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Slingshot given the green light in Connecticut; no motorcycle license needed

By Bud Wilkinson

Sales of Polaris’ three-wheeled Slingshot will be legal in Connecticut as of July 1 but finding one in a dealer’s showroom may be impossible. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Friday an “autocycle” bill passed by the state legislature last month that creates a new category of motor vehicle and enables the Department of Motor Vehicles to register such three-wheeled products as the Slingshot, Elio, T-Rex and Morgan.

“The state did the right thing. They did it the right way,” said George Libby of Libby’s Motoworld in New Haven, Conn., which will sell the Slingshot. Libby’s has taken deposits for a half-dozen Slingshots, which features two wheels in front, one in the rear and a cockpit with side-by-side seats for driver and passenger.

“Awesome. That’s fantastic,” said Dennis Bolduc of Indian Motorcycle of Springfield in Westfield, Mass., another Polaris dealer that has already sold “three or four” to Connecticut resident of the dozen Slingshots that have already gone out the door. The Slingshot has been seen on state roadways; driven by owners who have registered them out of state.

Meeting consumer demand for the Slingshot will be problematic for dealers. “They’re so popular. It’s going to be forever before I get one in,” said Libby, venturing that it might not be until August before a Slingshot arrives and that it would be a 2016 model, not one from the current model year. Bolduc added, “They’re tough getting in.”

That hurdle aside, the DMV is prepared to begin licensing autocycles on July 1, the day the new law takes effect. Unlike a motorcycle, an autocycle will not require an “M” classification on a driver’s license to operate.

Libby’s Motoworld was been behind the effort in the legislature to get an autocycle bill enacted, lobbying that passage would bring in sales tax for the state, property tax for towns, and help the bottom lines of dealers. It would also help Connecticut industry as Alinabal Inc. of New Milford makes components found on the Slingshot, including stabilizing linkage, ball joints, outer tie rods and steering gear. The Slingshot is assembled in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

Upon learning that the governor had signed the bill, Libby said, “It’s fantastic. It’s going to help bring some more money into the state big-time.”

The new law defines an autocycle as a motorcycle derivative that “(A) does not have more than three wheels in contact with the ground, (B) is designed to be controlled with a steering wheel and foot pedals for acceleration, braking or shifting, (C) has a seat or seats that are fully or partially enclosed and in which the occupants sit with their legs forward, and (D) is equipped with safety belts...”

The bill was approved last month by the House in a 144-0 vote and approved 34-0 by the Senate.

Not all Polaris dealers are authorized to sell the exotic Slingshot. Besides Libby’s Motoworld, Slingshots are expected to be sold in the state by Danbury Powersports in Danbury, Shark Cycle in Stafford Springs and Advanced Powersports in Griswold. Operators won’t have to take a state training course to drive Slingshots because they are carlike in their operation. The Slingshot has a base price of $19,999.

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