Information for the News Media

Public Information Office
(512) 424-2080

May 19, 2005

Pocket Bikes Illegal on Public Streets

To be legally operated on a public street or highway, a motor vehicle must have a certificate of title and be properly registered with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). In general, TXDOT does not authorize the issuance of certificates of title for mini motorcycles. Therefore, the mini motorcycles are not eligible for registration. The main reason is that the majority of mini motorcycles lack a manufacturer's certificate of origin or equivalent document which is required for titling. Also the vehicles do not meet the equipment standards required by federal and Texas law. In addition, only DPS-approved moped models may be registered in Texas. Currently, no mini motorcycle model is on the list of approved mopeds.

Some buyers have been told that mini motorcycles can be legally operated on low speed streets because they qualify as "motor assisted scooters" under Section 551.301, Transportation Code. However, under Section 551.301, a "motor assisted scooter" must have a "deck" on which the operator can stand and an engine not exceeding 40 cc. Mini motorcycles not only lack a deck for standing, but most models have an engine displacement exceeding the 40 cc limit.

Because mini motorcycles cannot currently be titled and registered, they cannot be legally operated on public streets and highways. Moreover, because mini motorcycles are "motor vehicles" they cannot be ridden on sidewalks.