It can be an unbelievable sight: a giant on a motorcycle—but actually, it’s just a normal person on a small motorcycle. However, it still looks different and maybe a little weird, like one of those things a clown would ride on a circus and you wonder if it is even legal to drive along the streets.
Those who own such bikes or are planning to buy one should know about the laws involving this ride.
What are Pocket Bikes?
It’s like a motorcycle made for kids, but it is actually not. Pocket bikes are also called pocket rockets or mini motorcycles; and unlike other toy motorcycles, this one is almost like the full-sized motorcycles—it is powered by gas and could run up to 40 to 50 miles per hour on its 40cc engine.
Is it Legal to Ride Pocket Bikes?
Riding pocket bikes have been prohibited in a lot of states and municipalities. Not that it’s entirely illegal, but that it is not allowed to be ridden on anything other than a private property. They are not allowed on public roads, streets and trails because of safety issues since most pocket bikes don’t come with mirrors, horns and turn signals—some of the requirements in making vehicle street legal.
Pockets bikes also cannot be registered or insured, thus making it illegal to be driven on public roads in the first place, such as in California and Texas. In these states, it is illegal to operate pocket bikes and mini-motorcycles on trails, sidewalks and public streets. A person caught driving a pocket bike in these states may be penalized for driving without insurance, operating an unregistered vehicle, and other violations.
There are also some states that limit the operation of pocket bikes to those on or above a certain age, such as New Jersey, where pocket bike riders must be at least 12 years old.
Check with your state’s laws in order to know more about restrictions and other rules about pocket bikes.
Dangers of Pocket Bikes
Despite being illegal in public roads in many states, pocket bikes are still ridden by a lot of people. They disregard the law. However, such people need to keep in mind that it is very difficult for other drivers to see them because of the pocket bike’s size.
Even if it is small, pocket bikes can still be as dangerous as full-sized motorcycle. Because it can run at such a high speed for such a small size, accidents are very likely. Such accidents may cause head injuries on the riders of the bike. Regardless of where the bike is ridden, the driver should always wear a motorcycle helmet for their own safety.
State and City-Specific Information on Pocket Bikes
The following are links to some states’ laws and information on pocket bikes.
California DMV: Miniature Motorcycle Registration
Maine Secretary of State: Caution on ‘Pocket Bikes’
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission: Motorized Bikes and Pocket Bikes
New York DMV: Press Release on Safety of Pocket Bikes
Oregon DMV: Fact Sheet for Mini-Motorbikes / Scooters
Seattle City Council: Pocket Bikes Are Not Legal on the Streets of Seattle
Texas Department of Public Safety: Pocket Bikes Illegal on Public Streets