Autocycle vs. Motorcycle: What are the Differences?

autocycle vs. motorcycle

The popularity of the three-wheeled vehicle has increased over the last few years as well as the production, specifically Polaris Slingshots. While the autocycle does not have a vehicle classification, it falls under the definition of a “motorcycle.” But, there are key differences between motorcycles and autocycles with their laws and how they operate. We have compiled answers to frequently asked questions about autocycles vs. motorcycles.


How is an autocycle different from a motorcycle?

Autocycles come in various forms, where one looks more like a car and the other a motorcycle. Distinguishing factors between motorcycles and the autocycle include:

  • 3-wheels commonly seen 2 in the front and 1 in the back.
  • Equipped with safety belts, steering wheel, and bucket seats.
  • Driven like a car with foot pedals rather than controls on handlebars.
  • It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds.


Ohio License Requirements


  • Motorcycle License
    • If someone were interested in driving a 2-wheeled or 3-wheeled motorcycle, they would be responsible for obtaining a motorcycle-specific license or endorsement. Without one, a driver is unable to operate their motorcycle legally.


  • Standard License
    • Motorists who are looking to operate the vehicle will need a standard driver’s license. Prior to 2016, a motorcycle license was required.



  • Passenger Requirements.

    • Both the motorcycle and the autocycle come with a manual that gives proper safety guidelines, including the recommended passenger restrictions. If these restrictions are not followed properly, there is a higher risk of someone getting hurt during a ride.
      • Motorcycle: A motorcycle may carry only as many passengers as it is equipped for. All passengers must have a seat firmly attached to the motorcycle and ride with one leg on each side while facing forward.
      • Autocycle: Follow the manual’s recommendations.
    • Safety Gear.

      • Autocycle: While safety gear on an autocycle is not required, it is important to dress according to the vehicle’s safety features. Consider glasses and helmets if the vehicle doesn’t have a windshield or roof.
      • Motorcycle: It is essential to dress for safety as well as comfort. Wearing a helmet, eyewear, gloves, long pants, etc., is important when riding in an open-air setting.
    • Which is Safer?

      • While both aren’t as safe as a car, the autocycle has much more stability and safety features than a motorcycle.
        • It does not have to comply with the typical safety requirements, so understanding the procedures will ensure a safer ride.
      • The autocycle doesn’t give the same experience as a motorcycle, but its features make it just as exciting.


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