You must have a license, unless it's electric

Lately, I've seen a lot of guys riding bicycles retrofitted with little two-stroke engines and it's got me wondering. Are these things legal to ride by some guy with a suspended driver's license from a DUI?

— Bert A., e-mail submission

Well, Burt, you hit on a quirk in Oregon motor-vehicle rules involving people with suspended licenses, but it doesn't matter if the suspension is for a drunken-driving conviction or blowing through too many red lights.

Medford police Lt. Bob Hansen said people with suspended licenses cannot drive a motor vehicle — and that includes gas-powered bicycles, go-carts and the like — on public streets or roadways.

So those guys buzzing around town on the retro-cycles must be carrying valid driver's licenses to be legal, Hansen said.

There is a singular exception, however: You don't need a license to operate an electrically assisted bicycle, Hansen said, so, if that little engine strapped to the bike is a hybrid, you don't need a license to operate it ... at least until the battery dies and it kicks over to gas.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to

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