WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

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CNW
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WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

Today was a VERY lucky day for me.

I was pulled over by a police officer while returning home from the store on my XB-700 Li. I showed him the information I had gathered.

Later, he saw me again and stopped to let me know that

"ELECTRIC BICYCLES ARE NOT YET LEGAL IN WISCONSIN"!

Apparently, even after 3 years since it was introduced the law STILL has not been passed, even though some would lead you to believe it has.

Even when looking the information over, I had initially missed that it was still in bill form and not listed as law.

So beware friends. If you ride in Wisconsin you risk a fine and/or court appearance.

Buzzer
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

So what happened? Can you ride your bike? What about electric scooters or electric motorcycles? In other words, does your bike fit either of those other definitions to make it legal?

Buzzer

There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

CNW
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

It fits the definition of an electric bicycle as defined in the federal law.

The officer (Joseph Bilodeau, Sturgeon Bay Police Department) came into the gas station that I stopped at and told me that he looked up my bicycle on the website (either http://www.x-tremescooters.com/electric_bicycles/xb700li/xb700li.html or http://www.thescooteremporium.com/store-products--%09X-Treme-XB-700Li--The-Electric-XB-700Li-Elite-Lithium-Powered-E-Bike_419784... ) and that it said on the website that it had to be registered - yet on both pages it says just the opposite! The manner that he entered, along with his partner, appeared as if they were planning on ARRESTING me - an observation which the employee thought as well.

apparently this officer is making his own rules, and he will most definately regret playing such games with me!

Buzzer
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

This topic is covered elsewhere on this forum, so before you mix things up with the police or hang too much weight on the federal law regarding "electric bicycles", you might go to the top of the "V IS FOR VOLTAGE" web site and check out the HANDBOOKS tab: LEGAL: ELECTRIC BICYCLE LAWS and also the ELECTRIC SCOOTER/MOPED DMV REGISTRATION AND LOCAL ORDINANCES. Also, check out a description of my own experiences under RECENT BLOG POSTS: XB 500 - TO RIDE OR NOT TO RIDE.
Most importantly, get a copy of your state's own motor vehicle laws and definitions and check with your state's Dept. of Motor Vehicles regarding the legal status of your bike as well as any applicable laws regarding wheel size, maximum and minimum motor sizes, required use or installation of the foot pedals, how the presence of a floorboard affects the definition of your bike/scooter/moped/motorcycle, speed limits of the roads you're allowed to ride on, where you are allowed to ride on the road, etc. These are all aspects of state and local laws that the federal law does not cover.
The point is, this type of vehicle is not widely known, and most people (along with the laws) are not up to speed on where these bikes fit in. I suggest you do your homework, with your bike's specifications "in hand", and then choose your fights very carefully and be as polite, smiling, and agreeable as you can while still working towards your goal of riding your bike legally.
In Maine, my XB-600 is an "electric moped", and it's "street legal" as long as I ride to the right (out of traffic), have some kind of legal driver's license, and I have the bike registered and I have liability insurance. The local police Googled my bike, saw that it goes 20+ miles per hour (which means "faster than 20 mph"), that pedals are NOT needed to make it go, so therefore, it's NOT a "bicycle" and the federal "electric bicycle" law does not apply.
I did my homework BEFORE I bought the bike, per X-Treme's fine print recommendations to "check your local laws". If the police and Maine's Bureau of Motor Vehicles had told me I COULDN'T operate the bike legally in Maine, then I would have researched and purchased some other kind of vehicle. Of course, some people would decide to pursue some kind of legal action or ruling, which is their right.
Personally, my goal was not to set legal precedent or to fight for the wider use of electric vehicles. I was just looking for a much cheaper way to get my butt to work every day.

Buzzer

There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

CNW
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

Buzzer, the reason I refer to the federal law is that Wisconsin currently has no laws on the books regarding Electric bicycles. There is a law that was introduced roughly 3 years ago, but to date it is still making it's way through the slow prodeedures.

The thing that makes me think that (as usual) the officer was not being truthful is that he stated that he looked at the website (I gave him information both for extreme scooters and the scooter emporium where I purchased it) and he said that the website stated that it had to be registered - even though if you look at both of those pages (links are in my previous post) both sites state just the opposite.

This is the same police department that routinely ignores crimes commited against certain people based on whether or not they have friends in government or influence/money.

CNW
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

And Buzzer? I did read your post about your misadventures with the "questionable" officer (Which I might add sounds like he may be doing it to "get even" for something by using grey areas of the law or outright misusing the law to harass you).

I will honestly tell you - it is highly doubtful that it will stop just by your purchase of a helmet. My advice would be to obtain some form of recording device like a "spypen" and carry it with you, activating it every time you ride. It you do not, I can guarantee that sooner or later the officer IS going to stop and quite possibly arrest you while falsifying the report he files.

Above all else be careful, ok? It can be dangerous to deal with rogue officers. If you need assistance in gathering possible evidence against him/her, I will be happy to help.

Buzzer
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

I haven't had any trouble with our local police, who have been very helpful in making it possible for me to ride my XB-600 legally. I was responding to the MeDotCom blog post, who was the one having trouble with a certain police officer regarding a helmet and his XB-500. In Maine, there is no helmet law for adult riders. I wear a helmet by choice. Please re-read those posts for clarification. I have never been stopped by the police on my XB-600 for any reason.

Buzzer

There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

CNW
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

Oops! When you posted "Also, check out a description of my own experiences under RECENT BLOG POSTS: XB 500 - TO RIDE OR NOT TO RIDE" I assumed it was your post.

I withdraw my offer - from your posts you are impressing more and more upon me that you are one of the type that thinks that police can do no wrong, and that it must be everyone else's fault.

Please, by all means stay in your fantasy and cease posting until you wake up and return to what the rest of us call

REALITY

Mik
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

Oops! When you posted "Also, check out a description of my own experiences under RECENT BLOG POSTS: XB 500 - TO RIDE OR NOT TO RIDE" I assumed it was your post.

I withdraw my offer - from your posts you are impressing more and more upon me that you are one of the type that thinks that police can do no wrong, and that it must be everyone else's fault.

Please, by all means stay in your fantasy and cease posting until you wake up and return to what the rest of us call

REALITY

You sure sound like you are cruising for a bruising!

First thing I would do would be to ask the forum moderators to remove the officers name from your second post in this thread.

There are many different "realities", some with good cops and some with bad cops, but one thing is pretty certain: You will not usually help yourself in a fight by throwing ammunition at your enemy!

You are leaving yourself wide open to libel allegations.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

sixpax2k9
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

I hate to say it but no matter how much you know about your laws in your state, there will ALWAYS be 1 cop that is ignorant about the laws and stops and harasses you. I am in the process of having my tickets dismissed in Florida for riding an xb600 which is perfectly legal here. Yet, this is 3 months now that I cannot ride my bike because of the ignorance and complete lack of willingness by the officer to look at the paperwork of specs and statutes I provided. Its complete nonsense when there has already been a decision in Florida on ExpressoS ebike stating you didnt need to register/insure/tag it or have a license to operate it. FYI, the specs of the ExpressoS and xb600 are identical.

In short... no matter how well prepared you are, expect some A hole to give you a hard time.

My best suggestion to ANYONE would be similar to what Buzzer has done.... actually GO to the DMV, submit your bike and specs etc. and get a ruling in WRITING from them on what you need to operate it in your county/state. If an officer hassles you then, I am sure there would be legal actions you could take against them!!!!!

MIK, I agree with you to some point...... never throw gas on the coals of the fire!!!! But as I stated, there are a few police out there that DO think they not only enforce the laws, but also write them and likewise can bend them to their liking. Not to say that this is one of those cases after having researched Wisconsin statutes. Their clearly is NO listing of any kind of electric assisted bicycle law or disclaimer in the statutes. I for one would have and DID check before I bought and rode any such ebike. It is possible this will force Wis. to judge and enter a restriction for ebikes. This may or may not be in favor of this person, seeing as in TN ebikes are legal to ride on the rode, but state legislature clearly states that you MUST posses a valid class E (i think) drivers license. Every state is different, and even if you KNOW going in to purchasing and riding an ebike LEGALLY, do not expect to have NO hassles.

I am living proof of this!!!!

Dave ; Tennessee
XB-600.

sixpax2k9
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

CNW, are you not of age and/or do you NOT have a license??? Unless u are under 16 w/o a license the ebike can fall under the moped classification. Then all you would need to do is actually REGISTER the ebike with the DMV then all would be solved....

Dave ; Tennessee
XB-600.

Buzzer
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

We have had our share of rogue police officers in our local police departments in the past, which is why I went to the effort to minimize potential problems ahead of time with the local police who were the people most likely to come up with a reason to stop me and give me tickets. Overall, it's been my own experience that it's a lot easier to STAY out of trouble than it is to GET out of trouble, although there's always the possibility of any individual to get nailed for no reason whatsoever. Every situation is different. In my case, the local police departments in the towns I ride my bike in, as well as the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, are all well aware of who I am and what I'm riding around on, and they are all well aware that I have made every effort to ride legally. There's still a chance I might get stopped for some kind of "trumped up charge", but that's possible while driving my car or walking on the sidewalk, also.
In the past few years we've had a police officer who arrested people even when he was off duty (he was apparently trying to create a perfect society by super-strict law enforcement) and another officer who ticketed people for being 1 mile over the speed limit. Neither of those officers have their jobs now. So yes, I am aware that those types of officers are "out there", even in our own local police departments, which is why I felt it was wise to make the effort to tackle potential problems head-on, before I got the bike, to minimize the chances of being hassled after I got it. To those of you who are involved in court cases or are unfairly harassed, I applaud your efforts. We are all working the same puzzle from different directions and using different pieces, with the goal of getting these bikes more widely recognized.

Buzzer

There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

dogman
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

Similar situation in New Mexico. Our definitions don't care what powers you, gas or electric, but either way, you are a moped. Here though, I don't need a registration, just a drivers licence in my pocket. But I flaunt the law some, and do ride my bike on bike trails, as if it was a legal ebike. The fed ebike law pertains ONLY to selling them. Not riding them.

Most importantly, I do not flunk the attitude test while riding it. My bike is not scooter looking, so I pass for a normal bike, and do no riding that looks hazardous to others.

Could be you are doing something that attracts the cops attention? No helmet? Riding like you have your own personal rules? Riding on bike trails with a non bike looking ride? Cops are usually too busy to bother with people who are not jackasses, but being one will attract em.

Be the pack leader.
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Buzzer
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

After re-reading this thread, I've become curious, and I'm no lawyer. If a state doesn't have any laws regarding electric bicycles, then how can riding an electric bicycle be "breaking the law?" What law would the rider be breaking?

Buzzer

There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

sixpax2k9
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

If the state has no specific laws for low speed electric bikes, then an xb-600 etc. would HAVE to fall under the "moped" category. Thus (in most states) require it the be registered and for you to posses a valid drivers license to operate it. So its not technically breaking the law to own or ride it, only if its not registered or you dont have a license. Also, some states have an age requirement and/or protective gear requirement needed for operation. Operating a motor vehicle without a tag and registration is one offense. Driving without a license would be the other offense. The tag is no big deal cause all you need to do to fix that is register it, which could be difficult with no VIN #, but a bill of lading or bill of sale sometimes will suffice to register it. The driving without a license can be a very serious offense and will cost you at the minimum of $350 and could even include jail time and higher fines depending on WHY you dont have a license.

Dave ; Tennessee
XB-600.

Buzzer
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Re: WARNING FROM WISCONSIN!!!!!

Thanks for the explanation. I thought I might have stumbled across a legal loophole while some states were catching up with their laws. It wouldn't have affected me in Maine, but it might have affected people in other states.

When I registered my XB-600, by mutual agreement, the clerk and I agreed to use the serial number off of the electric motor in lieu of a VIN number. Because a VIN number is a certain number of digits (and more digits than the motor's serial number), there are two options: one option is to add zeros in front of the serial number to fill out the spaces. The other option, because the registration was being done by computer, was to get authorization from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to use a "non-standard number". Special keyboard commands on the computer allowed the clerk to override the default settings and to type in the non-standard number.

Buzzer

There are three kinds of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.

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