Crackdown on Mini-Motorcycles in Texas

5-24-05 - Miniature motorcycles are illegal to operate on public roadways, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The miniature motorcycles-also known as pocket bikes and pocket rockets-can only be operated on private property.

"The pocket bikes are becoming more popular, and they are illegal and dangerous on public roadways," said DPS Director Col. Thomas Davis Jr. "Some buyers have been told they are legal on public streets in certain circumstances, but there are no exceptions, period."

One misconception is that they meet the legal definition of a motor assisted scooter. However, pocket bikes do not meet the statutory requirements of a motor assisted scooter as stated in Chapter 551.301 of the Texas Transportation Code.

There are several reasons why the mini-motorcycles are illegal on public roadways, but the two primary reasons are that they cannot be registered as vehicles and they do not meet equipment standards required by federal and Texas law.

Drivers using mini-motorcycles on public streets could face numerous potential citations, including operating an unregistered vehicle, no driver license, no insurance and various equipment violations. It is also illegal to operate pocket bikes on sidewalks.

"It could be a very expensive proposition to use these vehicles on public roads, so our advice is don't," said Davis.

In Texas, there have been a number of injury crashes involving pocket bikes, and at least one fatality in Laredo in January.