This document is written in response to the growing number of citizen complaints regarding Pocket Bikes, also known as Mini Bikes. During these holidays parents may be considering the purchase of one of these for their children. It is important that the public is aware of the legal and safety issues as it pertains to these pocket bikes before purchasing one. Parents and guardians need to know the following.
A gasoline-powered pocket-motorcycle is a motor driven cycle per the California Vehicle Code (CVC). Therefore they are subject to all vehicle codes. This means that anyone driving a mini bike needs to have a valid California Drivers License with a motorcycle endorsement, wear an approved helmet and obey all traffic laws. If a rider of one of these pocket bikes does not have a license with a motorcycle endorsement, they will be cited for a misdemeanor crime and the pocket bike will be impounded. Any additional violations would be included in the criminal complaint.
Even if a rider is in compliance with the above-mentioned laws, these pocket bikes do not meet California's mechanical standards. The rider would also be cited for 24002 (b) CVC (vehicle not equipped as required by the vehicle code). The following is a list of the items that these pocket bikes lack in order to comply with California law;
- Tail lamp required during darkness.
- Battery required.
- Stop lamps required at all times.
- Red rear reflector required.
- Lamp-type turn signal system required.
- Lighted headlamp required when engine running.
- DOT headlamp required.
- Headlamp height between 22" and 54 inches.
- Brake on both wheels.
- Mirror required.
- Horn required.
- Muffler preventing excessive or unusual noise.
- Fuel tank cap.
- DOT tires required.
- Tire tread depth; minimum of 1/32 on any two adjacent.
- Lacks seventeen-digit vehicle identification number.
For a vehicle to operate on California roads they must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In order to register with DMV, vehicles must have a vehicle identification number.
The last and the most important is safety. The size of the pocket bike alone is a safety hazard. They are so small that they are difficult for other motorists to see. The size along with the list of mechanical deficiencies is a recipe for a serious accident. It is important for parents to also remember that they are responsible for the well being of their children under the age of eighteen.
The only place these pocket bikes can be ridden is on private property. They are off-limits on any public road, private land accessible to the public or public land. This includes parks, shopping centers, parking lots, sidewalks and any streets.
Hopefully, this will be helpful and informative in your decision-making when considering the purchase of one of these pocket bikes.