Super Pocket Bike 49cc are pocket bikes road legal?Pocket bikes, or mini bikes, came into existence in the middle of the last century. Bare bones machines like the doodle bug, likes of which still sell today, ruled the market for a decade or two. Then it started developing as an enthusiast sport when japanese makers like Honda and Yamaha entered the segment.
Until the beginning of the 21st this century they were pretty much attractive only to a relatively small number of enthusiasts, forming a sort of pocket bike cult. The inflow of relatively inexpensive and quite capable Chinese bikes in the US lead to an explosion in the popularity of mini bikes. These bikes were often branded as super pocket bikes and sported engines capacities ranging from 45 to 49cc.
Ever since this boom came about, and helmet-clad adults squatted on “toys”, whizzing past traffic at uncomfortable speeds became a commonality, concerns have been raised about the safety of such bikes. With the safety concerns, the public and authorities alike have turned to law to seek answer to their concerns and find remedies to the problems and violations. In this article, we look at some points that will settle all doubts in your mind, about the legality of mini bikes.
Legality in the United States
There is variance in leniency across the states, but all the laws tend go against the bikes. Many city administrations across the states have enacted bylaws that specifically prohibit mini bikes, or super mini bikes, from all sorts of pavement, sidewalks, and sometimes even from publicly accessible trails. Other municipalities are ambivalent to the small bikes, and because they fall into the category of non-approved vehicles, may require a special license.
An age limit may also be imposed on the bikes, like New Jersey prohibits their use below 12 years of age. Such restrictions render them useless to children who are often the target consumers.
While buying a minibike, you need to look out for laws in your area. There is some consensus amongst legislations over the definition of mini bikes. For example, in Connecticut, two wheelers with engines that are smaller than 50cc, and can go faster than 20 miles an hour are categorized as mini bikes.
Talking about their status across the border, in Canadian provinces like Alberta, are listed by the department as “prohibited miniature vehicles” and are prohibited from all kinds of roadways, including sidewalks. They can however be operated without restriction on private property, which brings us to our second point.
Where can you ride a minibike?
Despite the legal red flags that pocket bikes are raising, it is important to note that buying one is perfectly legal. And buying one is as easy as buying a lawnmower. Since in all of the states, by one law or another, it is not legal to ride a minibike, you need to be cautious about where your ride yours.
When you need to decide where you can ride the bike, the keyword that you should keep in mind is “private property”. Any trail, road, track, or open ground that qualifies as private property in the US can be used to ride pocket bikes. This means you can ride in your lawn, your farmland, in your backyard. These places might not sound exciting, but if the private property is big enough you can create a trail or track for yourself.
You can ask for explicit permission from the owners of a large enough empty plot of land which can then be used to build a gravel track, or a trail. You can also organize with the pocket-biking enthusiasts of your area and split the rent or costs or running such a trail. Since that is not always possible you can avail subscription of your local racing track circuit, or dirt trail.
Now that you know the legalities of the pocket-biking, you can make the decision of purchasing the right bike and more importantly, you’ll be able to ride it responsibly.