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ODPS Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Three-Wheel Vehicles - Frequently Asked Questions


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My neighbor has a three-wheel vehicle, and it is titled and registered as a passenger car, while my three-wheel vehicle is considered a motorcycle. What is the difference?

Three-wheel vehicles are titled according to the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO). If the MCO indicates that the vehicle is a passenger car, then the BMV would title and register it as such.

Do I need to take the motorcycle test and get an endorsement to drive my three-wheeled vehicle if it is considered a motorcycle?

Yes and No. Operators of three wheeled motorcycles that are not cab-enclosed will need to pass the three-wheeled motorcycle skills test and have the three-wheel endorsement added to their Ohio operator's license. Customers that already have a motorcycle endorsement will not need additional testing, as they already qualify to drive a three-wheeled vehicle. A motorcycle endorsement is not required for the operation of a cab-enclosed motorcycle.

Will I need to wear a helmet when driving a three-wheel vehicle?

The operator of a three-wheel vehicle will be required to wear a helmet as a novice and abide by the same laws as an operator on a motorcycle. A helmet is not required for the operation of a cab-enclosed motorcycle.

I purchased a Zap Xebra three-wheel enclosed motorcycle (MC), and the Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO) states it is an MC. Can I register it?

Ohio House Bill 562 added "seat" to the current definition in the Ohio Revised Code. The Zap has a bench seat. You are now able to register it as an MC if your MCO states MC.

Will I be able to register my Zap Xebra three-wheel enclosed MC with my Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin (MCO)?

No, you will need to take your MCO to your local Title Agency and obtain an Ohio Title. Once you have obtained an Ohio Title, you will be able to register your MC at any local deputy registrar office.

My Certificate of Origin does not state whether it is an MC or ATV or PC. How do I know how to register it?

If the MCO has language stating "the vehicle is not intended for, and may not be registered for on-road use," most likely it is an ATV, and cannot be registered for on-road use.

Where in the Ohio Revised Code can I read information about my vehicle?

Currently, you can access this information in chapters 4501 and 4519 of the Ohio Revised Code.

Does my three-wheel vehicle have to comply with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) to obtain a title?

Yes, all vehicles are required to be FMVSS-approved before they can be driven on Ohio roads and highways.

Why couldn't I get my three-wheel vehicle registered before now?

Ohio's definition of a motorcycle (MC) did not include language that allowed a vehicle with a bench seat to be titled and registered as an MC. Only vehicles with a saddle could be registered as an MC. HB 562 added the necessary language to allow the BMV to now consider them MC's. In addition, federal standards allow these vehicles to be titled as motorcycles.

Can I put a car seat in these three-wheel vehicles?

Some three-wheel vehicles have seatbelts installed and meet federal safety standards while others do not. You should consult with your manufacturer to determine whether or not your specific three-wheel vehicle meets these qualifications.

Can I operate my cab-enclosed motorcycle in Ohio?

Effective July 1, 2015, cab-enclosed motorcycles may be registered and operated on public roadways in Ohio. A helmet is not required for the operation of a cab-enclosed motorcycle. A motorcycle endorsement is also not required for the operation of a cab-enclosed motorcycle.

Do I have to have a motor vehicle dealer's license in order to sell these units at retail?

Yes, please contact the Dealer Licensing Section at 614-752-7636, for more information.