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Does Elio make the cut for use on Texas roads?

Debate is raging about what the future holds for three-wheel vehicles on Texas roads. As we noted in a post last month, one entry into this particular market has suffered something of a failure to launch. Several others appear to be in limbo.

The focus of our post was that the Polaris company had issued a recall of its somewhat revolutionary Slingshot. The company said it had issued the recall because of a potential steering defect that could result in loss-of-control accidents. Additionally, the firm said there might also be problems with a roll-bar structure intended to protect operators and passengers.

Safety concerns appear to be a key driver behind a decision by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to keep the Slingshot off state highways. Officials report that the Polaris design doesn't meet any current legal definitions to be classified as anything but a motorcycle. And they say Polaris hasn't documented that the car-like safety features used on the Slingshot meet required standards.

This is raising questions about yet another three-wheeled unit called the Elio. Elio Motor is looking to start selling its vehicle nationally this year. And it says it has gotten confirmation from the state that the vehicle will be able to be registered for road use as a motorcycle.

The features of the Elio suggest that it does provide users with a great deal more safety than regular motorcycles and the Slingshot. But as those with experience in dealing with motorcycle accident injuries know, many crashes happen because other drivers don't see motorcycles. Will riders in Elio's be any more visible?

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