For the past several months there have been battles over the legality of the Xebras and other 3-wheeled electric vehicles. For example, the state of Maine has made them illegal on the basis that they do not have handlebars and therefore could not be considered motorcycles, but they don't have 4 wheels, so they can't be cars either. Therefore they must not exist. (Okay so I added some humor in there, but honestly, no handlebars?) Here is an article about the most recent developments in Maine, and here is the copy of the proposed bill. Now interestingly, they still will require you to have a motorcycle endorsement, but will not allow you to take the test in the Xebra. Also, anyone under the age of 15 is still required to wear a helmet.
There have also been issues in Massachusetts. I believe the issue there was that enclosed 3-wheeled vehicles are not allowed to carry more than one person. Their recent legislature has opened up a new section known as "Medium Speed Vehicles" which includes 3 wheeled electric cars. However, they are not allowed to exceed 40 mph and are not allowed on roads with limits exceeding 40 mph. So what happens when the Alias comes to town?
My own struggle in Arkansas has had no such issues to date, thank goodness. We have had several of the Xebra's registered without a fuss. Of course it is quite scary that we allow people to test for their endorsement in the Xebra, giving them future rights to drive any type of real motorcycle. Anyways, after seeing the problems other states were having I decided to look at our own law. Happily we allow 3-wheeled vehicles to be registered as motorcycles but there are a few snags that could cause significant problems if anyone ever notices.
- We require head protection for anyone under 21.
- You have to be wearing glasses or a protective eye shield.
- The vehicle must possess a standard muffler.
- It is illegal for more than two people to be on/in a motorcycle.
This is why I am currently working on a bill that will clear up these issues. After working with a legislator and now with a legislative attorney, we have decided to propose a new definition for our Motorcycle subchapter: Autocycles. With this definition we should be able to clear up any misunderstandings while still allowing them to be registered and insured as motorcycles.
Hopefully this information will be helpful in case anyone else discovers problems with registering Xebras in their state. (Or worse in the case of Maine where they revoke your registration after deciding that they really didn't fit in the law properly.)