I have some questions about the viability of a tricycle for commuting. I’m not committed to the idea – just thinking about it and looking for ideas.
Let me explain my circumstances. I started bike commuting about 6 months ago and I've logged maybe 1000 miles both commuting and recreational riding since then. Prior to this year, I hadn't used a bike regularly since high school (I'm 42). My current commuter is an Electrec ebike with the usual accessories (lights, fenders, rack, etc.). I practice vehicular cycling and mix right in with traffic on some narrow, shoulderless, busy roads (this is really my best, safest route given the alternatives). My average speed is about 15 MPH and I don’t need to go faster.
Although I've never fallen off a bike as an adult, I'm very afraid that if anything should happen and I go down on my commute, I'd be instantly squashed by a vehicle. I'd also like to be able to carry more cargo, safely commute in winter with occasional ice and snow, and avoid low speed balance issues in stop-and-go traffic. Hence, my consideration of a tricycle. Now, my questions:
1. What are the legal issues? NJ laws and regs strictly define bicycles as two-wheeled and rear-drive in the context of motor vehicle code. Has anyone been told by law enforcement that a tricycle is not a bicycle and can’t be used on-road as such?
2. How well does a tricycle lend itself to commuting in general and with busy traffic on narrow roads in particular?
3. Assuming careful and slow biking, I would think three wheels stay up on ice better than two – right, wrong?
4. I know there are lots of recumbent trike fans, but being that low in heavy traffic would seem to make it hard to see and be seen. I’d prefer an upright tricycle design. Pros, cons?
A bit off topic – maybe you can see what I really want is an all season, street-legal, human-electric hybrid vehicle. Such things are produced (e.g., Twike), albeit at ridiculously expensive prices and in my state would require motorcycle classification and would lose the flexibility of being a “bicycle.”