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Old 02-02-14, 04:28 AM   #1
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Legal Question on trikes et.al.

Riding home from work Friday I found myself pondering the definition of a wheel-chair vs the definition of a recumbent three-wheeler. As I'm getting on a bit and thinking about transportation in my later years, I wondered if a recumbent bike would/could be classed as a wheel-chair and therefore you are allowed to ride it on the sidewalk and inside the galleria for example.

As I see it this would have many advantages. Whilst I might be able to walk ok in my 60s or 70s, I might not be able to walk the huge distances one has to cover just gaining entry to the mall and getting to the appropriate shops. A wheel-chair could likewise be prohibitive as the arms would be too weary. However, the recumbent 3 wheel bike sounds perfect.

Anyone got idea on the legalities?
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Old 02-02-14, 06:27 AM   #2
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I've wondered about that myself from time to time. I'll tell you this, most trikes are around 32 to 36 inches wide. That's a little awkward for a lot of doorways. Some have kind of a wide turning circle and some have an intimidating sprocket in the very front. I don't know about legal but it doesn't sound very practical to me.
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Old 02-02-14, 08:47 AM   #3
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Actually I have alway thought that if ticketed riding my trike somewhere where the law says that bikes are not allowed, it could be fought on the grounds of the letter of the law. For instance there is a section of our down town that the laws says "bicycles are not allowed to ride on the sidewalks in this area". It does not say bicycles and tricycles. I would suggest a good lawyer could get the ticket or charge dropped because it specifically says bicycles and not trikes. Almost all these ordinances were written before anyone knew about trikes.

As an aside, we all have seen that many people and drivers do look at trikes as a form of a handicap device.
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Old 02-02-14, 10:54 AM   #4
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Very common for traffic laws regarding bicycles to state that cycles with more than two wheels are also included.
Traffic laws don't predate tricycles; trikes have been around Forever.


Can't imagine confusing a bike/trike with a wheelchair.
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Old 02-02-14, 10:59 AM   #5
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I think a lot would depend on whether or not you are truly handicapped. If carrying an official handicapped ID card, you could make a pretty good case for it being a wheelchair.
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Old 02-02-14, 02:16 PM   #6
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Touring-Phred List used to have a Feisty Viet-Vet posting there and may still, on CGOAB..
as Gimp Rider he defended his rights more than once , in court , when Cited.
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Old 02-02-14, 07:25 PM   #7
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I have Cerebral Palsy and I don't walk particularly well. As such, I asked the doctor for a letter allowing me to use my bicycle as a mobility device.

Unfortunantly, he said he couldnt and offerd me a medical marijuana prescription instead. I didn't want the pot, I wanted the ability to ride my bicycle to places I simply can not walk to without being in a lot of pain.

I suspect he just didn't want to be the first to do anything. I would suggest asking your doctor.
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Old 02-02-14, 09:16 PM   #8
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Local laws vary. In Michigan 2 or more wheels are all bikes. Maybe a unicycle would fit the bill?
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Old 02-03-14, 04:16 PM   #9
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When I start 'Getting up in years' as you called it, I'm not gonna fear any ticket for something like that.

I'll politely tell the officer that this is my only mobility, then I will ask him if he really wants to be on the six o'clock news, and
let him know I have a real good blood sucking lawyer that makes his living litigating and also remind him that I am retired
and can devote all of my time making this encounter very public, his interfering with my civil liberties..

Then I will wad the ticket up and properly dispose of it in the nearest trash receptacle and lastly with
any luck he will arrest me !

Hey, I'm in it for the ride, the wilder the better.
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Old 02-08-14, 08:54 PM   #10
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Local laws vary. In Michigan 2 or more wheels are all bikes. Maybe a unicycle would fit the bill?
So what about 4 wheels? Is it still a bike, or a car?
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Old 02-08-14, 08:56 PM   #11
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Very common for traffic laws regarding bicycles to state that cycles with more than two wheels are also included.
Traffic laws don't predate tricycles; trikes have been around Forever.


Can't imagine confusing a bike/trike with a wheelchair.
This is not about confusion though, it's about the law! and about old people finding a way to get around!
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Old 02-08-14, 08:59 PM   #12
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I saw an old chap yesterday on a trike meandering around in the city square. Seems like I'm not the only one with this idea. He was clearly enjoying the evening.
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Old 02-08-14, 09:03 PM   #13
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I have Cerebral Palsy and I don't walk particularly well. As such, I asked the doctor for a letter allowing me to use my bicycle as a mobility device.

Unfortunantly, he said he couldnt and offerd me a medical marijuana prescription instead. I didn't want the pot, I wanted the ability to ride my bicycle to places I simply can not walk to without being in a lot of pain.

I suspect he just didn't want to be the first to do anything. I would suggest asking your doctor.
Some people I've noticed are absolutely faithful to the law and will not take a single step to challenge it. I guess that's how various totalitarian regimes have been so easily able to seize power historically. I believe we must teach our children to judge what is right or wrong or just or unjust. If the law is ****e then fight it.
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Old 02-08-14, 10:45 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
I have Cerebral Palsy and I don't walk particularly well. As such, I asked the doctor for a letter allowing me to use my bicycle as a mobility device.

Unfortunantly, he said he couldnt and offerd me a medical marijuana prescription instead. I didn't want the pot, I wanted the ability to ride my bicycle to places I simply can not walk to without being in a lot of pain.

I suspect he just didn't want to be the first to do anything. I would suggest asking your doctor.
i think i'd get a different doctor. but keep the prescription.

and i find it highly unlikely that LEO would ticket anybody that is riding a tricycle. they would never hear the end of it from their bretheren in the force, if it got out.
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Old 02-08-14, 11:56 PM   #15
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i think i'd get a different doctor. but keep the prescription.

and i find it highly unlikely that LEO would ticket anybody that is riding a tricycle. they would never hear the end of it from their bretheren in the force, if it got out.
The issue is not as much a matter of being ticked as much as being allowed to take in on Amtrac.
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Old 02-09-14, 07:25 AM   #16
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and i find it highly unlikely that LEO would ticket anybody that is riding a tricycle. they would never hear the end of it from their bretheren in the force, if it got out.
Yup. I'd politely tell the officer that I intend to take the ticket to court so he'll have to appear too. Win or lose, his brother officers will love it.
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Old 02-09-14, 08:35 AM   #17
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I guess I would think that if a trike rider was only riding 5mph give or take on a side walk, a cop probably would be hard pressed to write a ticket. Trikes still are looked up on as something novel, and probably most cops might think they dont want to be caught rousting what "might" be a handicapped person.

Besides that giving some old guy like me grief on his trike is kind of small potatoes when you consider all of the actual crime that is being committed.

Putting together what others have said, if a cop did indeed write me a ticket, and the cop did show up in court, I would put on a great performance. When my case was called, I would slowly get up and with a great deal of difficulty with a huge limp approach the bench. You get the idea.
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Old 02-09-14, 08:43 AM   #18
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Refering to my last post #17 further thot has has come to mind. How about if I approached the bench using a walker!!! What the judge may say to the cop would be precious!!!!
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Old 02-09-14, 09:15 AM   #19
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I remember reading in the past of various absolutely pointless but humorous inventions such as the submarine with screen hatches, and one of those items was the "pedal-powered wheel chair". I think the big issue you'd fight in perception is that a wheelchair's intended for those with trouble using their legs, a bike/trike requires the legs, so they'd ordinarily be viewed as mutually exclusive.

Another big factor is "does it look like a wheelchair". With a wheelchair, you normally sit very upright, with legs fairly close in- required so you can reach a door handle and stuff like that. So an 8' long recumbent trike has a considerably different layout.

By the way- in triathlons, they do have competitions for those in wheelchairs. They used handcycles (powered by hand crank and conventional chains, derailleurs, etc.) for the cycling part and wheelchairs (powered by hands on wheels) for the running part. The wheelchairs used are not the same as a regular wheelchair, they are made just for that purpose, but they are distinctly different from the handcycles, too.
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Old 02-09-14, 10:09 AM   #20
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As I see it this would have many advantages. Whilst I might be able to walk ok in my 60s or 70s, I might not be able to walk the huge distances one has to cover just gaining entry to the mall and getting to the appropriate shops. ....the recumbent 3 wheel bike sounds perfect
You're just speculating on what it is like to get 'old'. As an 'old' man in my 60's I am perfectly able to walk huge distances. As well as ride a bike even further. I plan to keep doing both for quite a bit longer.
Riding a 'bent trike at the local shopping mall? Can't see it. For one thing, would worry about running into a shopper with the big chainring.
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Old 02-09-14, 05:59 PM   #21
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The OP lists a location of 'Australia'. Beats me what the laws and attitudes might be there.

In the USA:
ADA wheelchair.

This recumbent trike, maybe.

This recumbent trike, no way.

And as always, the Man isn't the issue - it's the lawyer of the insurance company of the drunk that hits you.
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Old 02-09-14, 06:21 PM   #22
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Actually I have alway thought that if ticketed riding my trike somewhere where the law says that bikes are not allowed, it could be fought on the grounds of the letter of the law.
Interestingly enough, where I live bicycle traffic laws specifically say 'two tandem wheels'. Three wheel pedal cycles (including those tamale vendors that have pedaled the streets for 120 years) have no 'letter of the law' legal status on the road, path or sidewalk. Hit a trike? Hey, the rider was operating an illegal vehicle. Not your fault! You'd think the trike community here would try to get the law tweaked, but they seem to be fine with the status quo.

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Almost all these ordinances were written before anyone knew about trikes.
LOL. Lotsa folks have known about trikes since the 1870s. Perversely, all legislators and councilmen have to know about is how to get elected.
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Old 02-09-14, 08:13 PM   #23
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tcs

Yes there have been trikes for almost as long as there have been bikes. But to have trikes specifically written in to the law depends on the intelligence of elected officials. But then I probably shouldnt use the words intelligence and elected officials in the same sentence.
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Old 02-10-14, 03:31 AM   #24
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Anyone got idea on the legalities?
For about $10 at your local secondhand, few would question the 'legalities'....



It's even more convincing when you have electric assist
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Old 02-10-14, 08:16 PM   #25
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A motorized trike is a wheelchair?
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