NYS Autocycle Legislation

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions NYS Autocycle Legislation

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions NYS Autocycle Legislation

  • NYS Autocycle Legislation

     Lisa Hillard updated 5 days, 5 hours ago 16 Members · 30 Posts
  • Noah Blumenthal

    September 22, 2021 at 9:37 am

    For anyone interested, below is a status update on the NYS legislation to allow people with standard driver’s licenses to operate autocycles (instead of requiring motorcycle licenses).

    Good Morning,

    I am writing regarding your email requesting information on A7192 relating to auto-cycles. As you may be aware, this bill passed both the Assembly and Senate during the 2020 and 2021 legislative sessions in Albany. Last session, Governor Cuomo vetoed the bill citing issues with the definition of “auto-cycle.” It is also known that Governor Cuomo had personal experiences on auto-cycles and he didn’t agree with the premise of the bill. For your review, I have included the veto message at the bottom of this email.

    I contacted the sponsor’s office, Assemblywoman Lupardo. Staff explained the bill was amended to reflect the language issues mentioned in the veto memo from 2020. During Governor Hochul’s transition to office the amount of bills being sent to the Governor’s office, for signature, have significantly slowed down. However, the sponsor’s office is hopeful Governor Hochul will positively analyze the bill and support the amendments.

    I would be happy to notify you when the Governor takes action on this bill.


    VETO MESSAGE – No. 59


    I am returning herewith, without my approval, the following bill:

    Assembly Bill Number 5390-B, entitled:

    “AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the
    operation of a three-wheeled vehicle”


    This bill would allow for the operation of an autocycle by a person
    holding a Class D license. A Class D license allows a holder to operate
    a standard automobile. Currently, to operate an autocycle in this State,
    a person must hold a Class M license, which allows for the operation of
    a motorcycle.

    In the bill, an “autocycle” is defined as a “three-wheeled vehicle”
    without reference to the placement of the wheels. As such, the bill
    fails to make a proper distinction between a standard autocycle, with
    two wheels situated in the front and one wheel in the rear, and a three-
    wheeled motorcycle, with one wheel situated in the front and two in the
    rear. This flaw would allow persons operating three-wheeled motorcycles
    to do so with a Class D automobile license, rather than the more appro-
    priate Class M motorcycle license.

    Furthermore, an autocycle is inherently less safe to operate, and its
    open air design provides far less crash protection, than a standard
    automobile. Forty-eight other states require a motorcycle license or
    special endorsement to operate because an autocycle does not handle like
    an automobile. An operator would benefit from the increased instruction
    and testing necessary to pass a driver’s test for a Class M motorcycle

    For the foregoing reasons, and to maintain the current level of safety
    on our State’s roads, I am constrained to veto this bill.

    The bill is disapproved. (signed) ANDREW M. CUOMO

  • kerbe2705

    September 22, 2021 at 9:43 am

    This is, potentially, good news…

    • Noah Blumenthal

      September 22, 2021 at 10:01 am

      It does seem promising. Will update when there is new info.

  • Len Marinaccio

    September 27, 2021 at 12:51 am

    Having had a prior life in politics, I am quite interested in this topic. Every political problem has a solution and this one is not that tough – but it does require a wee bit of a lobbying effort.

    At the heart of the problem is the language of the original bill which considers that all autocycles are roughly equal in terms of safety. The amended version is pretty good because it makes further distinctions. It is important to realize that a law will NOT contain a list of approved models that are exempt from Class M but it would allow such a list to be defined by administrative action (an action or rule adopted by someone like MVD using the law as a guide). In that case, Aptera will want to reach out to states with permissible laws to demonstrate the safety of its car and get positive placement on such lists.

    Where states do not have friendlier laws, it’s a matter of creating a “boiler plate” version and soliciting representatives for sponsorship. Common. A look at any applicable federal law would be advisable. If my distant memory serves me, Elio (while dead from the start) was working on getting new vehicle classification at a federal level. I’ve lost track of it though.

    • Noah Blumenthal

      September 27, 2021 at 4:36 am

      Agreed that this issue doesn’t seem that tough. Admittedly I was not a big fan of Cuomo and had already set in my mind that his veto last year was some insider special interest action. Upon reading the veto memo I was pleasantly surprised that I very much agreed with the rationale. It was a good reminder that while a lot of politics is shady, a lot of it is also on the up and up and just takes a lot of work (and iterations) to get right. I think this version gets it right and am really looking forward to hearing that it has been signed into law.

  • Joshua Rosen

    September 27, 2021 at 6:46 am

    In MA the last action on S2360, which is similar legislation, occurred on March 29th when it was referred to committee. I just wrote the sponsor of the bill to see what’s happening but I fear that it’s died in committee because it’s been six months.

    • Noah Blumenthal

      September 27, 2021 at 10:03 am

      Please do post here when you hear back. As a NYer with family in MA I am very interested in the legislation in both states. Thanks!

  • Byron Smith

    December 22, 2021 at 8:06 am

    Just got the email that this legislation has been signed by Gov. Hochul. So to the best of my knowledge that just leaves Massachusetts as the only state left that requires a motorcycle license for a 3 wheel vehicle.

    • Noah Blumenthal

      December 22, 2021 at 8:53 am

      Yes! Likewise just saw the email. NYS is officially ready for Aptera!

      • larry kingsley Kingsley

        December 31, 2021 at 4:06 am

        But I suspect you’ll still need to wear a helmet, per NYS motorcycle law?

        • Noah Blumenthal

          December 31, 2021 at 5:33 am

          No. You will not need a helmet. This was part of the new legislation.

          • Raoul Desy

            December 31, 2021 at 12:12 pm

            I just looked through the text of NYS Senate Bill S6335A which was signed by Governor Hochul, and did not find any text that stated a helmet was not required. Can you point to where you see no helmet is required? I assume this may also relate to the Polaris Slingshot, Vanderhall Venice, etc. that have no roof?

            • Noah Blumenthal

              December 31, 2021 at 12:33 pm

              My mistake. Not part of new legislation. The NYS helmet law is specific to motorcycles.


              6. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or ride upon a
              motorcycle unless he wears a protective helmet of a type which meets the
              requirements set forth in section 571.218 of the federal motor vehicle
              safety standards as may from time to time be amended.

            • Raoul Desy

              December 31, 2021 at 1:12 pm

              Thanks – good information – but this is also where my concern lies. I believe NY has always required a helmet for the Polaris Slingshot – which is an autocycle. Since Aptera has a roof and is an enclosed vehicle, I don’t see a need for a helmet – but this could become a grey area of the law. Hopefully something can be done to clarify the issue.

            • larry kingsley Kingsley

              January 1, 2022 at 4:23 am

              I just sent an email to my Senator asking specifically about

              NYS Vehicle & Traffic (VAT) CHAPTER 71, TITLE 3, ARTICLE 9 SECTION 381 Motorcycle equipment

              Subdivisions 6 and 7 which pertain to helmet and goggle requirements. We’ll see what he has to say. I’ll bet no one thought of it yet.

  • Joshua Rosen

    December 22, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    There was a hearing on the MA bill on 11/30 so something is happening.

  • John Marona

    December 22, 2021 at 4:18 pm

    Great news. I’ve been following the Aptera movement with great interest, but as a New Yorker was hesitant to pull the trigger on an order. I’m not about to buy a motorcycle just to get a class M license to drive an autocycle.

    Next hurdles are snow tires for winter use, I live in the northern Adirondacks less than 50 miles from the Canadian border. And, will the rear view camers cloud over and be useless in the winter like regular backup cameras? Will wheel skirts fill up and freeze with road slush, or will the motors heat keep it melted? Questions , all, that will be answered in time. At least the licencing to drive is out of the way now.

    John M.

    • V Pilot

      December 22, 2021 at 4:35 pm

      You don’t need to. Sign up, complete, and pass a MSF safety course and you get your class M. They provide the bikes to ride.

    • Steven G. Bueche

      December 23, 2021 at 9:06 am

      Hey John,

      I don’t live in a snow area anymore but I understand and asked myself the same question about snow build up, weight and it’s effect on handling.

    • Harry Parker

      December 23, 2021 at 9:36 am

      Good questions about snow handling. I had similar wheel well packing problems when I lived in Rochester, NY driving a Passat. I found a gloved fist whacking on the frozen wheel wells usually did the trick to loosen & drop the salty ice & slush. Aptera’s more flexible wheel wells will respond even better to the same treatment.

      My current Chevy Volt has the backup camera problem you mention. It is mounted just over the license plate. I’m sure Aptera’s will be much better becaause it is mounted at the top of the hatch, out of the backwash.

    • Curtis Cibinel

      December 23, 2021 at 9:48 am

      AWD and torque vectoring should make it reasonable in snow conditions. Most areas don’t need a motorcycle license – only 2 states and alberta still do (NY just passed legislation). One non-intuative advantage of wheel motors is that unlike most EVs which do struggle with buildup in the wheel pods shouldnt be an issue. The waste heat of 5% of input energy should be enough heat to prevent buildup; I remember watching a model 3 review in toronto with a guy that had a lot of frustration with this issue of snow buildup. ICE cars avoid snow buildup due to massive amounts of waste heat from the engine but with the waste heat in just the correct place Aptera should do better than other EVs.

    • Fanfare 100

      January 3, 2022 at 9:43 am

      Also, when you are experiencing feet of snow, the least of your concerns is aerodynamics. My recommendation under such circumstances would be to simply unsnap the wheel skirts and drive with them off during bad snow days.

      You also don;t need to own a motorcycle to get the motorcycle license. As far as I know they provide them. You can always rent one or borrow one from a motorcycle riding school. A former co-worker of mine once told me that he rented one for the day. I actually don;t know how they managed that because one of the per-conditions to most rentals is that you be licensed, so that ends up being like a chicken and egg scenario. But I believe they will let you borrow one for the test. But another problem there is that you would be testing on an unfamiliar bike.

  • Jim Desmond

    June 19, 2022 at 10:27 am

    Does anyone know if Aptera is doing any testing with icy roads, snowy driving, or would northerners like me just need to buy and find out? I appreciate the reasoning folks in this thread are using, but concrete testing would give us more confidence.

    • kerbe2705

      June 19, 2022 at 11:13 am

      @Jim Desmond Aptera hasn’t yet done any seasonal testing because they don’t yet have a complete vehicle to test! Will they be doing testing when that time comes? Yes. Until then, they’re still busy finalizing the design of the vehicle and identifying suppliers to produce the parts they need to build it.

  • Jim I

    June 20, 2022 at 2:10 am

    Great news, you took the first step and got actual traction. I thought this thing was dead with Cuomo when Hochul didn’t sign as it seemed like such a layup. My suggestion is to hit this hard if you have the will. Find good petitions and copy them and get them signed.

    I work in marketing and had the pleasure of being with an agency that does autos including the Can-Am Spyder and I dabble in charity and politics as well. Albany is… disgusting. I’ve personally been through the halls of Albany lobbying as a college student. If you get 4-5 figure signatures on a thing like this it could be enough to get some real attention.

    If I was with Aptera I’d be looking to get Hochul a photo op or something.

    Don’t hold your breath though, if we can have this many years with this many viable auto cycles and no changes to the law, including the Slingshot, I wouldn’t be surprised if something stupid is holding this up.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  Jim I.
    • Noah Blumenthal

      June 20, 2022 at 4:32 am

      Hi Jim. Not sure you read the whole thread. Hochul signed the bill (in December I think). Autocycles now only require a regular drivers license and no helmet in NYS.

      • Raoul Desy

        June 20, 2022 at 6:39 am

        I agree that no motorcycle license is required; however, as I noted in a previous post, at best helmets are a grey area. The only legislation I am aware of that was signed does not address helmets. As far as I know, helmets are still required for the Polaris Slingshot, which is also an autocycle. I think we need to push for modifications to the helmet law for clarity. The helmet law may say motorcycle, but autocycles are registered as motorcycles on New York.

        • Noah Blumenthal

          June 20, 2022 at 9:02 am

          Maybe it’s my rule breaker nature. I will drive my Aptera with never a moment’s thought given to helmets.

          And should I get into “trouble” someday. What will that trouble be? Frankly I’m more concerned about the ticket for whatever else caused me to be pulled over than I am for the add on of not wearing a helmet.

      • Lisa Hillard

        June 30, 2022 at 2:31 pm

        NYS is still requiring a helmet, as far as I can tell. I emailed the DMV, I’ll let you know what I find out (it may take a few decades, sigh).

        Best thing to do (IMO) is to fight for adjustments to this legislation, differentiating fully enclosed, roll-caged autocycles from their open air brethren. Some states (nearby Vermont) have nicely detailed definitions.

        This article is from 2017, but it’s a good run down of the language used: https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/transportation-review-autocycles.aspx

  • Raoul Desy

    June 20, 2022 at 9:28 am

    On one hand I agree with your logic. But on the other hand, I would hate to get stopped and have an officer call for a tow if I didn’t have a helmet with me. It’s better to have a firm law you can carry in the vehicle. That’s why I think we need to ask that the helmet law get updated.

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