Mutant Vehicles

Mutant Vehicles

Postby Lilliewhite » Mon May 23, 2011 12:38 pm

I can't seem to find DMV info on the website. Am I blind? Sometimes there's so much good info there you cant see the fire for the playa, you know?

We've got a pedal-powered AND/OR scooter engine powered two seater tricycle that we discovered last year falls into a bit of a grey area, DMV-wise. We need to get it sorted out.

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Postby AntiM » Mon May 23, 2011 1:47 pm

Three wheels and an electric assist motor is fine, no licensing required.

Gas powered and/or four wheels is not fine.

This was put out last year and is hard info to find.
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Postby Savannah » Mon May 23, 2011 1:48 pm

It took me four tries. :) Go here:

http://www.burningman.com/on_the_playa/ ... s/dmv.html

That's a general page. There's a link lower on that page to Licensing and Criteria.
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Postby AntiM » Mon May 23, 2011 2:44 pm

The info is not in there ... the motorized section does not reflect the new policy. The state of NV decided a bike or trike with an electric assist was still a bike or a trike and not a vehicle. BMan followed suit.

I'll look for the JRS or the eplaya thread announcing it.
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Postby AntiM » Mon May 23, 2011 2:46 pm

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Thanks for the help

Postby Lilliewhite » Mon May 23, 2011 2:51 pm

This info is very helpful - thanks guys. There have been a lot of changes to the 'vehicle' situation in the last couple of years that address very real problems regarding safety, practical civic logistics and shoring up the contributory culture of art transportation. Unfortunately although our vehicle does not negatively impact the event in any of these areas we seem to be caught up in the same prohibitive net as those that do. We will have to investigate our particular situation further with the powers that be. I will be sure to share what we discover for the benefit of future vehicles such as ours.

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Postby oneeyeddick » Mon May 23, 2011 3:12 pm

I think she just said that she got a denial.... good luck!
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Postby capjbadger » Mon May 23, 2011 4:39 pm


Tha link does not link to or quote the announcement from BMOrg. Can we get the actual text please? So far the only thing I've seen anywhere is hearsay about this whole electric assist bike/trike thing...

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Postby capjbadger » Mon May 23, 2011 4:40 pm

oneeyeddick wrote:I think she just said that she got a denial.... good luck!

That's what I got from that too. 10 to 1 it was shot down for still looking too much like the base vehicle.

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Postby FIGJAM » Mon May 23, 2011 6:49 pm

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Postby capjbadger » Mon May 23, 2011 9:13 pm

Sweet! Thanks Figjam. :)

[quote="JRS"]Burning Man Update: The Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 14, Issue #32: TRANSPORTATION EDITION
August 23, 2010

As far as electric bikes go, those are allowed. As per NRS 482.0287 “Electric bicycleâ€
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Postby EspressoDude » Tue May 24, 2011 7:13 am

so, a 3 wheel EZ-GO type scooter intended for handicapped persons is not allowed for people that do not go thru the 'disabled persons' process; because it does not have pedals as it's primary power source??
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Postby FIGJAM » Tue May 24, 2011 7:23 am

EspressoDude wrote:so, a 3 wheel EZ-GO type scooter intended for handicapped persons is not allowed for people that do not go thru the 'disabled persons' process; because it does not have pedals as it's primary power source??


That's the way I understood it.
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Postby ygmir » Tue May 24, 2011 7:24 am

it may also have to do with having a seat.
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Postby Lilliewhite » Tue May 24, 2011 11:33 am

Well I have had a very fruitful email exchange with JR of the DMV and clarity has been brought to several issues.

#1) As the JRS of last August details above, JR says

"While we do allow electric 2 and 3 wheel bikes to (with motor sizes under 750 watts)t operate without a license – the same doesn’t apply to bikes using gas powered motors. Explaining exactly how we got this point is a little too much to detail in an email, but what easy to explain is we are simply following Nevada state law – which considers electric powered bikes ( 750 watts or less) to be the legal equivalent to petal powered bikes and thus entitled to operate everywhere petal bikes are permitted. Which is what we tell the Rangers and the BLM… we are simply following Nevada state law."

#2) The DMV is aware that this is neither logical or altogether fair, but they are dueling with the legal encroachment of the default world as best they can. So if this is disappointing news to you, please go easy on them.

"And before you write back to appeal or say how crazy that is – it took us a long time and a lot of work to even get electric bikes to qualify. We’ve pushed as far as we can. Until Nevada changes their laws, there not much else we can do at this point."

#3) The more troubling element of this issue from our point of view is that although we can easily make a few adjustments to make our tiny "art car" qualify as a mutant vehicle (necessary if we want to use our 49cc assist engine on our pedal chariot), the DMV expects an overwhelming number of applicants this year and it is likely that one in two vehicles will not receive a permit, regardless of level of qualification.

It is this problem that makes clear now the strange lack of information from so usually profuse a source as Burning Man regarding this issue (seriously? published ONLY in JRS the WEEK of the burn when mutant vehicle registration closes June 30?!) They are passive-aggressively discouraging use of this kind of vehicle. Is it altogether illegal? No, you can use it with a permit. Will the permitting process be hell and possibly disappointing for all those concerned? Very likely. It's your decision as to how to proceed.

Thanks all for your input, especially JR of the DMV who communicated with me thoroughly, respectfully and frankly about the subject.

See you on the playa!
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Postby capjbadger » Tue May 24, 2011 2:11 pm

EspressoDude wrote:so, a 3 wheel EZ-GO type scooter intended for handicapped persons is not allowed for people that do not go thru the 'disabled persons' process; because it does not have pedals as it's primary power source??

Correct. Peddle-assist vechicles must have peddle power along with the motor. There are similar laws here in CA.

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Postby capjbadger » Tue May 24, 2011 2:29 pm

Lilliewhite wrote:Well I have had a very fruitful email exchange with JR of the DMV and clarity has been brought to several issues.

#1) As the JRS of last August details above, JR says

"While we do allow electric 2 and 3 wheel bikes to (with motor sizes under 750 watts)t operate without a license – the same doesn’t apply to bikes using gas powered motors. Explaining exactly how we got this point is a little too much to detail in an email, but what easy to explain is we are simply following Nevada state law – which considers electric powered bikes ( 750 watts or less) to be the legal equivalent to petal powered bikes and thus entitled to operate everywhere petal bikes are permitted. Which is what we tell the Rangers and the BLM… we are simply following Nevada state law."

#2) The DMV is aware that this is neither logical or altogether fair, but they are dueling with the legal encroachment of the default world as best they can. So if this is disappointing news to you, please go easy on them.

"And before you write back to appeal or say how crazy that is – it took us a long time and a lot of work to even get electric bikes to qualify. We’ve pushed as far as we can. Until Nevada changes their laws, there not much else we can do at this point."

#3) The more troubling element of this issue from our point of view is that although we can easily make a few adjustments to make our tiny "art car" qualify as a mutant vehicle (necessary if we want to use our 49cc assist engine on our pedal chariot), the DMV expects an overwhelming number of applicants this year and it is likely that one in two vehicles will not receive a permit, regardless of level of qualification.

It is this problem that makes clear now the strange lack of information from so usually profuse a source as Burning Man regarding this issue (seriously? published ONLY in JRS the WEEK of the burn when mutant vehicle registration closes June 30?!) They are passive-aggressively discouraging use of this kind of vehicle. Is it altogether illegal? No, you can use it with a permit. Will the permitting process be hell and possibly disappointing for all those concerned? Very likely. It's your decision as to how to proceed.

Thanks all for your input, especially JR of the DMV who communicated with me thoroughly, respectfully and frankly about the subject.

See you on the playa!


So if I understand this correctly, you have a GAS ENGINE, which means DMV approval. Did they give you a reason why your vehicle was not invited?

-Badger
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Not uninvited

Postby Lilliewhite » Tue May 24, 2011 5:12 pm

Badger- Our vehicle is weird. Its pedal power with gas engine assist, when desired. Up until this last burn there was no info on whether or not it counted as a 'bike' or a vehicle. Almost everyone who saw it (rangers, staff etc) snorted at us and said that it was nothing don't worry about it. Now we have the official 411.

Its not that these vehicles are uninvited. But I'm of the opinion that since they already have way too many vehicles applying for a permit in the first place, I don't believe they're liberally spreading around the info on this situation because it would result in even more people applying for a permit for what is essentially a cycle, not a vehicle. They'd rather people just figure out an alternative.

Unfortunately going electric would not only require a redesign on our part but add several hundred dollars to the cost just to satisfy a technicality of Nevada state law. Oh well.
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Could use improvement

Postby Lilliewhite » Tue May 24, 2011 5:19 pm

The mistake I think they ARE making, is that by keeping this stuff on the DL, generally Burner-Law abiding citizens such as ourselves aren't armed with make-or-break knowledge like this BEFORE they get going on a project. We would have gone ahead and made it electric in the first place if we had known. Now its too late, practically speaking.
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Postby capjbadger » Tue May 24, 2011 7:05 pm

Ah ha.. ok, now the connection is made. You have a gas engine assist bike vs a electric motor assist one. Hair splitting law, I agree.

However I really don't see the point of a powered bike in the first place.

Either have a pedaled bike, or build a proper MV. With power, you're limited to 5mph. You can go way faster on a bicycle.

Your motor bike adds nothing visually, is personal transport only, and well, looks like an early motorcycle. What's the point? That's not an MV.

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Postby AntiM » Tue May 24, 2011 7:45 pm

There are a few of us who benefit from that, just old and falling apart enough to need the power assist, but not disabled enough for a handicapped permit. I cannot ride a regular bike, and I do not have the umph to pedal our four wheeler. I do have a trike, but I can't get far with it. I can walk faster, and that ain't fast. MyLarry does the major legwork for me, but an electric assist would give me more freedom.

But we have four pedaled wheels, so we are also outside the rules. I grit my teeth when I see the four wheeled bikes with motors out there, but I know they are running the risk of impoundment or ticketing. That would suck enough to prevent me from going for it myself.
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Postby capjbadger » Tue May 24, 2011 8:32 pm

AntiM wrote:There are a few of us who benefit from that, just old and falling apart enough to need the power assist, but not disabled enough for a handicapped permit. I cannot ride a regular bike, and I do not have the umph to pedal our four wheeler. I do have a trike, but I can't get far with it. I can walk faster, and that ain't fast. MyLarry does the major legwork for me, but an electric assist would give me more freedom.

I knew someone was going to bring up the old/disabled point even knowing that's was not the point at all. You knew I was talking to the able-bodied people on this one, not the people that actually need the help getting around.

I'm surprised at you AntiM. :?

-Badger
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