STATE TO REGULATE AUTOCYCLES

By Bob Katzen

The Transportation Committee held a virtual hearing on a bill that would regulate autocycles—3-wheeled motor vehicles which are a mix between a car and motorcycle.

These vehicles, unlike motorcycles which are controlled with the handlebars, typically have a steering wheel, foot pedals for brakes, a seat for the driver, occasionally seats for a passengers and an enclosed roof or open air like traditional motorcycles.

Current Massachusetts law classifies autocycles as motorcycles and requires a Class M Driver’s License to operate while the proposal would require a Class D license. The bill also will create a separate category of regulations for autocycles including requiring the wearing of helmets, the use of seat belts and a ban on children under eight years old from being a passenger.

“I filed [the bill] to responsibly regulate autocycle vehicles in a way that is good for the economy, public safety and consumers,” said House sponsor Rep. Bill Driscoll (D-Milton). “Legally defining these vehicles as an autocycle will allow for operation with a Class D license, facilitating interstate travel with our neighboring states, four out of five of which have autocycle definitions. This regulatory framework will reduce barriers to consumers and retailers, spurring more consumer choice and economic opportunity.”

“This bill responsibly regulates these innovative vehicles in a way that is good for consumers, the economy and public safety,” said Senate sponsor Sen. Nick Collins (D-Boston). “With regards to safety, the seating arrangement, steering wheel, rollover protection, lighting systems and seatbelts combine to ensure a much safer vehicle than a traditional two-wheeled motorcycle.”

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