Most motorized tricycles are identified by three wheels and recognized as three-wheeled motorcycles under North Carolina law, but there is another type of three-wheeled motorized vehicle that was granted its own definition state-wide. Autocycles are three-wheeled two-passenger vehicles, unlike a three-wheeled motorcycle, an autocycle is enclosed, has air bags, structural accident reinforcement, a steering wheel, and seat belts.
Before October 1, 2015, North Carolina law recognized autocycles as part of the same regulations as motorcycles. This would have required the operator to have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver license. Also, both the driver and passenger would have been required to wear DOT-approved helmets.
House Bill 6 Autocycle Definition and Regulation went into effect on October 1, 2016. It provides that autocycles receive their own definition for state regulation and that vehicles may be operated by individuals with a "regular drivers license." North Carolina law also imposes equipment requirements for autocycles:
Every autocycle registered in this State shall be equipped with seat safety belts for the front seats of the autocycle. The seat safety belts shall meet the same construction, design, and strength requirements under this section for seat safety belts in motor vehicles...
...Every autocycle registered in this State shall be equipped with sufficient anchorage units at the attachment points for attaching seat safety belts for the rear seat of the autocycle. The anchorage unit shall meet the same construction, design, and strength requirements under this section for anchorage units in motor vehicles."
Individuals should be aware that autocycles are not approved vehicles for road tests.
As with any vehicle, individuals should research various types of insurance options. How much insurance should you have and what kinds? Raleigh injury lawyer Brent Adams encourages others to have as much insurance as they can afford. Learn about different types of insurance coverage like MedPay you can ask your provider about.
Curious about other changes to North Carolina law affecting vehicles? Earlier this year a new registration requirement went into effect for mopeds. You can also follow our Raleigh injury lawyers on Facebook and Twitter @brentadamslaw for real-time updates.