Politics & Government

Boomers rejoice: Brownback clears the road for trikes

Brian West, general manager at Biker’s Edge, says three-wheelers like the Polaris Slingshot let baby boomers have the fun of a high performance cycle when they get too old to safely ride a two-wheeler.
Brian West, general manager at Biker’s Edge, says three-wheelers like the Polaris Slingshot let baby boomers have the fun of a high performance cycle when they get too old to safely ride a two-wheeler. The Wichita Eagle

A bill making it easier to get licensed to ride a three-wheel motorcycle was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Sam Brownback.

House Bill 2522 allows owners of trikes to test for and receive a motorcycle license for three-wheel vehicles only.

Cycling enthusiasts say the new law will be a godsend for aging baby boomers who still have a passion for roaring engines and open roads, but aren’t strong enough or maybe lack the balance to handle a two-wheel cycle in their seniorhood.

The bill is also a recognition that trikes have come a long way since the homebrewed three-wheel choppers of the 1960s and ’70s.

Today’s three-wheelers are sleek machines, with two front wheels in the front and one in the back. They’re generally considered to be more stable and corner better than the old-style trikes.

Some of us are going to lose our knees pretty soon and can’t hold up those 950-pound Harleys.

Rep. Larry Campbell, R-Olathe

In the debate on the bill, Republicans and Democrats both said it makes sense to allow riders to test on three-wheelers if that’s what they’re going to ride.

“Some of us are going to lose our knees pretty soon and can’t hold up those 950-pound Harleys, and so you can’t take a test on a two-wheel,” Rep. Larry Campbell, R-Olathe, said during the House debate.

At $21,000 to $26,000, the Slingshot bridges the gap between a high-performance motorcycle and a sports car.

Other provisions of House Bill 2522 include:

▪ Allowing the Department of Revenue to begin working toward a system of online renewal of driver’s licenses within certain age restrictions.

▪ Adding a $40 fee for motorized bicycle permits for motorists who have had their driving privileges suspended.

▪ Authorizing the use of laser-engraved images on drivers’ licenses and state ID cards. The laser images are considered harder to counterfeit or alter than standard digital photographs.

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