Operation Kickstand: Mayor Cracks Down On Motorized Bicycles

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 29

Sweet lord Jesus I hate hate hate motorized bicycles. Mostly because they are slow, loud, annoying, and spew massive amounts of pollution into the air. But also because their operators always want to ride in the bicycle lane, but insist on doing so in the most annoying way possible, too slow, too fast, or too recklessly. To be clear we are not talking about electric bicycles (although I think they suck too), we are talking about these things.

Well it seems the Mayor is with me on this…or is he? This proclamation is pretty hard to understand. Can someone help me out there. (I have highlighted the part that I think means he is going to crack down on these annoying vehicles).

Hipsters, your days of scooting along at speeds just below what a fit cyclists can attain, at high noise levels, while polluting the crap out of the air are numbered (I think).

from the mayors website:


Today, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced a crackdown on illegal motorized bikes in the City of Boston and a new homerule petition that will allow for better enforcement of these nuisance vehicles. He also directed the Boston Police Department and the city’s Transportation Department to initiate “Operation Kickstand,” an effort to tow all illegal motorized bicycles, specifically those that are:

Missing a registration decal or not properly registered
Being operated on parkland, off-street recreational paths or any other prohibited paths
Being operated in an illegal fashion (e.g., reckless driving, driving under the influence)

While illegal motorbikes did not appear to be used in the recent shooting at Harambee Playground, the information gathered does highlight the need for a stronger city policy on the use and operation of motorized bicycles within city limits. These new regulations and increased enforcement are just a part of the city’s overall efforts to create strong vibrant neighborhoods where all residents can live, work and raise their families.

“I will continue to fight for the protection and quality of life of our residents,” Mayor Menino said. “These types of loud, dangerous vehicles are allowing individuals to intimidate our residents and cause disruption in our neighborhoods – and it must stop.”

According to the Mass. RMV, any pedal bicycle which has a helper motor or a non-pedal bicycle with a motor that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters of cylinder capacity, has an automatic transmission and cannot go faster than 30 miles an hour meets the legal definition of a motorized bicycle.

Existing laws (specifically M.G.L. c. 90 §1B-E) which regulate motorized bicycles mandate that the vehicle / its operator must:

Have a registration sticker affixed to it
Be registered with the MA RMV (motorized bicycles are classified as “motor vehicles”)
Carry a valid driver’s license / learner’s permit
Wear a safety helmet
Drive at speeds 25 mph or lower
Avoid driving on (a) roadways where bicycles are prohibited or (b) off-street recreational paths

Mayor Menino will file a home rule petition that will extend the law and ban these types of vehicles within the city limits. Other cities currently have similar laws in place including New York, Philadelphia and the District of Columbia.


They already are nabbing their first offenders.

submit Operation Kickstand: Mayor Cracks Down On Motorized Bicycles to reddit.com Add to Reddit.

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in news | 36 Comments »

36 Responses to “Operation Kickstand: Mayor Cracks Down On Motorized Bicycles”

  1. By Ira F. Cummings on Jun 29, 2011 | Reply

    I’m with you 100% on this. It’s one of those stupid legal loopholes.

    The main offenders—in my experience—are those 50cc scooters. I think those fit in this category, or at least I’ve been told that they do.

    Seems like scooter dealers are telling customers BS to move inventory.

  2. By Avery on Jun 29, 2011 | Reply

    I’d like it if you were right, but at this early point I get the feeling this has more to do with the violence in Dorchester and riding motorized bicycles in the parks there.

    And the worst offense isn’t getting stuck behind one of these, it’s when a cyclist is slowing for a red light (say at the big crosswalk in front of MIT on Mass Ave) and a motorized bike flies by in the bike lane ON THE RIGHT!

  3. By patrick on Jun 29, 2011 | Reply

    I think Avery has it right on the motivation.

    To be honest, haven’t had many problems with these guys.

  4. By Corkscrew on Jun 29, 2011 | Reply

    What speed can a fit cyclist attain? I need to know how close to fit I am!

  5. By Jay on Jun 30, 2011 | Reply

    “This proclamation is pretty hard to understand.” ha, cheap shot? True either way.

    Cork- what are you riding? I would think someone that rides a MTB might not be able to achieve the speed of a road bicycle.

  6. By Boston Biker on Jun 30, 2011 | Reply

    its not so much that cyclists are faster its just that most of these stupid vehicles are a million years old, have “unencumbered” top speeds around 30mph, but when you put a well seasoned hipster (or two) on one they slow way down, throw in a hill and thing screams in agony as it attempts to keep up 12mph.

  7. By Josh on Jun 30, 2011 | Reply

    That’s the law, including permission to ride in bike lanes. See e.g.:


  8. By anon on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    i can promise if this passes and mopeds get banned bike lanes all over the city will be filled with tacs 🙂

  9. By anon on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    first you whine to get the bike lane. then you whine about who’s using it. i say the solution is just take the bike lanes away and all you pretentious hipster idiots can try and go the speed of traffic. BTW my moped goes 45 easy and not one of you broke ass lance armstrongs are going to keep up with me.

  10. By Mars on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    Their quoting of the law is incorrect. The state law does not require a “motorized bicycle” to have actual pedals, and Menino can try to do whatever he wants, but he is a CITY mayor and the road laws are governed by the STATE.

    If you had actually read up on this initiative, the statement from city hall clearly states that they are cracking down on UNREGISTERED or improperly registered motorized bicycles. In other words, people riding shitty “pit bikes” they bought at Pep Boys in the streets who may have either not bothered to attempt to register them, or may have illegally registered them as a “moped”.

    See you on the bike lane!

  11. By steve on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    you’re all morons. for the amount of times i’ve seen a moped/scooter operator ride aggressively, i’ve seen a biker do equally aggressive moves…and really? someone riding doubles on their moped sparked that much angst that you are complaining on the internet about it? bikes are fun, mopeds are fun; try being respectful and not a suzy sour puss

  12. By rob on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply


  13. By Ramming-Speed on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    This post just made me watch Keyboard Cat until my eyes bled.

  14. By Mars on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    I know many of the inner-city moped riders, and can attest that most of us generally stop at stop signs and actually wait for red lights to turn green. The police are more likely to pull us over if we don’t. It seems to me that only a small percentage of cyclists do the same. Perhaps the reason cyclists have a problem with mopeds on the bike lane is because we get in their way of blasting through red lights, thereby ‘slowing then down’.

  15. By anon on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    the worst part about this Kick stand shit is that its about kids on dirt bikes and scooters and quads. in dorchester.

  16. By Luke on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    Author: “My hipster hobby is far superior to your hipster hobby.” Screw cyclists they can suck my exhaust pipe.

  17. By Fuch U on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    Dirtbikes =/= mopeds you douche bag, I hope you get bent, on your bike, with a car!

  18. By jason on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    lolz I can see it now, battle royal between hipsters on motorized bicycles vs. hipsters on pedal bicycles. My money is on the ones with motors.
    Boston Biker you just painted a target on your back. I hope hope hope you get hit by a bus full of nuns!

  19. By Chris on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    “Mostly because they are slow, loud, annoying, and spew massive amounts of pollution into the air. ”

    Please tell me where you got your statistics from.

    They are not slow, the minimum speed is 25mph for a majority of the mopeds/scooters out there.

    Not all of them are loud. Just like we have some loud cars and motorcycles, there’s bound to be a few loud mopeds…

    Please also tell me how a tiny 49cc two-stroke motor puts out “massive amounts of pollution into the air.” People use chainsaws and leaf blowers everyday that put out the same, if not more pollution than mopeds since they are not as well maintained as a moped used for transportation. Come on, when is the mayor going to stop public buses and dump trucks that pump road blinding clouds of black soot everywhere? Global warming my ass, Al Gore is a con-artist and you all bought it when Global Warming was invented. It’s easier to hit people with carbon taxes if you have them believing their cars are killing the environment.

    If you ask me, those cyclists that think they own the road, and ride in front of cars because they think they are a motor vehicle, which in turn causes them to slow traffic to the point where it becomes dangerous, is more of a problem.

    To debate a problem, you have to look at it from both sides, then compromise on a solution.

    Mars is also correct when he said they are targeting illegal/improperly registered mopeds/scooters, but then again don’t all officers watch for illegal/unregistered vehicles?

    Get you facts straight.

    Happy Independence Day everyone!

  20. By Adam on Jul 1, 2011 | Reply

    Sweet lord Jesus I hate hate hate cyclists in the boston area. Mostly because they think bike lanes are solely for them and get angry at mopeds that are abiding by the law. But also because they are completely oblivious to the laws that actually do impact them (aka LIGHTS and other general traffic laws). To be clear we aren’t talking about mom and pop on their Wal-mart Huffies, we’re talking about the pretentious snobs who think they are saving the world because they take overpriced contraptions they are not mechanically inclined enough to maintain themselves a half mile to work and back (when it’s warm out) and then blog about how right they are in their misconception of an ‘operation’ that will not reduce the presence of mopeds at all within the city of Boston.

    Smile, friend, and learn to live with others. Generalities just aren’t sexy.

  21. By jthandle on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply

    Chris, how is slow traffic dangerous?

  22. By cam on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply

    any of you pussy bikers talk this shit while i’m wheelieing down your shitty little bike lane ill smack your mouth so fucking hard lance armstrong will feel it.

  23. By Boston Biker on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply

    now might be a good time to remind people that when you leave a comment on this website enough data is captured that it would be possible, If someone wanted to, to tell an awful lot about where you posted the comment from, and what company you use for internet, if you were also silly enough to leave a real email address, and a threat well lets just say it might be a stupid idea.

  24. By Boston Biker on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply

    to be clear that wasn’t a threat, but rather an advisory that law enforcement agents would have no trouble finding you.

  25. By cam on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply

    U MAD

  26. By cam on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply

    stop snitchin

  27. By Nathaniel Almeida on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply

    I ride bicycles and mopeds and this is just one bitch and whine fest of a bunch of butt hurt cyclists because they can’t keep up with a moped. Get over it. And I’m with Cam, if I was riding in the bike lane, most likely to keep out of the way of real traffic, and you decided to run your mouth, I would smack you right in it. I live in Tiverton RI. My name is Nathaniel Almeida. If you want more info come at me internet police.

  28. By cam on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply


  29. By jthandle on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply

    Wow, I never knew moped riders were so tough! I thought only motorcycle gang members and bike messengers were to be reckoned with. I stand corrected. Next time I see a fat guy put-putting his way down the street on what I previously assumed was a self admission of pussy-dom, i.e. Riding a scooter, I will no longer boisterously laugh like I usually do. It will now be a more subdued head shake.

  30. By lol on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply


  31. By STD Doug on Jul 2, 2011 | Reply

    I tried riding bikes in the city to commute. It was great to bypass traffic, but when I got to the office, I was drenched with preparation. Ugh. I felt disgusting and unprofessional. Then I got into an accident with a car and got hurt. I realized then that I was no match for cars and I couldn’t argue with the laws of physics. I commend anyone who uses bicycles to exercise, but it’s just not as safe as riding a moped every day to work. On a bicycle you have no chance to escape an aggressive driver in a car and the bike lanes are terribly dangerous because of all the drivers opening their doors and not looking for you!

    BostonBiker, don’t hide behind the mayor’s posturing or exploit the injury of those poor children in Dorchester to further your political agenda. It’s really transparent.

    IMHO, We (mopeds and bikers) can share the lane peacefully and should unite against all the people in cars (since so many violent criminals use cars and we have to breathe in their icky pollution too.). Face it; what you and Al Gore would really like to do is outlaw the internal combustion engine.

    Sorry, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Nor are the city bike lanes exclusively for the sole use of cyclists. Sorry, but it’s a fact.

    Also, remember that mopeds do get fantastic gas mileage and saves hours each day commuting. Take that into account before condemning mopeds. In fact, I suggest before you knock mopeds, actually try riding one. I bet you’ll be surprised how fun and easy it is.

    Be safe, wear a helmet, and have fun!

  32. By anonn on Jul 7, 2011 | Reply

    It is not right for motorized bikes to be blamed for the shooting in Dorchester. Why don’t we blame cars everything they serve as a get away vehicle? Lets ban them from city limits too!

  33. By jon on Dec 12, 2011 | Reply

    its not about what the silly mare sad. its about giving up your freedom. To get some ware with out public transportation and paying high gas prise ,inc. Its the last free thing in the USA. lissen this ware we the people fought the english to be free from taxes it started in Boston before with tea now My brothers and sisters its happening again. First it starts with motorized bikes.
    Then tags on bikes then tax on co2 emissions yea a tax to breath. See ware im going with this we can start peacefully and when they don’t lessen. We make tea in the river! Said clearly thought bikes that have no tags get stolen by the city. The state loses money when you don’t ride the bus or traine in a city. Your a supposed to act like a hive and do what your tolled like a good puppy?

  34. By Josh on Mar 12, 2012 | Reply

    I was riding a moped today at my max speed of 24 miles per hour and got passed by an awesome bicyclist. We high fived. I also saw a Harley rider, he stared me down until I gave him a smile and “biker wave” he laughed and gave me a thumbs up. Pedals are pedals. Motors are motors. Us mopedo’s bridge the gap and unify the two biker worlds. We are that awesome.

  35. By Ryan on Aug 2, 2012 | Reply

    Awesome comment by Josh. As well as some great comments above. Looks like I’m a little late on replying to this but would like some feedback. I built a motorized bicycle, which is essentially a 49cc motor mounted on a heavy duty beach cruiser w/ modified parts etc. I rode it a lot last year on my 40 mile commute to and from work, and plan to again this year as weather permits. As it cannot keep up w/ the speed of regular traffic I have to keep it in the bike lane, but do so legally, stopping at all red lights. I am very observant of everyone else on the road, including human powered cycles. As a cyclist myself, I always show them respect and courtesy to make everyones ride enjoyable, safe and legal. I hope this isnt a case of a few bad scooters making the rest of us look bad. My bike is EPA certified and outbeats MPG ratings of pretty much any other vehicle on the road. In my case it is the best and most cost efficient / sustainable alternative to driving to and from work. I love my bike and the time I have put into it and hope to continue riding it. I have had the same experiences as Josh above, laughs and enthusiasm from motorcyclists, and cyclists having no qualms w/ me on the road, even when they do need to impressively pass me by. I was actually stopped by an officer working road detail in Arlington last year and to my surprise he was ecstatic to learn about my bike. Long story short – I appreciate Boston Biker’s concerns and would like to apologize for the wreckless misuse of these machines by other irresponsible riders. I hope you can trust the rest of us our operating responsibly.

  36. By Mandatory name on Jul 13, 2013 | Reply

    The “spewing massive amounts of pollution” part is complete bs, you’ve obviously been brainwashed by the media. I’ve done testing and research on these small 2 stroke engines and improving the design, and they do NOT pollute more than a car, not even close. Why some (stupid) people think they pollute more is because the units used to measure the emissions of all IC engines are either percentages or ppm (parts per million), which is meaningless unless you know the actual amount of exhaust leaving the engine. Which is relative to the engine size. Obviously
    a 50cc bike engine emits less exhaust than a 3.5l (3500cc) car. So as an actual measurement of the gross mass of pollutants, which is what matters, the scooter/bike of course doesn’t pollute much at all

Post a Comment