Although not advisable, it’s probably not against the law to hoverboard (or segway) drunk in Oklahoma. Determining the legality of this requires knowing the definition of a “motor vehicle” in Oklahoma and applying the exceptions. Even though you may be able to lawfully hoverboard under the influence, a law enforcement officer may not be as savvy about the definitions as you and still arrest you for DUI.
Definition of Motor Vehicle in Oklahoma
Oklahoma defines “motor vehicle” as:
- Any vehicle that is self-propelled; or
- Any vehicle that is propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires, but not operated upon rails.
Exceptions to Motor Vehicle Definition
“Motor vehicle” does not include:
- Implements of husbandry;
- Electric personal assistive mobility devices;
- Motorized wheelchairs;
- Vehicles moved solely by human or animal power; or
- Electric-assisted bicycles.
Note that “electric-assisted bicycles” is a new exception to the definition of a motor vehicle as of 2019.
Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices
A hoverboard would most likely be considered an “electrical personal assistive mobility device.” These are defined as a self-balancing, two nontandem-wheeled device, designed to transport only one person, having an electric propulsion system with an average of 750 watts (1 h.p.), and a maximum speed of less than 20 miles per hour on a paved level surface when powered solely by such a propulsion system while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds. The hoverboard I own goes up to 7.5 mph for riders up to 165 lbs, so I think I’m good! A Segway PT can reach 12.5 mph.
A motorized wheelchair is any self-propelled vehicle, designed for and used by a person with a disability, that’s incapable of going faster than 8 miles per hour. I think this is pretty self explanatory.
Implements of Husbandry
An implement of husbandry is every device, whether it’s self-propelled, designed and adapted so as to be used exclusively for agricultural, horticultural, or livestock-raising operations, or for lifting or carrying an implement of husbandry that is not not subject to registration if operated upon the highways. The following constitute implements of husbandry:
- Farm wagon type tank trailers of not 1,200 gallons capacity, used during the liquid fertilizer season as field storage “nurse tanks” supplying the fertilizer to a field applicator and moved on highways only for bringing the fertilizer from a local source of supply to farms or field or from one farm or field to another;
- Trailers or semitrailers owned by a person engaged in the business of farming and used exclusively for the purpose of transporting farm products to market or for the purpose of transporting to the farm material or things to be used thereon. However, a truck or semitrailer with an axle weight of 20,000 pounds or more, which is used to haul manure and operated on public roads or highways is not considered an implement of husbandry.
- Utility-type, all-terrain vehicles with a maximum curb weight of $1,500 pounds that are equipped with metal front or rear carrying racks when used for agricultural, horticultural, or livestock-raising operations.
New exception in 2019! The definition of electric-assisted bicycles also changed in 2019. An electric-assisted bicycle is any bicycle with:
- Two or three wheels; and
- Fully operative pedals for human propulsion and equipped with an electric motor with a power output of not more than 750 watts that meets the requirements of one of the following three classes:
- “Class 1 electric-assisted bicycle” is an electric-assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 miles per hour,
- “Class 2 electric-assisted bicycle” is an electric-assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches 20 miles per hour, and
- “Class 3 electric-assisted bicycle” is an electric-assisted bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches 28 miles per hour.
An electric-assisted bicycle must meet the manufacturing and equipment requirements adopted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for bicycles and has to operate in such a manner that the electric motor disengages or ceases to function when the rider stops pedaling or the brakes are applied.
Things that ARE Motor Vehicles in Oklahoma
The following are self-propelled vehicles that don’t fit into an exception to the definition of motor vehicle in Oklahoma.
A motorized bicycle is any bicycle having:
- Fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power;
- A power drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged; and
- A combustion engine with a piston or rotor displacement of 80 cubic centimeters or less, regardless of the number of chambers in the engine, which is capable of propelling the bicycle at a maximum design speed of not more than 35 miles per hour on level ground.
The term “bicycle” includes tricycles, quadcycles, or similar human-powered devices, electric-assisted bicycles, and motorized bicycles unless otherwise specifically indicated.
A motor-driven cycle is any motor vehicle having:
- A power source that:
- if the power source is a combustion engine, has a piston or rotor displacement of greater than 35 cubic centimeters but less than 150 cubic centimeters regardless of the number of chambers in the power source,
- if the power source is electric, has a power output of greater than 1,000 watts; and
- A seat or saddle for the use of each rider; and
- Not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
Low-Speed Electric Vehicle
“Low-speed electrical vehicle” means any four-wheeled electrical vehicle that’s powered by an electric motor that draws current from rechargeable storage batteries or other sources of electrical current and whose top speed is greater than 20 miles per hour but not greater than 25 miles per hour. It also much be manufactured in compliance with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards for low-speed vehicles in 49 C.F.R. 571.500. This means your kid’s Power Wheels wouldn’t be considered a low-speed electric vehicle.
A “motorized scooter” is any vehicle having:
- Not more than three wheels in contact with the ground;
- Handlebars and a foot support or seat for the use of the operator;
- A power source that is capable of propelling the vehicle at a maximum design speed of not more than 25 miles per hour on level ground, and:
- if the power source is a combustion engine, has a piston or rotor displacement of 35 cubic centimeters or less regardless of the number of chambers in the power source,
- if the power source is electric, has a power output of not more than 1,000 watts.
A Bird/Lime scooter would likely fall under this category. An electric personal assistive mobility device, bicycle, electric-assisted bicycle, or motorized bicycle, is not considered a motorized scooter. A motorized scooter isn’t required to be registered . The operator of a motorized scooter doesn’t have to possess a driver license or to comply with Oklahoma’s vehicle insurance or financial responsibility laws.
A moped is a motor-driven cycle with a motor that produces no more than two brake horsepower and is not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed in excess of 35 miles per hour on level ground. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement cannot exceed 50 cc. A moped must have a power drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting by the operator after the drive system is engaged.
HB 1265 amended 47 O.S. §§ 1-104, 1-134, 11-1103, and 12-701. It created 47 O.S. § 11-1209. It went into effect on November 1, 2019.
Special thanks to Brian Morton with Hunsucker Legal Group for help with this article.
Sources: 47 O.S. §§ 1-133.2, 1-133.3, 1-134, 1-114A, 1-125, 1-104, 1-134.1, 1-136, 1-136.3, and HB 1265
Current as of March 29, 2020. Laws are subject to change at any time! Go to the sources cited above for the most up-to-date law.