Pocket bikes are fun, fast and created mostly for kids (as toys) to enjoy the thrill of riding motorcycles. If you’re a motorsports enthusiast like myself, you probably have a pocket bike at home for your kids. With all the fun that your kids are having with their toy, you have may have wondered if adults can ride pocket bikes too.
Adults can ride pocket bikes. It’s a very fun experience but depending on your height and weight, it may not be a very comfortable one. A typical 40cc pocket bike has a load capacity of 150lbs and can travel up to 18 mph (29 km/h). The world average weight of adult males is 137lbs and the average height is 5 foot 7.5 inches (171.45 cm). This means that your pocket bike will not be able to go as fast if you weigh more than 150lbs. Most adult men will need to crunch their legs up while riding the pocket bike and will have difficulty turning corners.
Many adults own pocket bikes because they are fun and take up less space. Some serious adult riders even attend pocket bike races. This post will go over some of the things you need to know if you’re an adult looking to purchase and ride pocket bikes.
Are Pocket Bikes Legal in the United States and Canada? (What Adults Need to Know)
Pocket bikes are legal motorized vehicles but their usage is restricted by all States in the US and all Provinces in Canada. Let’s look at this in more detail below.
It is illegal to ride a pocket bike on public roads and streets in every State. Ahead of writing this article, I did research on this but wasn’t able to find any State that would allow pocket bikes to be driven on their pubic roads. Some states, like Washington, even prohibit riding pocket bikes on bike lanes.
There are good reasons for this:
- They are Too Small – Their small size makes it hard for other motorists to see you. Imagine pulling up next to a pick-up truck in a pocket bike. Can you really expect the truck driver of the truck to be able to see you in his mirror?
- They are Too Slow – They will probably do just fine in the inner streets but they will never be able to travel fast enough on the highway, which creates a hazard.
- They Don’t Have All the Safety Features – No turn signals, no brake lights, and no headlights make this bike not possible to be driven on the road or highway.
Keep in mind that the pocket bikes I am referring to in this article typically has a 40cc engine and has a height of about 2ft. There are bikes that are taller and longer and people call them “pocket bikes”.
If you’re unsure if you can drive your bike on the road, the best way to find out is to go to your DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and see if your bike can be registered.
The rules in Canada are similar to the United States. Provincial and Territorial governments regulate the usage of Pocket Bikes and have slightly different rules for each Province.
I was not able to find any provinces that specifically allowing pocket bikes to be driven on public roads or highways.
This list below are some links to each provincial/territorial regulator’s website regarding the usage of pocket bikes. It includes what I could find at the time of writing. I will update this page when more information becomes available in the future.
** Disclaimer: The information presented below is based on my own understanding of the material presented in each government/regulator website. Each province/territory may define pocket bikes differently. For example, pocket bikes can sometimes be referred to as “mini-bikes” or “off-road vehicle”. Also, not all provinces have information regarding these bikes. It’s up to you to do your due diligence before using your pocket bike.
- Alberta (PDF) – Information about Owning and Operating a Small Vehicle in Alberta.
- British Columbia – Information from ICBC regarding Pocket bikes (mini motorcycles).
- Manitoba – The Off-Road Vehicles Act of Manitoba. Pocket bikes are referred to as “mini-bikes” and are defined by the Act as “off-road vehicles”.
- New Brunswick – The Motor Vehicle Act of New Brunswick. Note: A pocket bike fits into the description of a “motorcycle” in the Act. However, I doubt that the province will let you license it.
- Nova Scotia (PDF) – OHV Handbook. Pocket bikes are referred to as “Mini Bikes” and are considered as “Off-Highway Vehicles”.
- Ontario – Off Road Vehicles Act of Ontario. A pocket bike is considered as an “off-road vehicle” as defined by the act.
- Prince Edward Island – Information on Off-Highway Vehicles which includes “Minibikes”. The PEI website specifies that minibikes are usually battery-operated.
- Quebec – Highway Safety Code of Quebec. Note: A pocket bike fits into the description of a “Moped” or “Scooter”. However, I doubt that the province will let you license it for public roads usage.
- Saskatchewan (PDF) – All Terrain Vehicles Act of Saskatchewan. Pocket bikes are referred to as “Mini-bike” and are considered as “all terrain vehicles”.
Using Pocket Bikes on Sidewalks
Most US States and Canadian Provinces require that pocket bikes be used on private property only. For example, the State of Texas prohibits the usage of pocket bikes on public roads, bike lanes, and sidewalks. It’s up to you to do your due diligence and to determine where you can ride your bike.