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What does Minnesota law say about motorized bicycles?

Question: I am moving to Minnesota soon and have a revoked license there I am working on resolving. I have gone over all the laws I can find but wanted a slightly clearer answer on the motorized bicycle license. I understand it's not the same as a motorcycle license but if your regular driver's license is suspended, is it possible to obtain the motorized bicycle permit or do you need to get your regular driver's license reinstated first?

Answer: First, Minnesota statute 171.02 sb 3 covers the motorized bicycle operator's permit or license requirement. It states in part: (a) A motorized bicycle may not be operated on any public roadway by any person who does not possess a valid driver's license, unless the person has obtained a motorized bicycle operator's permit or motorized bicycle instruction permit from the commissioner of public safety. The operator's permit may be issued to any person who has attained the age of 15 years and who has passed the examination prescribed by the commissioner. The instruction permit may be issued to any person who has attained the age of 15 years and who has successfully completed an approved safety course and passed the written portion of the examination prescribed by the commissioner.

Second, in Minnesota you have the privilege to drive on public roads and show you have the privilege by possession of a driver's license. When your driving privileges are revoked we say that your driver's license is revoked. It appears you may be stuck on the "license" being revoked and therefore you want a permit instead. It is not just your "license" that is revoked, it is your "driving privileges" in Minnesota that are revoked. I checked with the driver examiners office in Detroit Lakes and since your "driving privileges" are revoked you cannot obtain some other kind of permit to drive in MN. The best advice I can give you is to get that revoked status taken care of.

Parents, don't just hand over the keys to your new driver. Please take the time to ride with them and let them gain experience before allowing them to face the dangers of a public road on their own.

If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws in Minnesota, send your questions to Trooper Andy Schmidt, Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. Or reach me at