enthusiasts because they discovered a whole new way to enjoy two wheelers and ride for fun. These bikes came under scrutiny of lawmakers because they themselves came under pressure from “non pocket-biking” members of the society about the perils that come associated with riding fast and hard between traffic, two inches up from pavement.

In this article we explore the ways in which you can make your pocket bike road legal. This also serves as advice if you wish to purchase a bike that will be be road legal, so that you can enjoy it on the pavement.

So, if you see something like a 49cc pocket bike for sale, you need to be absolutely sure that it will be according to your needs and if you plan on taking it to ride on the pavement, whether it will be legally sound.

Here are the aspects that you need to look at:

Headlights
The bike should have a proper headlight that is usable on highways. Further, it should be certified with the US Department of Transportation. Additionally, also make sure if your state requires any further certification, the headlight follows it. According to the US DOT specifications the headlight have functional high beam and low beam functionality.

Also, the beam should be calibrated properly so that the front indicators are visible to the oncomers in the low beam setting.

Taillights
The bike should also have Department of Transportation approved brake lights and taillights. The DOT specifies that there also be a switch for toggling the lights. The battery should be powerful enough to power the brake lights for at least twenty minutes.

Indicators or Turn Signals
The turn lights are very important for operating any vehicle on road. The minibike you purchase should meet the DOT specifications for the indicator lights. The department specifies a hue of orange/yellow that is important for ensuring maximum visibility.

Horn
The bike should be fitted with a horn. Now whether you choose to install one of those classy vintage bike horns that have a bladder on the back or a modern electronic system, it’s your choice.

An important point to consider is that some states require that you fit an electronic horn system that meets specific sound pressure threshold requirements, meaning that it should be lower than a higher threshold and higher than the lowest required threshold.

You can also go the do-it-yourself way, and taking reference from many youtube videos on the topic, build your own horn mechanism. But again, be wary of the transport department specifications.

Rearview Mirror
Like all road legal vehicles, mini bike riders also need to take care of both traffic coming from both directions. So, rear view mirrors need to be installed, at least on one side. But depending on your state’s regulations, you might need to install them on both sides. You should look for mirrors that have liberal reflecting area. Also, be sure that you install them in appropriate position to maximize visibility.

Tires
Tires are another important area that you need to look at. The department of Transportation specifies that the tires should not be older than 10 years, unless you are living or driving in a hot coastal region. It also specifies tread depth and the kinds of material to be used. On the outer rim of the tires should be printed certain information like the tire code, limitations, load bearing capacity, and maximum speed.

Fuel Tank
The fuel tank that your bike has should be should be approved by Department of Transportation. In the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, the fuel tank is specified to be made of steel. Although this exists as a regulation, many of the states do not implement or enforce it.

Now you’re equipped with the information you need to work on upgrades to your pocket bike. You can also use these points when you purchase the bike. For additional specifications you can visit the DOT website, and be sure to contact your municipality’s or state’s transportation authority.

1 Comment

  • Pocket bike is legal rude in street?

    Aldin Mosqueda

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