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Representative Torbett has the draft but hasn’t introduced the bill yet. As soon as I find out the bill number, I will do a NC Facebook targeted request for help. However, you could still write your rep and senator and apprise them of the issue… let them know that Rep Torbett is working on this change.
Attached is a Powerpt you can pass on to your legislators to let them know about this issue. Also following is a good deal of information you can use. I don’t normally suggest templates .. fill in the blank type of emails. As a previous rep, I always liked to here from my constituents in their own voices.. more effective that way I think. You could cut and paste this.. or portions of it though.
Thanks for your help! Joel:
Elio Motors www.eliomotors.com is manufacturing a two passenger with tandem seating, front wheel drive, 3 wheel, gasoline powered, fully enclosed vehicle (technically considered a motorcycle by NHTSA). The vehicle will retail for 6800.00 and will get 84 MPG.
The Elio has been engineered for the highest safety standards. It includes the Elio Safety Management System which consists of a high strength roll cage (similar to a race car), front and side curtain airbags, 3 point safety restraints, ABS, Stability Control, Traction Control, and other safety enhancement equipment that you would normally find on an automobile. AC, Power locks and Power Windows, and a radio are also included as standard equipment. It has a top speed of over 100 MPH and 0-60 in the 9’s
1) Requiring a helmet inside a completely enclosed vehicle will reduce the driver’s ability to hear a warning horn, siren, etc., or perhaps another motorcycle attempting to pass.
2)Our vehicle is completely enclosed like all automobiles on the road today. It isn’t designed for helmet use and a number of operators will find it almost impossible to deal with the reduced headroom and vision restriction while wearing a helmet.
3)Airbags are a sensitive calibration designed to deploy based on the norm. Adding a 3-4 lb. helmet adds 30-40% weight to the head and interferes with this calculation. According to safety engineers, our Safety Rating would be reduced because of helmets.
4)But MOST importantly, requiring helmets where occupants are also using the required 3 point safety restraints presents a situation that could result in grave consequences. Three point safety restraints required by law prevent the body from moving forward, but not the head. The weight of the helmet will pull the head violently forward in a collision. It is widely accepted in the industry that this action can easily result in severe whiplash at a minimum, paralysis or even death.
The situation we have in NC(requiring helmets while using 3 point safety restraints) is the exact reason why the HANS device is compulsory in many racing sports.
“A major cause of death amongst drivers during races was through violent head movements, where the body remains in place because of the seat belts but the momentum keeps the head moving forwards, causing aBasilar skull fracture resulting in serious injury or immediate death.”
Certainly race car drivers reach much higher speeds than public highways, but NASCAR says that “You can get killed at speeds as slow as 30 MPH if you stop quickly enough”. Changing these requirements will avoid a possible long list of residents in NC that will be injured unless the requirements of helmets are exempted.
Based on the above information, there is no one who could conclude that requiring helmet inside Autocycles like ours is making the occupants safer. Quite the contrary, this requirement will undoubtedly contribute to serious injuries in collisions that could have otherwise been avoided with a simple change to statute as almost all states have done.
Recently AAMVA (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators), after months of investigation concluded that these vehicles (autocycles) handle like an automobile and have automotive controls, therefore, the requirement of a motorcycle endorsement provides little or no benefit to the operator. From AAMVA’s website: “AAMVA strongly encourages jurisdictions to use these best practices (listedbelow) to promote uniformity. This will facilitate the movement of these vehicles from one jurisdiction to another.”
Some of AAMVA’s recommendations of “best practices” reads as follows: www.aamva.org
1) A regular passenger car license should be all that’s required to operate an Autocycle (An “autocycle” is a motorcycle with 3 wheels in contact with the ground).
2) The same plate size as motorcycles should be used (7”x4”)
3) Only 4 wheel vehicles should be used for a driver’s license road tests.
4) Put autocycle in statute definition.
In addition, our vehicle is too wide and too long to make it through the road test for endorsements anyway. If the endorsement issue isn’t properly addressed in NC, not only will NC residents face an unnecessary burden of an endorsement test, but people traveling in and through NC from states that don’t require endorsements would face the possibility of a citation or impoundment of their vehicle, or both.
As AAMVA points out, our vehicle isn’t the only one adversely affected by current NC Statute.
This is a new segment that is being explored and holds much promise in creating ultra-fuel efficient vehicles that are affordable to most everyone, unlike hybrids and electrics offered for sale today which cost at least 3 times as much. Our autocycle will greatly help the citizens of NC. The money saved by Elio owners (which will be substantial) will go right back into the local economy where it will turn 5-6 times. That helps all business in NC. Looking at it from a different perspective, the Elio is a “clunker program” on steroids.