Three-wheeled vehicle bill advances

Drivers of a three-wheeled vehicle that’s set to be made in Shreveport, wouldn’t have to wear helmets, under a bill nearing final legislative passage after gaining approval from the state Senate on Tuesday.

The Senate unanimously approved House Bill 218 by state Rep. Barbara Norton, D-Shreveport, that would exempt occupants of the Elio from having to wear helmets. Because the Elio has three wheels, it’s considered a motorcycle under federal and state safety regulations.

The bill modifies the definition of autocycle to include enclosed motorcycles with a roll cage. That change would mean occupants of an Elio wouldn’t have to wear helmets or get a special “M” endorsement on their driver’s license as required of motorcyclists.

Officials with Elio Motors, located in the former General Motors plant in Shreveport, said the helmet requirement could harm sales by sending a signal to consumers that the vehicle was unsafe.

HB218 returns to the House for agreement to a technical amendment.