The Bikers Den

State of Maryland Legalizes Autocycles

After a year has long passed the Maryland lawmakers in Annapolis have finally accepted the Polaris Slingshot as a registrable, legal vehicle.  Not that anyone was slowed down in getting one while the debate on the vehicle was underway- just drive north or south for about an hour to either PA or VA and the Polaris dealer located there would gladly sell you a Slingshot.  Since the release last year you didn’t need to search too hard to find an “illegal” slingshot.  Just roll by a biker bar, visit a biker meetup or look around at a popular attraction like the Inner Harbor and you were bound to find a few Slingshots.

Much of the debate surrounded on how to classify the vehicle- a motorcycle or a car?  It took all of the time to determine it was neither!  It’s designated as a autocycle- 3 wheel, side by side seating, open cockpit, no state emissions testing required and a modified set of inspection criteria.  The required license for a Slingshot is a car license or higher- if you only have a motorcycle license you can’t legally drive a Slingshot.

While all of this was being put together:

  • MD lost considerable tax revenue since dealers were not selling these and collecting tax for the state
  • Polaris dealers in the state lost the sales to neighboring states
  • MD lost registration fees for the Slingshots bought and registered out of state
  • Rider safety was compromised- I did not see one Slingshot rider wearing a helmet

Its all just a bit sad.  Maryland was one of the last states (if not the last) to address the classification.  They had at least 48 other state laws to use as a model but the feet dragging was mind numbing.  It will be interesting to watch how they handle to next new vehicle types that are inevitable to hit the market in the next few years.


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