Piaggio MP3 Causes Maryland to Redefine Motorcycles

Maryland's legislature recently passed a bill, HB 221, that changes the definition of a motorcycle. Previously, the definition called...

Maryland's legislature recently passed a bill, HB 221, that changes the definition of a motorcycle.

Previously, the definition called for a vehicle capable of moving greater than 35mph, with one wheel in front, and up to two wheels in the back, . Now, it's simply any vehicle with three or fewer wheels, capable of moving greater than 35mph.

According to the bill's analysis, it was the Piaggio MP3, a three-wheeled scooter, that caused the State to change its definition.

Legislators were concerned that the MP3 is capable of reaching speeds greater than 35mph. And so, sought about a way to include the MP3 into its definition of "motorcycle". Here's what the analysis says...
Recently, Piaggio, a motor scooter company, introduced the MP3 for sale in the United States. The MP3 is a vehicle that has two front wheels and one rear wheel. The MP3 has a 244.3 cc engine, and a maximum speed of 77 miles per hour. Because of its size, it would not qualify as a motor scooter but as a motorcycle.
The bill actually says that their redefinition brings it more in line with the federal motor vehicle standards, as if Maryland is really that concerned about what the feds think.

This bill will cause headaches for Maryland residents who currently own a Piaggio MP3. The redefinition will raise their registration fees. It'll also require owners to obtain a Class M endorsement. Getting that endorsement will require additional costs.

I'm not sure I understand the motives for doing this. Based on the old definition, most all scooters are actually classified as motorcycles, since most of them can exceed 35mph. Perhaps by having two wheels up front, the Piaggio MP3 was able to buck the law.

Here's the text and analysis of the bill, decide for yourself...

Bill Text
http://mlis.state.md.us/2008rs/bills/hb/hb0221t.pdf

Analysis
http://mlis.state.md.us/2008rs/fnotes/bil_0001/hb0221.pdf

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