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What the hell did I just see on the road?

You probably saw a Velomobile — Thats- french for Bicycle Car  

(or expensive bicycle)

A velomobile, sometimes called a velo  is a human-powered vehicle (HPV) enclosed in a streamlined aerodynamic shell for speed, efficiency, and protection from weather and collisions.  There is NO MOTOR inside the shell beyond the one that runs on mexcian food and cheap beer.   At least this one does.  

Similar to a recumbent bicycle, most velomobiles are a monocoque design, using the streamlined shell as part of the structure. Most velomobiles have three wheels, but some four.

A velomobile is a unique cycling experience that falls somewhere between riding a bike and driving a car. For this reason, velomobile cyclists often refer to themselves as Velonauts.

You lie back, look at the road ahead, pedal in a reclined/recumbent position at a much faster speed and much lower effort than a traditional bicycle will ever achieve.  Given similar rider fitness levels, Even a hideously expensive and wildly uncomfortable  time trial bike can’t keep up

 

Are Velomobiles Legal?

In every state of the union, and in pretty much every county velomobiles are considered bicycles. Generally under state definitions, A bicycle is a human-powered vehicle with two wheels in tandem design to transport by the act of pedaling one or more persons seated on one or more saddle seats on its frame. “Bicycle” includes, but is not limited to, a human-powered vehicle designed to transport by the act of pedaling which has more than two wheels when the vehicle is used on a public roadway, public bicycle path, or other public road or right-of-way

 

Down below we’ve linked in all the state laws concerning operations of a Bicycle on a roadway

 

 

Are Velomobiles Safe?

 

Yes. Velomobiles are quite possibly the safest form of cycling that exists (outside of indoors, and thats debatable)

Velomobiles can hold greater speeds with less energy than conventional bicycles. They are highly visible, and most are equipped with a full complement of headlamps, brake lamps, and turn signals.

Moreover they don’t look like a bicycle ..   They are the size of a refrigerator, brightly colored.   They “feel” like a car to other drivers.    Velomobiles get noticed in traffic, can keep up with traffic, and can communicate with traffic.  More importantly  velomobiles are typically a monocoque  closed shell machine – which is like wearing a bicycle helmet that covers your entire body.    Skin to ground contact is limited – if at all during an accident .. and the Carbon Fiber shell protects the rider like a modern day cocoon.   Can you get hurt?  yes, of course.   There’s no magic here, but the amount of physical injury should something terrible happen could be greatly reduced.

What makes a velomobile so fast?

 (That thing was really moving, are you sure there’s no motor?)

Aerodynamics. As your speed approaches and exceeds 15 MPH, a cyclist is no longer pedaling against rolling resistance or weight, but the air itself.  The faster the cyclists pedals the more pressure is built up.

Most bicycles punch through the air with brute force, leaving aerodynamic chaos in their wake.

Rainer Pivit in 1990 did a very scientific analysis on this subject.     The graph from his work shows that above a very small speed aerodynamic drag plays more or a role than any other function of bicycle operation.    The full translated paper can be found here :  here and the original german  here:   Velomobiles take advantage of this,  the original Gold Rush was a simple faired recumbent.   A velomobile has a significantly lowered aero profile, typically with a CdA below 1%

This means a velomobile is going to go a LOT faster than a regular bicycle in the same situations

State Laws Below — Click on the state name to open it.

Alabama

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Alabama are generally found in Title 32 of the Code of Alabama (Ala. Code) available here http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/codeofalabama/1975/coatoc.htm.

 

Alaska

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Alabama are generally found in Title 32 of the Code of Alabama (Ala. Code) available here http://alisondb.legislature.state.al.us/acas/codeofalabama/1975/coatoc.htm.

 

Arizona

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Arizona are generally found in Title 28 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (Ariz. Rev. Stat.), available here http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp?Title=28.

 

Arkansas

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Arkansas are generally found in Title 27 of the Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated Official Edition (Ark. Code Ann.), available here http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/arcode/Default.asp.

 

California

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of California are generally found in the California Vehicle Code (Cal. Veh. Code), available here http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/vc/tocd11c1a4.htm.

Other Resources

 

Colorado

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Colorado are generally found in the Colorado Revised Statutes (Colo. Rev. Stat.), available here http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/Colorado/.

 

Connecticut

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Connecticut are generally found in the Connecticut General Statutes (Conn. Gen. Stat.), available here: http://search.cga.state.ct.us/dtsearch_pub_statutes.html.

 

Delaware

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Delaware are generally found in Title 21, Chapter 41 of the Delaware Code (Del. Code Ann.) available here http://delcode.delaware.gov/index.shtml.

 

District of Columbia

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the District of Columbia are generally found in the District of Columbia Municipal Code (D.C. Mun. Regs.), available here http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/

 

Florida

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Florida are generally found in Title XXIII of the Florida Statutes (Fla. Stat.), available here http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm.

 

Georgia

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Georgia are generally found in the Georgia Code (Ga. Code Ann.), available here http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/gacode/.

 

Hawaii

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Hawaii are generally found in the Hawaii Revised Statutes (Haw. Rev. Stat.), available here http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.

 

Idaho

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Idaho are generally found in Title 49, Chapter 7 of the Idaho Code (Idaho Code Ann.), available here http://legislature.idaho.gov/idstat/TOC/IDStatutesTOC.htm.

 

Illinois

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Illinois are generally found in the Illinois Vehicle Code which is found in Chapter 625 Section 5 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (Ill. Comp. Stat.), available here http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1815&ChapterID=49.

 

Indiana

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Indiana are generally found in Title 9, Article 21 of the Indiana Code (Ind. Code), available here http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title9/.

 

Iowa

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Iowa are generally found in Title VIII, Chapter 321 of the Iowa Code (Iowa Code), available here http://search.legis.state.ia.us/nxt/gateway.dll/ic?f=templates&fn=default.htm.

 

Kansas

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Kansas are generally found in Chapter 8, Article 15 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated (Kan. Stat. Ann.), available here http://kslegislature.org/li/b2011_12/statute/.

 

Kentucky

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Kentucky are generally found in the Kentucky Administrative Code (KAR), available here: http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/kar/601/014/020.htm. Laws regulating vehicles are also generally applicable to bicycles and are found in the Kentucky Revised Statutes (Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann.), available here: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/search.htm.

 

Louisiana

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Louisiana are generally found in Title 32 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes (La. Rev. Stat. Ann.), available here: http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/LawSearch.aspx.

 

Maine

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Maine are generally found in Title 29-A of the Maine Revised Statutes (Me. Rev. Stat.), available here: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/search.htm.

 

Maryland

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Maryland are generally found in Title 21 of the Code of Maryland (Md. Code Ann.), available here: http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mdcode/.

 

Massachusetts

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Massachusetts are generally found in Title XIV Chapter 85 Section 11B of the General Laws of Massachusetts (Mass. Gen. Laws.), available here http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter85/Section11B.

 

Michigan

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Michigan are generally found in Chapter 257 of the Michigan Compiled Laws (Mich. Comp. Laws), available here http://www.legislature.mi.gov/%28S%28awasi3bkmkduuvfsexvoryai%29%29/mileg.aspx?page=mclbasicsearch.

 

Minnesota

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Minnesota are generally found in Chapter 169 of the Minnesota Statutes (Minn. Stat.), available here https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.  

 

Mississippi

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Mississippi are generally found in Title 63 of the Mississippi Code (Miss. Code Ann.), available here http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/mscode/.

 

Missouri

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Missouri are generally found in the Missouri Revised Statutes (Mo. Rev. Stat.), available here http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/statutes.htm.

 

Montana

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Montana are generally found in Chapter 61 of the Montana Code Annotated (Mont. Code Ann.), available here http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/index.htm.  

 

Nebraska

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Nebraska are generally found in Chapter 60 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat.), available here http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/laws.php.

 

Nevada

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Nevada are generally found in Chapter 484B of the Nevada Revised Statutes (Nev. Rev. Stat.), available here: http://www.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS-484B.html, or here: http://search.leg.state.nv.us/NRS/NRS.html.  

 

New Hampshire

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of New Hampshire are generally found in Chapter 265 of the New Hampshire Revised Statutes (N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann.), available here http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/indexes/search.html.  

 

New Jersey

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of New Jersey are generally found in Chapter 39 of the New Jersey Permanent Statutes (N.J. Stat. Ann.), available here http://lis.njleg.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/om_isapi.dll?clientID=410167&depth=2&expandheadings=off&headingswithhits=on&infobase=statutes.nfo&softpage=TOC_Frame_Pg42.

 

New Mexico

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of New Mexico are generally found in Chapter 66 of the New Mexico Statutes Annotated (N.M. Stat. Ann.), available here http://www.nmonesource.com/nmnxtadmin/NMPublic.aspx.  

 

New York

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of New York are generally found in Title 7, Article 34 of the Vehicle & Traffic Consolidated Laws of New York (N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law), available here http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/lawssrch.cgi?NVLWO:

 

North Carolina

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of North Carolina are generally found in Chapter 20 of the North Carolina General Statutes (N.C. Gen. Stat.), available here http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/Statutes/StatutesTOC.pl.

 

North Dakota

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of North Dakota are generally found in Title 39 of the North Dakota Century Code (N.D. Cent. Code), available here http://www.legis.nd.gov/information/statutes/cent-code.html.

 

Ohio

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Ohio are generally found in Title 45 of the Ohio Revised Code (Ohio Rev. Code Ann.), available here http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/45.  

 

Oklahoma

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Oklahoma are generally found in Title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes (Okla. Stat.), available here http://www.oklegislature.gov/osstatuestitle.html.

 

Oregon

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Oregon are generally found in Volume 17 of the Oregon Revised Statutes (Or. Rev. Stat.), available here: http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/.

 

Pennsylvania

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Pennsylvania are generally found in Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (Pa. Cons. Stat.), available here: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/li/public/cons_index.cfm.  

 

Rhode Island

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Rhode Island are generally found in Title 31 of the Rhode Island General Statutes (R.I. Gen. Laws), available here: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/.

 

South Carolina

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of South Carolina are generally found in Title 56 of the South Carolina Code of Laws (S.C. Code Ann.), available here: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/title56.php.  

 

South Dakota

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of South Dakota are generally found in Title 32 of the South Dakota Codified Laws (S.D. Codified Laws), available here: http://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/index.aspx.  

 

Tennessee

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Tennessee are generally found in Title 55 of the Tennessee Code Annotated (Tex. Code Ann.), available here:  http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/.

 

Texas

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Texas are generally found in Titles 545 and 551 of the Texas Statutes (TS), available here: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Search.aspx.

 

Utah

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Utah are generally found in Title 41 of the Utah Code (Utah Code Ann.), available here: http://www.le.state.ut.us/Documents/code_const.htm

 

Vermont

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Vermont are generally found in Title 23 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated (Vt. Stat. Ann.), available here:  http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutesMain.cfm

 

Virginia

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Virginia are generally found in Title 46.2 of the Code of Virginia (Va. Code Ann.), available here:  http://leg1.state.va.us/000/src.htm

 

Washington

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Washington are generally found in Title 46 of the Revised Code of Washington (Wash. Rev. Code), available here:  http://search.leg.wa.gov/.

 

West Virginia

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of West Virginia are generally found in Chapter 17C of the West Virginia Code (W. Va. Code), available here: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/Code.cfm. 

 

Wisconsin

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Wisconsin are generally found in Chapter 346 of the Wisconsin Statutes (Wis. Stat.), available here:  https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/prefaces/toc.

 

Wyoming

The laws regulating the operation of bicycles in the state of Wyoming are generally found in Title 31 of the Wyoming Statutes (Wyo. Stat. Ann.), available here http://legisweb.state.wy.us/statutes/statutes.aspx?file=titles/Title31/Title31.htm