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The Rise of the Autocycle

Transportation options are always evolving, and the rise of the autocycle is one example of this phenomenon. You may be wondering what an autocycle is, exactly. Essentially part car, part motorcycle, the autocycle is not an easy vehicle to classify.

Functional, Fun and Fashionable

The autocycle has many faces. It can be a handy utility vehicle for quick transportation. Check out the Arcimoto, which bills itself as a “fun utility vehicle.” Then there’s the “commuter vehicle” put out by Elio Motors. It seems to be a very practical vehicle to get you to and from the job without the bulk and expense of a car. And for those who are inclined to want more sophistication in their autocycle, there is the Venice, put out by Vanderhall Motor Works.

These three-wheeled vehicles provide you with a new means of transportation for a variety of venues. Some auto cycles have only a driver’s seat, while others provide room for passengers. They all have a three-wheel design and a steering wheel.

Vehicle Classification Challenges

Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to clearly classify these vehicles separate from cars or motorcycles, some states have decided to have a motorcycle sub-classification for the autocycle.

Under federal regulations, the autocycle remains a type of motorcycle and therefore is required to meet the same standards for manufacturing and safety as motorcycles. In fact, there have been motorized three-wheeled vehicles on the road for a while, but only recently has it become more of a trend.

Some companies, such as Minnesota-based Polaris, have three-wheeled vehicles that could be called an autocycle, but they define as a three-wheeled motorcycle.  The Polaris Slingshot is an example of such a vehicle.

Complications of Registration for the Autocycle

With the rise of the autocycle has come the problem of registering the vehicles. Some are obviously more akin to three-wheeled motorcycles, but others stand decidedly somewhere between a three-wheeled car and a motorcycle. In some states, they are considered motorcycles, in others, whether or not they are street-legal is in question.

Regardless of classification or registration, operating one of these vehicles is still a matter of following the rules of the road. Safety is an issue with any vehicle, and autocycles are not exempt. You’ll no doubt be seeing more of these on the road, and you may even have one yourself. Enjoy the moment and be safe.

Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., are specialists in personal injury law. We proudly serve communities in and around our offices located in Port Charlotte, Englewood and North Port. If you are looking for excellent legal representation for your personal injury case, contact us. Your first consultation is on us.

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