Elio Motors Gets Closer to Nationwide Helmet Exemption

Elio Motors Helmet

Whatever you think of Paul Elio’s Geo-powered trikes, I think we can all agree that overcoming America’s state-by-state motorcycle helmet laws is a major concern for Elio. Elio’s making progress on that front, however. Last week, Louisiana House Bill 218 was unanimously approved, allowing enclosed motorcycles like the Elio Motors Trikke to be driven by customers without a state-mandated helmet.

This may surprise casual readers of Elio articles, but the vehicle is classified as a motorcycle in most states, thanks to its three-wheeled layout and low weight. As such, questions of helmet laws come up often. In addition, while Elio Motors claim their designs could get a “5-star” safety rating, current automotive safety laws don’t apply, so there’s no mandate from the government to verify those claims with actual testing. Further, as a motorcycle, many states might require that Elio Trikke owners carry an additional motorcycle license in order to drive the vehicle off dealer lots.

It is, in other words, a mess of questions with no easy answers … unless, of course, America’s motorcycle and helmet laws get changed.

If that happens, the next big question for potential Elio customers will be whether or not their life insurance companies consider the Elio Motors Trikke a “high risk” motorcycle, or a “5-star safety rated car” when it comes time to pay out. An especially critical concern for Elio Motors, too, as the company has earmarked just $150 per unit for potential warranty and liability issues.

Here’s hoping they get these worries sorted out in time to give their early depositors something back for their troubles.


Source | Photos: Elio Motors, via Herald Online.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.