What Type Of License Do You Need to Ride a Three-Wheel Motorcycle or Autocycle? By State

Jan 25, 2024

Tags:lawlegallicensethree-wheeled motorcycletrikepolarisslingshotcan-am

three-wheel motorcycle trike license requirements by state

Looking to see what type of license you need to ride a Can-Am, Polaris Slingshot, or another type of autocycle or three-wheeled motorcycle? Learn the different state requirements between autocycles and trikes so you drive safely. 

An autocycle is defined at the state level and often encompasses 3-wheeled vehicles that operate more like a standard car, such as a Slingshot. A trike, or three-wheeled motorcycle, as defined at a state level, often operates similarly to a 2-wheel motorcycle but with three wheels. The licensing requirements are different for both. 

DISCLAIMER: This blog is written with the most up-to-date information at the time of publication. This blog is written with the most up-to-date information at the time of publication. Riders Share in no way replaces the final say of your state’s licensing laws. Check with your state’s local DMV for the most up-to-date information. Be mindful that many DMV websites lack the necessary information on trike licensing requirements. This may lead to misinformation. 

In what states can you drive a Slingshot without a motorcycle license?

All states except Massachusetts currently allow you to drive a Polaris Slingshot or autocycle without a motorcycle license. A standard driver’s license is all you need. 

In what states can you ride a three-wheeled trike motorcycle without a motorcycle license?

Currently, you can ride a trike motorcycle, like a Can-Am Spyder, in California, Nevada, and South Carolina without a motorcycle license. A standard driver’s license is sufficient. 

Three-Wheeled Motorcycle Endorsements/Licensing 

Most states now offer riders a “three-wheel motorcycle” endorsement, normally classified by “3W” or “3” on their license, in lieu of getting a Class M license. This type of license most often still requires riders to pass a written and/or skill test specific to trikes. A three-wheeled license restricts riders- they can not ride a 2-wheeled motorcycle. 

Is a regular Class M enough to ride a trike?

Yes, a regular Class M (motorcycle) license is sufficient to ride a trike motorcycle. Drivers will still need a standard driver’s license in order to ride a Polaris Slingshot/autocycle (except in MA). Check with your local DMV on your specific state requirements. 

What license do I need to rent a three-wheeled motorcycle? 

At Riders Share, our licensing requirements for three-wheeled motorcycles and autocycles change depending on the specific state’s laws that you are renting in. Remember, this may differ from the state you are traveling from. Check below for specific information by state. 

Trike & Autocycle License Laws by State

Alabama

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Alaska

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Class M3 license (50cc +) or standard motorcycle license
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Arizona

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Class 3W license or standard M Class
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Arkansas

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

California

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A Class C driver’s license (standard) is sufficient.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Colorado

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required (Class M or M with “3” restriction)
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Connecticut

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required (Class M or M with “3” restriction)
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Delaware

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required (Or endorsement with “3” restriction)
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Florida

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement or motorcycle license required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Georgia

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Class M license required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Hawaii

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Driver’s license with a class code 2 or a class code 2 with a restriction code P for three-wheeled motorcycles only.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license 

Idaho

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Illinois

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Indiana

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Iowa

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Kansas

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Kentucky

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Louisiana

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Maine

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Maryland

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Massachusetts

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am) & Autocycles (i.e., Slingshots): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required for both autocycles and three-wheeled motorcycles

Michigan

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Minnesota

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement for a 3-wheeled motorcycle is required, or a standard motorcycle license.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Mississippi

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Missouri

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Montana

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Nebraska

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Nevada

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am) & Autocycles (i.e., Slingshots): A standard driver’s license is sufficient for both autocycles and three-wheeled motorcycles.

New Hampshire

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

New Jersey

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

New Mexico

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

New York

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle endorsement/license required.***
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

***In 2022, New York passed a law that finally allowed “three-wheeled motor vehicles” to be operated with a standard driver’s license. According to NY state, to qualify for this, the vehicle requires seating that you do not straddle or sit astride. This disqualifies Can-Am 3-wheeled trikes, for example. For more info on requirements, visit this link

North Carolina

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.***
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

*** Don’t be confused by other misinformation on the internet…; NC requires a motorcycle license to drive a trike, but for an autocycle like a Slingshot, you don’t need one. 

North Dakota

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Ohio

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Oklahoma

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle license required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Oregon

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Pennsylvania

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license is sufficient.

Rhode Island

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle license required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

South Carolina

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): ANY license is sufficient except a moped license. No motorcycle license is required to ride a trike. 
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license (at least a Class D is required)

South Dakota

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle license required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license 

Tennessee

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am): Motorcycle license required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Texas

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am):  A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license is sufficient.

Utah

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am):  A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Vermont

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am):  A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Virginia

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am):  A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Washington

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am):  A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license sufficient.

West Virginia

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am):  A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license

Wisconsin

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am):  A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license sufficient.

Wyoming

  • Three-Wheel Trike Motorcycle (i.e., Can-Am):  A 3-wheel motorcycle license or 2-wheel motorcycle license is required.
  • Autocycle: Standard driver's license 

Summary

  • States that require a Class M or 3W endorsement to ride a trike: All states BUT California, Nevada, and South Carolina (Standard license is okay)
  • States that don’t require a Class M or 3W endorsement to ride an autocycle: All states BUT Massachusetts (which requires a Class M)
  • A 3-wheel endorsement or license is a separate skill test that restricts riders from only riding trikes. 
  • Check your local DMV for up-to-date information on licensing requirements.