“Autocycle” law creates new class for three wheelers in Kansas

“Autocycle” law creates new class for three wheelers in Kansas

Posted by Ben Baker on Jul 9th 2016

A new Kansas law may be the vanguard of changes across the nation for those who ride trikes.

The law creates an “autocycle” category for Sunflower State riders.

The new Kansas law defines “autocycle” as “a three-wheel motorcycle that has a steering wheel and seating that does not require the operator to straddle or sit astride it.” The law specifically excludes three-wheeled ATVs from this new category by leaving the ATV definition intact. Because of the seating and steering requirement, trikes that are modified motorcycles are not considered autocycles.

Supporters of the law point to the differences between a regular two-wheeler or a trike and the autocycle. These differences, they said, are significant enough to create a new class of vehicle in the state’s laws.

The Sunflower State’s new law also says an autocycle rider only needs a Class C license, not a Class M. The Class M license is specifically not allowed for autocycles. Federal law says any vehicle with less than four wheels is a motorcycle. The federal regulations say people who drive such rides should have a Class M license to ride legally on public roads.

Some other provisions of the law are:

  • A helmet is not required.

  • Kids who are riding must have age- and size-appropriate safety seats.

  • Safety belts are required.

The law was greeted with enthusiasm by many. Joel Sheltrown is a vice president at Elio Motors. They plan to start making autocycles in 2016. The company already has a waiting list for the new rides. Sheltrown told, ““My customer base, a lot of them, don’t have motorcycle licenses and they’re not going to go out and rent a motorcycle, learn how to drive it, go down and take a test just so they can drive our vehicle, especially seniors.”

Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady helped draft the bill. In written testimony to the committee, he used the Elio design as an example of the kind of ride covered by the bill. “The Elio autocycle will have automotive driving controls such as a steering wheel, an accelerator/brake/clutch pedals, seats and seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, a traction-control system and a newly designed automotive engine. The cabin is enclosed with a roll cage and holds two people, sitting one behind the other. These vehicles are not necessarily cars and aren’t necessarily motorcycles,” he said.