Miniature motorcycles are illegal to operate on public roadways. The miniature motorcycles - also known as pocket bikes and pocket rockets - can only be operated on private property.
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 551.31 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.
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.
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.
The information contained here also applies to unregistered go-carts.