Are They Autocycles or Automobiles?

A few years ago, a new breed of automotive machine was introduced to roadways all over the country. These three-wheeled vehicles have qualities of both the car and the motorcycle wrapped up into a single package, and man can they be fun. However, these autocycles have proven to be difficult to deal with when it comes to roadway laws, and Colorado wants to be one of the first states to fix that.

Motorcycle v. Automobile: Just What Is an Autocycle?

With two front wheels to maneuver, a steering wheel and bucket seats, most people would be hard pressed to call an autocycle a motorcycle. But calling them an automobile is just as difficult considering their open canopy and their single rear wheel putting power to the pavement. This ambiguity has made things a bit difficult when it comes to lawmakers making autocycle regulations.

As of right now, two states have designated autocycles as automobiles. That means that in those states, these vehicles must come equipped with seatbelts, airbags and child safety seat restraints. This has made driving these vehicles difficult in those states since these features aren’t standard. For the other states that have labeled autocycles as motorcycles, the story isn’t much better.

In states where autocycles are considered motorcycles, anyone who drives them must comply with the state’s laws on motorcycles. So even though vehicles in these states don’t require car-like safety features, you must still have a motorcycle classification on your driver’s license to drive one, and you must wear all the safety gear required by law. This can leave many autocycle safety issues unaddressed, while requiring drivers to jump through many hoops, but Colorado is trying to address this problem.

HB17 1044 is a Colorado bill that clarifies what autocycles are, and what safety measures they should have. This law defines an autocycle as a three-wheeled vehicle that doesn’t use handlebars or other devices to steer a single front wheel. This rolls these vehicles into a motorcycle subtype, where regulations can be better tailored to the safety needs of the vehicle.

It will require autocycles to have safety belts and points to secure a child safety seat. However, it removes the requirement that autocycles have airbags and a roof that can support the weight of the whole vehicle while protecting its passengers.

Will this bill allow more Coloradoans to enjoy their autocycles? Will this set the standard for autocycle safety all over the country? Will this convince you to try this new motorcycle subtype? The motorcycling attorneys of the Metier Law Firm would love to hear your answers, so visit our Facebook and Twitter!

Here’s a look at more autocycle details from the experts at MotorWeek:

Tom Metier

Tom Metier

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