Polaris Slingshot Gets Reclassified In Three More States

Polaris recently announced its Slingshot model gets reclassified in three more states as a vehicle that doesn’t need a motorcycle endorsement or license to be operated on public roads. The 30 states where this was implemented are now joined by New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
2017 Polaris Slingshot 1 photo
Photo: Polaris
The somehow unusual configuration of the Slingshot gave state governments many headaches regarding its classification. And although Polaris declares it a three-wheeled roadster, or ‘autocycle’, owners needed a motorcycle permit to ride one in 2014 when it was launched.

However, apart from the single rear wheel, the Slingshot has nothing in common with a motorcycle. It has a steering wheel, pedals, a five-speed manual transmission, two front wheels, and even side-by-side bucket seats.

“We are proactively educating state officials about the characteristics and unique attributes of the Slingshot. As we do this, they are realizing the licensing requirements for the roadster share more similarities to a car rather than a motorcycle,” Slingshot's marketing manager Rachael Elia said. “Our goal is to gain a unified classification across the country to provide more opportunities and driving freedom for consumers looking for the ultimate thrill experience that the bold three-wheeled roadster offers.”

With the addition of the three new regions recently, there are now 33 states that have acknowledged the Slingshot’s peculiarities and allow driving it on public roads with a standard driving license.

The remaining states require a motorcycle endorsement, but efforts are underway to reclassify the vehicle to gain full conformity throughout the United States.

You’d be tempted to say that all this is nonsense and the Slingshot should be considered a car by default since it offers all the controls and aspects of a roadster, but you’d be a bit wrong.

That’s because a passenger car now legally has to be fitted with airbags as standard and be subjected to crash tests. None of these are coming with the Slingshot, reason why Polaris also encourages owners to buy helmets and other safety gear.

Declaring the product as a less safe motorcycle or, this case ‘autocycle’, spares the manufacturer the additional costs while also letting it provide customers an unaltered driving experience.
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