Troy Police raise awareness of motorized bicycle laws

TROY — Due to an increase in the use of bicycles with gasoline motors, Troy Police are spreading the word about proper licensing and registration procedures for motorized bicycles.

“Any bicycle that moves under its own power, without being pedaled, with an engine under 50cc, is classified as a “motorized bicycle” or moped under Ohio law,” an Oct. 31 posting on the Troy Police Department’s Facebook page said. “Motorized bicycles (mopeds) require an Ohio drivers license and license plate, if operated on public property or private property open to the public.”

“Our chief concern is for the safety of those operating the motorized bicycles and the public who may come into contact with them,” the posting said “Anyone operating a motorized bicycle illegally may be cited, and the motorized bicycle may be impounded.”

All mopeds and motorized bicycles must be registered with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and display a valid license plate. Helmets are required for anyone under the age of 18 riding a moped or motorized bicycle, and all riders must have a valid drivers license or moped license.

“It’s basically a safety thing for them,” Troy Police Sgt. Jeff Waite said. “A lot of the kids we were running into out there weren’t wearing helmets. The motorized bicycles weren’t registered or they didn’t have the proper license.”

“We wanted to put that out on Facebook and get some attention out there to educate everybody,” Waite said, “especially the parents of the kids who are operating these motorized bicycles.”

Anyone with a valid drivers license is legally allowed to operate a moped or motorized bicycle, and anyone 14 years of age or older can get a moped license after passing a written test and a driving test. No title is required to register mopeds or motorized bicycles, Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) Communications Director Bret Crow said.

State law defines mopeds and motorized bicycles as “any vehicle with two tandem wheels or one front and two rear wheels that is capable of being pedaled and equipped with a helper motor.”

The helper motor may not exceed 50cc in engine size, produce more than one brake horsepower or propel the vehicle at a speed greater than 20 mph on a level surface. Vehicles that exceed those criteria are considered motorcycles.

Electric bikes, scooters and skateboards do not require a license or registration.

“There are also electric bikes in town,” Waite said. “The ones with electric motors that are pedal-assist are legal on the road just the same as a bicycle. They are treated just like a bicycle.”

“The BMV does not register electric bicycles,” Crow said.

Mopeds and motorized bicycles can only be operated on the street.

“It cannot be operated on a sidewalk,” Sgt. Waite said. “It can be operated on private property that’s open to the public, but the operator has to have the correct license and the vehicle has to be correctly licensed, and have a license plate.”

“Most of the bike path is marked as no motorized vehicles,” he said, “so they would not be permitted on the bike path.”

“I don’t think we’ve dealt with a motorized bicycle accident, but with them gaining popularity that’s definitely a possibility,” Waite said. “That’s why we wanted to get out there and start the education process, and get the kids operating them safely.”

Officers are also increasing enforcement of the helmet, license and registration requirements, and issuing citations to repeat offenders.

“We’ve issued several,” Waite said. “We typically try to give them a warning, because the education wasn’t out there at first, and we try to educate both the kids and their parents on the proper operation and registration. But if it became a repeat problem, then we have issued citations for that.”