A guide to trikes

By: Keith Barrett

The first thing that you may not know about trikes is that they can be powered by either a car engine or a motorcycle engine. Which engine is providing the power will influence the weight of the vehicle and its performance.

When you come to buy a machine, you'll need to consider what you are legally qualified to ride. If in doubt, check with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

The weight of the machine will also make a difference to the testing standards that are applied. Once again, you need to check the legal status of your vehicle to make sure that you have a valid MOT certificate at all times.

One question that confuses a lot of people is the issue of helmets. In the UK, at the time of writing, it is not a legal obligation to wear a helmet when wearing a motorized trike.

You will find that some police officers are unsure of this, mainly because seeing a trike on the road is still relatively rare.

Many trike owners do decide to wear a helmet, finding that it offers protection from dirt, the weather and any other debris.

The choice is yours, although it is certainly the case that there are some excellent trike designs available.

The question of seatbelts is far less obvious. The decision on whether or not you have to wear seatbelts is down to the weight and age of your vehicle.

At the time of writing, this means that you do have to wear a seatbelt if your trike has an unladen weight of more than 410kg and was first used on or after 1 January 1965.

Similarly, you would also need a seatbelt if your vehicle has an unladen weight of more than 255kg and was first used on or after 1 September 1970.

There is, however, an exception - if your machine has an unladen weight of less than 410kg and has a driver's seat and the driver sets astride it, but only if the vehicle was constructed by someone who doesn't usually build trikes.

Confused? As you'll see, some of the UK laws surrounding trike ownership are quite complex!

The situation arises as a result of trikes being seen as halfway between a motorcycle and a car.

Keep to the regulations and enjoy being a trike owner!

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