Is There Such a Thing as a Gas Bicycle?

The short answer to the question above is, yes, there definitely is such a thing as a gas bicycle. The longer answer is, it depends on what you mean by gas bicycle, although virtually any definition you can think of likely exists. Here’s what you need to know:

Is it Street Legal?

The first thing to consider about a gas bicycle is whether or not it is street legal. Different cities have different rules regarding the use of such vehicles and you’ll have to check with your local department of motor vehicles to be certain. However, for the most part, the most basic version of a gas bicycle, which is called “pedal assist”, is legal in American cities (though you still need to check as a handful of localities may have laws against them or require licensure).

What Is Pedal Assist?

When it comes to gas bicycles, the most basic version is known as pedal assist, as noted above and most of these are street legal. In essence, what a pedal assist gas bicycle does is to have the gas motor kick in when you start pedaling. As soon as you stop pedaling however, the gas motor stops running. The idea is that because the motor is simply assisting you rather than actually performing under its own power, it is legally considered to be like an ordinary bicycle and this means that it is street legal in most American cities. There are however other options when it comes to buying a gas bicycle…

Pedal Alternative (Moped)

An alternative to the pedal assist style gas bicycle is what some call a pedal alternative gas bicycle (although the technical term for it is actually moped, as in motorized/pedal since it’s a hybrid of motorized vehicle and pedal vehicle). In essence, these kinds of vehicles have pedals and can be pedaled if you feel like doing so. However, it’s also possible to simply rest your feet on the pedals and use the gas motor to let you glide along through traffic. Typically, the gas motor on these kinds of bikes are small and won’t give you much more speed than pedaling might, however they can make life easier for those who don’t always like to pedal.

Keep in mind however that these kinds of gas bicycles are often not street legal since they can work under their own power. You need to check with your local department of motor vehicles to find out for sure before you start riding around on one.

You Need to Use Your Head with a Gas Bicycle

It’s also important to know that this kind of gas bicycle requires judgment on your part. Trying to use the motor to get up a hill for instance is generally a bad idea, since the motor is often not powerful enough to do it and you could find yourself falling down into traffic if you do so.

Bottom Line

Yes, there are definitely such things as a gas bicycle (although electric versions are more common than gas powered versions). However, depending what you mean by that, you may need to check with your local department of motor vehicles before you purchase such a gas bicycle.

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