Most jurisdictions define a bicycle as a human powered vehicle with 2 or 3 wheels.
However, there are sometimes some loopholes. Sometimes there's a wheel size requirement - usually larger than 16" - to qualify as a vehicle (so that children can ride their bicycle on a sidewalk, but hey, Greenspeed does 16" all around trikes).
That said, it's certainly not a good idea to ride a trike on the sidewalk if bicycles can't safely ride there as well.
Idaho Statutes 49-114 (15) "Motorized wheelchair" means a motor vehicle with a speed not in excess of eight (8) miles per hour, designed for and used by a person with a disability.
I built this for my father in Idaho 5 years ago - he's never been challenged or accosted anywhere, whether on sidewalks or inside businesses.
My restricted mind can see that this thread, which started out in an ill-defined area, is getting farther and farther away from bicycling.........................
Width (IIRC trikes are usually a bit wider than the average wheelchair)
Length (trikes are much longer)
Manueverability (this ties into the length, but also how a wheelchair's propulsion and steering work - a wheelchair can manuever in much tighter spaces than any recumbent trike can)
Crash safety for pedestrians (this is mainly a problem with tadpoles, not deltas, but with a tadpole, it's a good way for pedestrians to get a leg full of chainring)
A fairly busy road near my condo has, what look to me, like identical sidewalks on each side. Legally I read some place that one is a sidewalk, the other a trail. I assume that means I'm supposed to only ride my bike (or trike) on the trail but I don't know which one that is.
In actual practice, nobody cares because there are few pedestrians using either one. When I ride my bike up to the convenience store on the corner, my normal practice is to ride on the sidewalk (or trail) going up to the store and ride in the street coming home. That way I don't have to cross the road like I would if I were to ride in the street going both ways.
Again, the issue wouldn't be the man hassling you. It would be rolling down the concourse on your recumbent trike and hitting a five year old, knocking her to the ground and breaking her arm. Hope you've got a good umbrella policy!
PS - And once again, the ADA does not apply to the OP in Australia.
Undoubtedly the laws in various places can be so nebulous that police or business owners can object on some grounds. That's why laws to protect people in wheel-chairs were necessary.
I saw the same chap referred to in my O.P. on friday evening. This time he was a lot further from the mall and obviously making his way home. He has a granny gear on his trike and potters along obviously enjoying himself. He looked healthy too. Just after that I saw a lady on a motorised scooter and she did not look happy or healthy.
When I lived in the Stand your Ground state, there were these gorgeous, w - i - d - e mup type sidewalks that went on for miles because no one walks in FL.
There are parts that would be a trike riders dream.
In the ADA definition, "manually" doesn't refer to hands/arms, but is used in contrast with powered.
A mobility disability doesn't mean the legs can't move. A balance problem (e.g. Sheldon Brown w/ multiple sclerosis) can prevent walking while still allowing a person to pedal a trike.
Some tadpole trike manufacturers (e.g. ICE) make chain ring guards.
Great point. What cop wants to be seen in public giving a "handicapped" person grief?? Especially one with a crutch on his "wheelchair".
Another question comes to mind. Is there any specific law that states what the spec of a wheelchair is?
If ticketed, I still think my idea of showing up in court with a walker is a great idea!!! Just tell the judge you have a balance problem, and the trike is much faster than your walker.
Just remember that you may have to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
These days it is truth as you see it.
Besides in a public area, what is the difference between a wheel chair, and a trike ridden around slowly?