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Most states require drivers and passengers under 18 to wear helmets when operating a Polaris Slingshot.

That requirement extends to age 25 in some areas and might apply only to passengers, and adults typically aren’t required to have this safety equipment available.

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In Colorado, drivers and passengers over 18 are not required to wear helmets in a Slingshot.

The license requirements differ slightly since Slingshot’s classification depends on each state. You might need a standard driver’s license, a motorcycle endorsement, or a 3W endorsement to operate a Slingshot on public roads.

Massachusetts explicitly requires a motorcycle endorsement to operate a Slingshot. Most other states allow a standard driver’s license because of the vehicle’s design, but three-wheeled rules may apply based on how each state defines an autocycle.

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Is a Slingshot Considered a Car or a Motorcycle?

A Slingshot is not considered a car. The two classifications it typically meets in the United States are a three-wheeled vehicle or trike and an autocycle.

Polaris Slingshot RequirementsWhat States Have Specific Slingshot Requirements?
Motorcycle Classification49 states have adopted an autocycle or three-wheel classification for vehicles like the Slingshot. 
Age RequirementsYou must be 16 to get a motorcycle endorsement in Massachusetts. Slingshot drivers in other states follow their driver’s license rules for permits and operations. The age required for a learner’s permit varies in the US between 14 to 16 years old. 
Licensing RequirementsOnly Massachusetts requires Polaris Slingshot drivers to have a motorcycle endorsement. Most states list this vehicle as an autocycle, which means a standard driver’s license is the only requirement. 
Helmet RequirementsAlabama, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia have helmet laws to follow with the Slingshot.
Highway RidingHighway riding is permitted in all 50 states, but some local exceptions may apply. Always check these rules and regulations before taking an out-of-state trip with your Polaris Slingshot. 

If a state doesn’t have autocycle definitions, the default classification for a Polaris Slingshot is a trike. That means a 3W designation might be needed for some drivers to operate it legally.

It is also possible for some with a standard driver’s license to operate a Slingshot without needing an extra endorsement. This option depends on how three-wheeled vehicles are classified where you live and if autocycle exclusions exist.

Do I Need a Motorcycle License to Drive a Polaris Slingshot?

Unless you live or travel with a Polaris Slingshot in Massachusetts, it is not required for drivers to have a motorcycle endorsement to operate a three-wheeled vehicle.

There is the possibility that a 3W endorsement for trikes is necessary. The rules are changing quickly to adapt to vehicles like the Slingshot on the road, so always check the local regulations before proceeding.

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Don’t forget to buy appropriate insurance for your Slingshot.

What Are the Helmet Requirements for the Polaris Slingshot?

Polaris specifically recommends that all operators and passengers wear a full-face helmet approved by the Department of Transportation when driving the Slingshot.

The existing laws regarding helmet use are variable. Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire have no helmet rules, which means it is up to your and your passenger’s discretion when driving a Slingshot.

The age requirements vary, although most jurisdictions place the upper age limit at 17. Missouri currently requires anyone who is 25 and younger to use this safety equipment.

South Carolina specifically exempts autocycles from the motorcycle helmet rules currently in place in that state.

The following states require each rider to wear a helmet when operating a Slingshot or any three-wheeled vehicle.

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

Best Helmet to Wear When Operating a Polaris Slingshot

The best helmets to wear when driving a Slingshot to provide complete facial protection while delivering shielding for the operator’s vision.

Side view of a 3-wheeled motorcycle

A few designs offer a lift point from the chin while maintaining a visor, while others create a solid structure that protects this area while letting the visor lift. Both options work well for the Slingshot, so it is more of the driver’s personal preferences in this area.

I prefer the ScorpionEXO DOT-approved helmet for use when operating a Slingshot. It comes in several color and design options, uses an advanced polycarbonate shell, and has an excellent ventilation system. You’ll stay cool and dry, even when driving in warm weather.

It comes with a retractable sun visor with anti-fog technology for clear vision throughout your drive. Block-off plates are included if you prefer to use this design in 3/4 mode.

The other favorites of mine are:

States that require helmet use typically mandate that the product meets DOT standards. Since that means a minimum of three pounds is necessary, finding an option that feels light on the head without compromising its overall protective shell is crucial.

Your helmet should fit snugly without being uncomfortable. If it is loose, it will not provide the same levels of protection if a collision occurs.

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Mike Navarette has more than a decade of experience in the auto insurance industry, but that's not his true passion. He loves getting on a motorcycle to explore roads he's never traveled. You'll find Mike in the garage working on something when he isn't helping clients or leaning into curves. It's sometimes a side hustle, more often a favor, but it keeps his hands busy doing something productive. Since the first time his father strapped on his helmet and took him for a ride, Mike has loved bikes. That passion, along with a desire to help others through a deep understanding of insurance policies, led to the creation of Motorcycle Ride Coverage.

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