While I’m writing about the legal stuff first, that’s actually the last thing I did.
An Electric Assisted Bicycle must:
- have working pedals
- motor of 1000 Watts or less
- 20 MPH or less
- Can go anywhere a bicycle can go except the sidewalk. No riding on the sidewalk.
- Just follow bicycle laws regarding helmets and such
- Bike paths (like the Burke Gilman) are OK.
The next class of vehicle up is a moped:
- 30 MPH or less
- 2HP or less (just shy of 1500W)
- can’t go on the Burke Gilman or other certain rights of way
- needs registration
- needs mirrors on left and right
- must wear motorcycle helmet and eye protection
- no mandatory insurance
- don’t need pedals anymore (law changed in 2009)
- Must follow some archaic 1969 DOT document
As you can see, being a moped (especially creating a home built moped like me) is a much bigger pain in the ass.
For now I’ll start with the Electric Assisted Bicycle and then if I’m dissatisfied with performance I’ll upgrade components and jump through hoops.