Sidecar Regulations

Motorcycles can be equipped with a custom-fit sidecar.

Most motorcycle rules and regulations vary from state to state. Select states have more stringent helmet laws than others, while some states are more rigorous about licensing requirements. Some regulations for the United States can apply universally to the sidecars of a motorcycle, the one-wheel passenger car attached to the side of the bike.


According to the Sidecar Industry Council, only a select number of North American-based companies offer the sale of a motorcycle and sidecar combination. These brands include MUZ, Dneper, Ural and Harley-Davidson. All other motorcycles must have a side car custom-installed in order for proper placement. The Council states that installation must be conducted by either a custom installation technician or by the sidecar manufacturer. This is required because the hardware and engineering required to connect the sidecar to the motorcycle is often not standardized in the industry.


When installed onto the motorcycle, the space between the bike and sidecar frame should equal about 12-inches. Other regulations, including axle placement, toe-ins and lean-outs, need to be determined by the installer. When operating a motorcycle with a sidecar, placement on the proper side of the motorcycle is essential. The placement of the sidecar depends on the road laws for the country it is being operated in. The sidecar must fit onto the motorcycle so that it is on the opposite side of the dividing highway line. In the United States, the sidecar should be placed on the right side of the car.


Individuals who own or ride on a motorcycle with a sidecar may automatically believe that the product is composed of two separate units. A motorcycle that has a sidecar attached, however, is considered to be a single unit, according to the Federal Highway Administration. This requires that all motorcycles, regardless of the number of wheels because of a sidecar attachment, still be plated and classified as a motorcycle vehicle.