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Is a 3-wheeled bike safer than a motorcycle?

Three-wheeled vehicles have been growing more popular, especially with elderly riders who used to ride motorcycles and no longer feel safe doing so. People also enjoy their sporty looks and the way that some, like the Polaris Slingshot, have bucket seats like a car. But is this three-wheeled vehicle safer than a motorcycle?

First of all, it's important to note that not all states call these vehicles motorcycles. Tennessee technically calls the Slingshot an autocycle, for example, and you only need a driver's license to use one, not a motorcycle license.

There are certainly some features that can make the slingshot easier to drive, which can make it safer. It balances on its own, for instance, reducing the risks if you hit a rough patch on the road. You don't have to stand it up with your foot at a stoplight. In a lot of ways, it feels more like riding in a car.

However, as Polaris notes on their own website, it's not a car. They consider it a motorcycle. It doesn't have to have safety features that modern cars are required to have, like airbags. It falls short of automotive safety standards. It's much smaller than a car and the driver is more exposed. It does have a seat belt, but drivers are encouraged to wear helmets, as they would on a motorcycle.

If you're driving one of these and you're involved in an accident caused by another driver, even though you don't need a motorcycle license, your injuries could be very similar to those suffered in a motorcycle crash. You must know your rights to financial compensation.

Source: Polaris, "License Requirements," accessed March 09, 2017

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