Do You Need A Motorcycle License To Drive A Slingshot?

Has it been your dream to own a Slingshot? Since Polaris came out with this vehicle in 2014, it has been steadily gaining popularity. It combines the adventure of a motorcycle with the functionality and charm of a small car. 

In the United States (with the exception of the state of Massachusetts), you do not need a motorcycle license to drive a slingshot. This is because, in most states, Slingshots are classified as autocycles. And you can drive an autocycle with a valid state driver’s license.

It is only in Massachusetts that you need a valid motorcycle endorsement or license to drive a slingshot.

Is a motorcycle license required to drive a Slingshot?

The short answer? No. Apart from Massachusetts, in the remaining states, you can drive one if you have a standard driver’s license. You don’t have to get a motorcycle license specifically for it.

According to Polaris, the Slingshot is federally classified as a three-wheeled motorcycle. This is for manufacturing processes. But 49 states classify it as an autocycle. 

Autocycles are a separate category of three-wheeled vehicles that cannot be classified as traditional motorcycles. This classification came into being in 2015 after a bill was introduced in Congress. 

Last year, in 2022, the state of New York became the second last and the latest state to classify the Slingshot as an “autocycle.” State officials announced that beginning April 20, 2022, New Yorkers could operate a Slingshot with a standard driver’s license. This would be instead of the previously-required motorcycle endorsement. 

The exception

Only Massachusetts puts the Slingshot under the definition of a traditional motorcycle. This means you need to get a motorcycle license or endorsement to drive one legally.

In the state of Massachusetts, a motorcycle driver’s license (Class M) lets you drive a motorcycle. Or any other motor vehicle with no more than 3 wheels. So, this includes any variety of Slingshot vehicles as well. 

To apply for a Class M license, you must be at least 16 years of age and a resident of Massachusetts. You need to get a motorcycle permit first, irrespective of your age. Then you have to hold it for six months, after which you can apply for your Class M license.

Do you need a helmet to ride a Slingshot?

Polaris recommends always wearing a dot-approved full-face helmet while operating a Slingshot. But helmet laws vary by state. So, you need to check with your state law to find out about its operating requirements.

What is a Slingshot?

Motorcycle enthusiasts may be aware of the Slingshot made by Polaris Industries Inc. It is a type of three-wheeled automobile but not a traditional trike. Federal law classifies it as a three-wheeled motorcycle. And it is not required to meet automotive safety standards. But it also differs from traditional motorcycles in many ways. 

The Slingshot has a unique three-wheel design, with two wheels in the front and one wheel in the rear. It has features you would normally find in traditional cars, not motorcycles. They include a steering wheel, side-by-side seating (side-by-side bucket seats), and seat belts or safety belts. And they all have a conventional automobile layout.

The Slingshot also has five-speed automatic transmission or manual transmission options. And the option of a windshield or wind deflectors for wind and sun protection (its revolutionary slingshade). Such customizations allow you to drive it in wet conditions too. You can add other customizations with different vehicle accessories that Polaris offers. 

Polaris also offers many Slingshot accessories with a variety of factory color-matched options. It is an eye-catching, unique-looking vehicle that offers superb rider comfort. 

So, while it may or may not be up your alley, the Slingshot certainly has its fair share of admirers. This three-wheeled motor vehicle gives riders the exhilaration of open-air motoring without needing to know how to operate a motorcycle. 

Interested to buy one?

Currently, the Slingshot lineup consists of four models. The cost of the cheapest Slingshot models starts from $21,499. The most expensive ones start at $33,999. The final cost depends on the type and the amount of ultimate customization you want on the vehicle.

The Polaris Slingshot website has listed the variety of models available and also the dealerships that you can go to.

Renting a Slingshot

Even if you do not want to buy one, you can still enjoy the experience of riding one. This is thanks to the many Polaris Slingshot rental locations. All renters will need to show that they have a valid driver’s license. And, of course, the money in the form of cash or credit card to afford rental costs.


So, do you need a motorcycle license to ride a Slingshot? No, you don’t. In 49 states of the United States, you do not need a motorcycle license to drive a slingshot. This is because, in most states, Slingshots are classified as autocycles. And you can drive an autocycle with a valid state driver’s license.

The only exception to this law is the state of Massachusetts. Here, you need a motorcycle license to drive your motorcycle.

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Mike, the motorcycle enthusiast behind SuperBike Newbie, fell in love with superbikes during his college years. He owns a diverse range of motorcycles and offers valuable insights into motorcycling advice, maintenance, safety gear, and laws. Despite two decades of riding experience, he continues to learn and shares his knowledge on his website. Mike also has a keen interest in motorcycle club culture. While not a club member, he aspires to be one someday.

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