These Tri Pod cars are registered as a motorcycle in a motorcycle category vehicle (L cat), have a motorcycle engine, accelerate like a motorcycle, weigh the same as a Harley and are bought by motorcyclists.
They are even designed and built by a motorcyclist, Andrew Hutchison of the Sunshine Coast.
Yet most people would consider them a car.
However, the laws around this vehicle are quite confusing, Andrew says.
“It’s all a weird grey area and the rules vary from state to state,” he says.
Despite the legal interpretation of the vehicle as a motorcycle or at least a trike in all states, in NSW and Victoria it is registered as a car with a car number plate and in others it is registered as a motorcycle.
To further confuse us, in NSW, Victoria and Queensland you can drive one on a car licence, while in other states you need a motorcycle licence.
However, Andrew says no state requires the wearing of a helmet.
“To me it’s not a big issue as you need to wear a hat for sun protection either way,” he says.
“A simple open-face scooter-style helmet is all that would be required as there is no breeze in the vehicle due to the wind deflector fitted on the bonnet.
“I have driven extensively in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria and spoken to many police officers while doing this and none of them has ever mentioned the helmet status – and I have never wear one.
“I suspect it seems enough like a car that the law doesn’t expect you to be wearing a helmet.
“Queensland Transport actually have given me written advice regarding this; not that a cop has ever asked ‘where is your helmet’?.”
Weird lLicensing laws aside, the Tri Pod is now for sale on eBay for $69,400.
Not just the car/bike, but the whole business including all intellectual property, moulds, jigs, functioning workshop, drawings etc.
“New blood with a stronger focus on marketing could I’m sure take the Tri Pod to the next level” Andrew says.
“I started designing the Tri Pod while I was on a bit of a sabbatical in ’05 and ’06 and I think I would like to have another one. Life is very short!”
We drove a Tri Pod a few years ago and have to admit it was an electrifying experience almost as good as riding a motorcycle.
“The Tri Pod has come a long way since you drove the very early rough-around-the-edges, not-fully-developed example,” Andrew says.
Tri pod cars cost about $15,000 to $20,000 depending on the motorcycle engine you want.