States Wrestle With How to Regulate 3-Wheeled Autocycles - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

States Wrestle With How to Regulate 3-Wheeled Autocycles

Posted: Updated:
In this Aug. 14, 2014 file photo, the Elio, a three-wheeled prototype vehicle rolls in traffic in Royal Oak, Mich. (Photo: AP) In this Aug. 14, 2014 file photo, the Elio, a three-wheeled prototype vehicle rolls in traffic in Royal Oak, Mich. (Photo: AP)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)- It's more than a motorcycle and less than a car. It's an autocycle. And states are wrestling with how best to regulate this new type of vehicle.
    
Rhode Island has joined dozens of other states in enacting rules classifying the autocycle and allowing drivers to operate one without a motorcycle license or endorsement. Maryland also has new rules that it began publicizing Monday.
    
Autocycles have three wheels, typically two in the back and one in the front. They also have steering wheels, foot pedals and are sometimes enclosed. Some are designed for fun and others for fuel efficiency; they range in price from $6,800 to as much as $65,000.
    
John Gablinske, 60, has been riding motorcycles for four decades, but his advancing age and the loss of some of his fingers left him looking for an alternative. The Bristol, Rhode Island, resident found what he was looking for this year at a Massachusetts store selling the Polaris Slingshot.
    
He describes the two-seat, three-wheeled convertible as like an "adult go-kart," but one he can ride with his wife on roads and highways at normal speeds.
    
"It gives me the feeling of openness without having to ride a motorcycle," Gablinske said. "I was all excited. Then I went to the registry and come to find out, they were illegal in Rhode Island."
    
Manufacturers, including Medina, Minnesota-based Polaris Industries, have spent years lobbying states to legalize the vehicles and distinguish them from motorcycles so it's easier for consumers to get one without knowing how to drive a two-wheeled vehicle. They've also pushed to exempt riders of autocycles from having to wear a helmet, especially if the vehicle has a hard top.
    
Among the most vocal lobbyists has been a company that hasn't yet rolled out any of its futuristic-looking vehicles: Phoenix-based Elio Motors. Touting the fuel efficiency of its prototypes, the company has already made more than 55,000 pre-sale reservations. After years of delays, it plans to begin mass assembly of its vehicles at a Shreveport, Louisiana, plant next year.
    
"You get your government stuff done first," said Joel Sheltrown, Elio's vice president of governmental affairs and a former Michigan legislator.
    
Beginning in 2014 with his home state of Michigan, Sheltrown has worked from Vermont to Idaho, persuading state governments to pass legislation allowing the three-wheelers on the road.
    
Many of them have, but laws vary from state to state. Some require seat belts, air bags and roll cages. Others require helmets but make exceptions based on the age of the driver and whether the vehicle's cab is open or closed.
    
In Maryland, where the state transportation agency held an event Monday to publicize new rules, helmets are required with a convertible but not with a hard top. The rules took effect last month.
    
Rhode Island's autocycle law was enacted last month.
    
"Rhode Island did what I needed them to do, which is to exempt from helmets and exempt from the (motorcycle) endorsement requirements," Sheltrown said.
    
Gablinske wasted no time and is already riding his autocycle around his coastal town.
    
"It's so exotic," he said. "You're like a celebrity everywhere you go."
    

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Jurors Hear Closing Remarks in Trial Over Deadly Delaware Prison Riot

    Jurors Hear Closing Remarks in Trial Over Deadly Delaware Prison Riot

    Thursday, November 15 2018 2:41 PM EST2018-11-15 19:41:54 GMT
    Thursday, November 15 2018 2:41 PM EST2018-11-15 19:41:54 GMT
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)
    The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. is shown Feb. 1, 2017, the date when a deadly inmate riot started. (Photo: AP)
    Jurors are hearing closing arguments in the trial of three Delaware inmates charged in a prison riot in which a correctional officer was killed and three other staffers taken hostage.More
    Jurors are hearing closing arguments in the trial of three Delaware inmates charged in a prison riot in which a correctional officer was killed and three other staffers taken hostage.       More
  • Maryland's Attorney General Appeals Redistricting Decision

    Maryland's Attorney General Appeals Redistricting Decision

    Thursday, November 15 2018 1:04 PM EST2018-11-15 18:04:08 GMT
    Thursday, November 15 2018 2:20 PM EST2018-11-15 19:20:26 GMT
    (Photo: MGN Online)(Photo: MGN Online)
    (Photo: MGN Online)(Photo: MGN Online)
    Maryland's attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review an order for state officials to draw up a new congressional redistricting plan that isn't tainted by partisan gerrymandering.More
    Maryland's attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review an order for state officials to draw up a new congressional redistricting plan that isn't tainted by partisan gerrymandering.           More
  • Updated: Police ID Pickup Driver Killed in Cheswold Crash

    Updated: Police ID Pickup Driver Killed in Cheswold Crash

    Wednesday, November 14 2018 9:51 AM EST2018-11-14 14:51:57 GMT
    Thursday, November 15 2018 2:00 PM EST2018-11-15 19:00:26 GMT
    Delaware State Police have released the name of a 42-year-old Kenton man who died after his pickup truck collided with a tour bus near Cheswold late Tuesday night.More
    Delaware State Police have released the name of a 42-year-old man who died after his pickup truck collided with a tour bus near Cheswold late Tuesday night. More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • What a Nor'easter Means

    What a Nor'easter Means

    Meteorologist Heidi Werosta tells what the weather phenomenon, known as a nor'easter, is.

    More

    Meteorologist Heidi Werosta tells what the weather phenomenon, known as a nor'easter, is.

    More
  • Rehoboth Man Has Over 1 Million Seashells

    Rehoboth Man Has Over 1 Million Seashells

    One man on Delmarva has turned his love for seashell collecting into a life-long passion. 

    Larry Mann has a beach house in Rehoboth where he spends his summers, mainly walking along the shore. 
    He is an attorney who represents every railroad worker in the country and he said it's tense at times.
    More
    One man on Delmarva has turned his love for seashell collecting into a life-long passion.  
    More
  • "Afterfly" Event Raises Criticism About Kent County Noise Restrictions

    "Afterfly" Event Raises Criticism About Kent County Noise Restrictions

    Organizers of an event that takes place about the same time as Dover's Firefly Music Festival are coming under fire from some neighbors and a Kent County commissioner over noise complaints.

    Levy Court commissioners on Tuesday held a lengthy discussion about nuisance noise laws in light of "Afterfly," a multi-day musical and camping event held near Dover off Persimmon Tree Lane that is not affiliated with AEG Worldwide's annual music festival in Dover.

    More

    Organizers of an event that takes place about the same time as Dover's Firefly Music Festival are coming under fire from some neighbors and a Kent County commissioner over noise complaints.

    Levy Court commissioners on Tuesday held a lengthy discussion about nuisance noise laws in light of "Afterfly," a multi-day musical and camping event held near Dover off Persimmon Tree Lane that is not affiliated with AEG Worldwide's annual music festival in Dover.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices