Texas Bans The Polaris Slingshot Three-Wheeler

Illustration for article titled Texas Bans The Polaris Slingshot Three-Wheeler

The Polaris Slingshot, a new three-wheeled sports-vehicle, lacks a few components necessary to be considered "a car." In most states you can register it as a motorcycle, slap on a helmet, and be on your way. Texas says "not so fast."


It seems to be coming down to the Texas Department Of Public Safety clinging to the definition of a motorcycle as something with "a saddle" as opposed to a car-style seat, which the Slingshot has. As such, the vehicle is no longer street legal in the Lone Star State.

According to this memo from Polaris HQ to dealers posted on SlingshotForums, it would appear Texas had given the vehicle prior approval but had changed their mind.

Here's their update:

Sure sounds like the DMV folks down in TX are shining up their Fun Police badges. Without commenting on government regulation of vehicles too much, they really should have let Polaris know their new vehicle was illegal when asked the first time around. Unless of course Polaris didn't ask, and they're just spinning it that way to placate undoubtedly frustrated dealers.

I hope it gets resolved soon– the shape of a seat seems like an awful silly thing to get hung up on and I hate to see an interesting machine be barred from the road. Come on Texas, everybody else is doing it.


The Slingshot starts at $20,000, with an SL model with more amenities coming in at $24,000. The three-wheeler is powered by a 173 horsepower 2.4 EcoTec engine hooked up to a five-speed transmission and is meant to provide a decidedly unique driving experience.


Hat tip to Nick and SlingshotForums! Image via Polaris.



There's all kinds of good questions being raised here, but perhaps most importantly: how, exactly, should three wheeled vehicles be regulated? If they have seats, seat-belts, steering wheels, conventional (car-like) controls... aren't they cars? And if they are cars, shouldn't they have to have the same safety equipment that we requires cars to have?

I don't really see how this is a "motorcycle" - is it the fact it has less than four wheels that makes it a bike? Look at a conventional "trike" - that is clearly just a motorcycle with adult-sized training wheels.

Maybe we need a whole new category for the things that play fast and loose with the rules...