What is a three-wheeled motor vehicle?

A three-wheeled motor vehicle is defined as any vehicle with two wheels in the front and one wheel in the rear, a steering mechanism, and seating that does not require the operator to straddle or sit astride. To be operated on New York State roadways, these vehicles must be equipped with safety belts for all occupants and manufactured to comply with federal motor vehicle safety standards for motorcycles. Common brand names of three-wheeled motor vehicles include the “Slingshot” and “T-REX” vehicles, as well as some others that are commonly marketed as Autocycles. 

Because three-wheeled motor vehicles are classified as motorcycles:

  • they must be registered.
  • they must be insured.
  • you must wear a US Department of Transportation-compliant motorcycle helmet and ANSI Z-87 eye protection when operating a three-wheeled motor vehicle.
  • you must have a valid Class A, B, C (commercial), Class D (automobile), Class DJ, Class E (for-hire), Class M (motorcycle), or Class MJ license or permit to operate. If you hold a learner permit, you may not drive unless accompanied by a supervising driver aged 21 or older who has a valid license.

You cannot use a three-wheeled motor vehicle as your representative vehicle when you take your road test.

You can find more information on registering, insuring, and operating three-wheeled motor vehicles (and all motorcycles) in the Motorcycle Manual.